I've been a geek my entire life. I just didn't know it until 1984. I remember the year vividly as that was the year I was in 7th grade. It's also the year that my family got our first computer. That purchase jump-started my love with computers, programming, automation and technology in general.
Since then I've had fingers and toes in several different areas of technology. From the latest and greatest Pentium personal computers when they came out to 1950s vacuum-tube based weather radar systems. I've enjoyed a wide variety of technical careers and hobbies over my lifetime.
A couple of years after high school, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. I spent 6 years on active duty as a ground radar maintenance technician. We were responsible for maintenance, upkeep and troubleshooting of the FPN-62 and GPN-22 Precision Approach Radars, the GPN-20 Airport Surveillance Radar, a 1950s weather radar (so old I don't even remember the designator) and the NEXRAD weather radar. These radars were massive systems of interconnected subsystems that required entire walls of printed (shudder) circuits, diagrams and tech procedures.
While I was on active duty, a friend introduced me to amateur (ham) radio. I eventually got my Technician Class license and we started building all kinds of projects and antennas from spare (really discarded) parts we found all over southern Arizona. I've since upgraded to Amateur Extra class and been active in morse code (CW) contesting as well as coordinating license testing activities for several years. The idea of being able to string ome wire in a tree, use a low power transmitter that will fit in an Altoids tin and a morse code key and talk to operators around the world still excites me after all these years.
Eventually after I left active duty, I found my way into the computer field for a company outside Nashville, TN doing desktop and server support. I only did that for about 8 months before being hired as the company's first full-time "webmaster" (that was the hot title back in the late 90s). I've had a myriad of individual contributor roles since that first job. I've learned a ton about building software and been humbled more times than I can remember while trying to do something I thought was simple but turned out to be anything but.
For the last several years, I've not been writing too much code (and really no production-level stuff). I've transitioned into leading software engineering teams. I've found that I get a huge amount of satisfaction in enabling teams and individual engineers to be successful. Helping them have the tools and environment to build great software while removing friction points and distractions from their lives is immensely rewarding. I don't know how long this chapter of my "geek life" will last, but I'm determined to help as many engineers be successful as I can until whatever next chapter of my life begins.
Thanks for walking down my memory lane with me. Please reach out if I can do anything to help you in your journey.