Computer History

2020-02-08

This is kind of a brain dump of "how I got started in computing."

Started using computers in grade school: old Apple computers with 5 inch floppy disks.

First family computer was technically an old system acquired when I was in elementary school. It used cassette tape storage and I pretty much only used it to play a Buck Roger’s space flight game.

First family PC, my sister and I went with my dad to a computer fair to get the parts. It ran windows 3.1 and we played a lot DOS games on it. We also taught ourselves some simple QBASIC on it.

Next family computer was a Windows 95. I pleaded for it because I needed to be able to write assignments for middle school and print them out. My parents couldn’t afford the computer, printer, AND a good word processing suite so I had to do my essays in MS Writer.

I learned about how to dial up to the internet on my own and would sneak down to the basement to log at night after everyone was asleep.

I high school I took an introduction to C class and multimedia classes. I also took keyboard typing so I could go faster. After learning C, I wanted to keep learning programming. I started self teaching HTML, CSS, and JavaScript after finding out websites were just files on a computer somewhere else. At a yard sale, I got an old copy of Visual Studio. It came with the books to learn. So as my first complete application, I built a GUI version of the fortune telling game I played in school with my friends.

My grandfather gifted my first web development book that I ever owned (I initially self-taught from library books mostly). JavaScript for Dummies was my Christmas gift one year.

I learned that computers could be a profitable career and decided to apply to college to study computer science. I got acceptance letters from Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Maryland Baltimore County. I went with UMBC because it was in-state.

Due to family and mental health problems, getting my work done in college was very difficult for me. I also can't really do math higher than Calculus 1. So I ended up switching to Information Systems and took a certificate in web development.

In college I was a member of the Linux User Group, including being the president for a year. I was also a sister of Alpha Sigma Kappa - Women in Technical studies.

I have worked as a government subcontractor (intern and employee), a marketing web intern, a state agency intern, web tech companies, and non-profits. When I say I interned, by that way, that was paid, part-time, entry-level work that I also received college credit for.