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Consultant - IBM mainframe-based computer systems programming
specialist. I work with the operating systems of large mainframe-type
computers, doing software installation and maintenance, network
setup/support, and general technical support for IBM mainframe
systems using MVS, VM and VSE operating systems.
I attended college as a music major (instrumental music/strings)
and a mathematics minor, thinking I would like to be a teacher.
After teaching music in public school systems for several years,
I realized that I enjoyed teaching but hated public school systems
(as a consequence, my own children attend private schools, carefully
chosen). In looking around for ideas for another career choice,
I remembered a computer science class that I had taken as part of
my math work in college (and enjoyed very much). I decided to take
some more classes in computer science and see what developed.
Eventually, I landed a job as a "junior" systems programmer. From
that point, I began to learn about large system computers as I
worked with them, as well as how large systems communicate with
smaller ones and individuals via terminals and (later) networks of
PCs and other computer systems.
At some point in my "second" career, I realized that most traditional
corporate jobs tend to lead in two directions - along a management
track or into a dead-end slot, with no further advancement available
in salary or responsibilities. Knowing that I was not interested
in traditional management work and not liking the idea of a dead-end
job, I accepted an opportunity to try the "job-shop" route as an
installation specialist working on an operating system upgrade.
The rest is history, I suppose - I found that being the
consultant/outsider/"hired gun" gives one the ability to make
suggestions and recommendations about specific system needs and
requirements without having to deal (for the most part) with the
internal politics present in all corporate cultures, large and
small. I like the challenges of moving into new environments and
dealing with many different kinds of systems and people all of the
time, and I feel good when I am able to use my skills to solve a
problem for a client.
Don't limit yourself in your education. Take classes in as many
different subjects as you can, and participate in many different
kinds of extra-curricular activities, now and as you go through
high school. It is a very good idea to have some sort of career/goal
ideas to pursue as you complete high school and start higher
education, but try to avoid "career tracking" during at least your
first year or two of college. If college is out of the question
right away, get a job that will keep you going and look around for
evening classes and activities at the library, museums, local
community colleges. One single college class recommended by my
roommate was all that it took to point me in this direction.