I’ve always had a pas­sion for com­put­ing and inform­a­tion tech­no­logy. I remem­ber as a kid mess­ing around with a Radio Shack com­puter (with 4KB RAM!!!) which my dad had bought. After this (around 1985), we pur­chased an IBM PC XT (with full specs as shown here, but minus the HDD). That machine proved to be an endur­ing source of edu­ca­tion and enter­tain­ment. It felt so cool back then to be able to use MS-DOS 2.1 and GW-BASIC! 

Over the fol­low­ing years I played around with new ver­sions of DOS (by MS, IBM and even Cal­dera), Win­dows and even OS/​2 (which was awe­some but since it could­n’t detect my CD-ROM I was forced to use Win95). I was a nat­ur­al, and I quickly became the ‘com­puter guy’ in my circle of friends and fam­ily. I developed a pas­sion for tech­no­logy, and I would read and exper­i­ment as much as I could on the subject. 

I only con­sidered con­vert­ing that into a career in high school, but once that had happened my motiv­a­tion became strong. I com­menced a com­puter sci­ence degree at The Uni­ver­sity of Sydney, but after a year I decided that I was ill-suited to cod­ing. By the end of the second year (dur­ing which I had delib­er­ately avoided CS sub­jects), I felt that my path lay in the human­it­ies, with inform­a­tion sys­tems and gov­ern­ment (which I was doing as a minor) look­ing awfully tempt­ing. For my third year I had trans­ferred to The Uni­ver­sity of New South Wales, doing a plain-old Sci­ence degree. This, I felt, suited my broad mind (I’m the kind of per­son who likes to know a little about everything) very well. After some false starts and changes, I gradu­ated with a Bach­el­or of Sci­ence, major­ing in His­tory and Philo­sophy of Sci­ence and Tech­no­logy and minor­ing in Gov­ern­ment, Polit­ics and Inter­na­tion­al Relations. 

What a change that was from com­puter sci­ence! It was truly fas­cin­at­ing stuff (I loved it), but unfor­tu­nately it meant that I had trouble find­ing decent employ­ment. In Aus­tralia, the human­it­ies have the highest unem­ploy­ment rate of all the gradu­ate dis­cip­lines. I did­n’t want to be stuck in a dead-end office role, where most of my skills would go to waste. 

For a while I had been toy­ing with the idea of find­ing employ­ment in the IT industry. Recently I con­cluded that it would be impossible to do this. I may have the skills (I spend most of my free time at one of my com­puters), but I have no form­al recog­ni­tion (cer­ti­fic­a­tions, etc.) or exper­i­ence. After a couple of weeks of heavy pon­der­ing and sev­er­al meet­ings, I decided to bite the bul­let and enrol in a train­ing col­lege to get the qual­i­fic­a­tions I need. 

Today I com­pleted my enrol­ment at the Com­puter Power Insti­tute of Tech­no­logy, and with­in ten months (full time: 11am to 4pm Monday to Fri­day) I should have a Dip­loma of Inform­a­tion tech­no­logy (Net­work Engin­eer­ing). That’s right, I’m train­ing to be a net­work engin­eer! That’s some­thing I’ve dreamt about for years! 

My ori­ent­a­tion is in Monday, and I offi­cially begin train­ing on Tues­day. I’m so excited! I’ll going to try to be dili­gent in report­ing my pro­gress in this journ­al. If you’re read­ing this (that means YOU!), stay tuned. 

Back to school / Sridhar Dhanapalan by Sridhar Dhanapalan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.
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