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I started studying Architecture. I left it after 2 years, because making buildings is not what I wanted. After that, in 1982, I began working for a company as a truck driver and spent 2 years doing that. On December 1984 the company bought a Commodore 64, and nobody knew a bit of how use it. I was young and decided to study it, and after a few months, one of the engineers talk to me for we, both of us, make a software for calculate steel structures. He did the civil engineering and I coded it.
After that I been working in IT for 33 years, passing through Amiga (using AmigaBasic and C), DOS (dBase III and IV, QuickBasic), Windows in the 90's (Visual Basic, C++, Visual FoxPro) and now Windows in 2000's (C++ and C#). Everything in the same company, and at this time I've developed all the software it is used inside (Except AutoCad, MS Office and Paint programs). I've never drove trucks again!
I was a chemist by education and worked as a chemist from 91 to 99 before leaving for IT. I took a job as environmental database manager at an engineering firm. My family had relocated to the DC metro area for my wife's work and I had trouble finding a good job as an experienced BS level chemist. I have actually been a programmer \ developer now for most of my it career. Never looked back, never regretted move, and certainly making way more money than reasonably could expect to make as chemist.
I flunked out of college during Vietnam "Police Action". Joined the Navy. Was sent to Tech school for Computer repair. Worked repairing weapons system on aircraft (controlled by a digital computer - very primitive), and left when my enlistment was up. Went back to college and got my degree in business. I had one course in programming. It was BASIC, and I discovered I was good at it, and that I enjoyed it. Worked as a computer operator/programmer to support myself and my new wife (she has put up with me for 45 years and deserves a medal). My goal was law school and I completed it, got my J.D. and practiced law for 2 years. Had to deal with too many lawyers, so I went back to programming and have never looked back.
Take responsibility for your actions and failure to act when you should have.
Before I began my career in I.T., I was an electrical controls engineer specializing in production machinery startup/debug (i.e.: Allen Bradley programming). Around 2003, that field (in mid-Michigan where I lived at the time) went to crap. I figured that since I was already doing significant work with computers and had several years doing the work "unofficially", it should be an easy transition for me and it was.
Here I am going on 16 years later and while it has been a bumpy ride, I'm still going strong.
Right out of college (Biology major, chemistry minor) I worked in a Clinical DNA diagnostics laboratory (hospital genetic testing lab). Really liked it. Saw a book that came with Microsoft office on the shelf one day "How to program with MS Excel" or some such name.
Hmmm, this could be useful as we used excel to hold data during various parts of sample processing, to feed to liquid handling robots to tell them what to do, calculate and graph data for genetic results that required any calculations, etc. Since genetics moved so fast and there was so much need that the hospital's IT department could NEVER (still can't) keep up with even 1/10 of the work just our lab had a need for, the boss man said yeah, see what you can do.
Soon I, as a lab technologist, was spending all my time building new and maintaining/enhancing "software" (vba based programs that ran within excel workbooks of course). I decided I ought to get a formal computer science degree, and did so while still working in the lab full time.
I moved eventually to the IT department and still work primarily for that same genetics lab, 27 years after I first started work there.
So the "what drove you to do so" was the interest/enjoyment of programming, making highly useful applications that were in need (creating something useful), and better salary.
I'm kind of on the other side. Been developing for 30+ years. Still like the problem-solving bits of it, and it's fun to be shown and learn new technologies, but I no longer need the money and definitely not the stress which comes along with it.
Been thinking (not too seriously at this point) about if there is a more low-stress occupation where I could still get health benefits (lol USA) that I might enjoy for something new.
My education and training was in nuclear operations engineering through U. S. Naval Nuclear Power School. When I left the Navy, jobs in the nuclear industry were few and far between. So while in college, I took a job at Florida Atlantic University's Central Energy Plant. The director of the facility believed that I, as a Navy Nuc, could shift into IT and learn what I needed to code and implement a new, computer-based, campus-wide, energy management and monitoring system.
I fell in love with software development, learning on my own using the same techniques I used in Naval Nuclear Power School for rapid learning. I learned the vendor-specific language, FORTRAN-IV, and I already knew the electrical and mechanical engineering aspects of such a system.
I have stayed in software development ever since, learning new technology as it appears, picking and choosing what I thought the most useful.
I was in food service for my younger days. The obvious fast food as a teen and then graduated to cook at a diner.
I was a line worker and then a production manager in a window factory.
I've had a drywall finishing and remodeling company (construction)
I drove a semi (helped pay for the remodeling company)
I had some back issues that caused me to close my business as well as stop driving a semi. Since I worked in the factory I'd been tinkering with scripting for a video game and really enjoyed it as a hobby. When my back went out I decided to go to school for programming, which I dropped out of because I got a programing gig.
Back issues are better after I got my body into shape.
Retired from the military after 20 years of globetrotting. I was like, crap, now I have to get a real job. Don't want to work outside; don't want to work with dumb people; okay, IT it is. Went to school and with a bit of luck got the experience I needed, and boom, here I am, still doing it after 19 years.
I moved - tried a home-business (failed) - and really liked programming and had no place around to work in chemistry (the real stuff). As it turns out, just as in chemistry, I'm not as good as many in the technical aspects of programming but have "amazing" problem-solving abilities. Turns out to be a useful skill.
So - as in my "bio" - I now do for money what I once did for pleasure, like a . . .
I got a degree in Physics, and almost all the jobs offered involved weapons research, which I object to, and security clearances, which meant that anything I discovered would be a secret and useless for bettering humanity. So I quit graduate school to accept a job with IBM.