I mentioned in a previous post that I've started my first development job. Let me tell you why this is a big deal for me.
I've been into computers for a long time. My father installed my first computer game before I was eight. He didn't install the second, I did. Any games, drivers, patches were all my responsibility to figure out if I wanted to play. Eventually hardware became my concern as I was the expert on it as well in the family. While I've always been decent at what I'd collectively call support services, they were never the payoff. They were just work to get to the functional software experience on the disk (and later on the network).
For some reason, my first high school didn't put college bound students into programming classes. That seemed to be cordoned off for tech school kids. I knew I was interested in programming, but I didn't think I had access. Luckily, I applied to an academic magnet that did give everyone the ability to get into programming. Two years of high school C++ were followed up with four years of bachelor's degree in Computer Science, mostly taught in Java.
Throughout high school and college I continued to provide support services to employers, friends, and family. When I graduated college I had a split personality resume, education in programming and experience in support. And I couldn't find a job in either. Instead I found jobs making sandwiches, selling jewelry, and packing boxes. Eventually I found a decent wage providing support services for a library system. I had just gotten married and was eager to provide a reasonable income to my new household.
Little did I know, one of the worst recessions was about to land on the US economy and lock me into that position for three years.