I've read a couple of posts on the Object Mentor Blog (home of Brett Schuchert) and thought I'd do the same.
In high school (1977-1980), I heard that the other high school in town had a computer class. I wasn't much interested in computers and definitely didn't want to go to a class across town.
I wanted to get out of the house after graduation so bad that I went to summer school at NSU. (I had it really good at home, I was just ready to be on my own). In the Orientation class, one of the things we did was go talk to a representative of the college we were interested in majoring in. I knew I wanted to do something in business. I really hated accounting, marketing, managing, and sales so I wasn't sure what I was gonna do. The representative that talked to us we Gene Kozlowski. He taught computer science classes. He talked about the different majors in the business college and then started talking about computers. It sounded pretty good. That is when I decided to major in Computer and Information Science with a business emphasis. I figured I could eventually make $30k to $40k which sounded really good. :-)
My first computer class that fall was Basic. We used HP-3000 Basic and I sucked. I don't remember the grade I got but I had a really hard time understanding what to do to get a program to work. That spring I took Fortran and it clicked. I did pretty well in Fortran and gained a lot of confidance. I eventually took Cobol I and II, AI (Lisp), Data Structures (Pascal), and a database course where we used Condor.
My first job out of college was at a really small shop in Garland, Texas. I was the computer operator on an HP-3000 series 68. I also did some programming when I had time. They were using Quiz/Qtp/Quick (a Powerhouse/Cognos product) and RPG. I got pretty good at the Powerhouse stuff. Eventually, I became a programmer and helped with operations when necessary.
When that place closed, I found a job at the Dallas Times Herald using Powerhouse.
When that place closed, I found a job in North Carolina at Revlon using Cobol, Powerhouse, and eventually SAP.
I got tired of spending my 2 weeks vacation driving home to Oklahoma so I found a job in Okc doing Cobol, some Powerhouse, and now Java.
I've been out of college 21 years now and have been lucky enough to be employed for all but about 3 months. I still love to write code.