20+ yrs with a computer

Some people in India do not get to choose their career and are usually forced by their parents to pursue Engineering or Medical fields. But it was not so in my case. I was never forced to take up Engineering. In fact, every single person in my family wanted me to enter into medical field. I was adamant that I only wanted to study computer science. I was not interested in any of the other engineering branches too. And I did not choose this field because it has a high paying job or because some Tom, Dick and Harry chose it. I chose it because I loved it.

320px-Boxwood_computers_2

So what really made me want to study computer science?

I saw a computer for the first time in my life when I was in my primary school. We just had one computer in the entire school. One of our teachers used to take us to the computer room and explain the different parts of a computer. I was more than excited to see this amazing equipment which of course, I could not afford to buy. Then I switched schools and in this new school in a different city, they had few computers. Interested students were asked to enroll in the computer class and without any doubt, I enrolled myself. Those classes were fun but since we had less number of computers, we had to timeshare them. I never got to use it exclusively.

I fell in love with the computer the day I saw it for the first time in my life. In general, I love gadgets and gizmos. Any new electronic device that comes to the market will make an entry into my house. Then one day on Zee TV, we saw an ad for a new computer learning show. This show was called “Chota Byte” and Zee was working with Aptech computer institute to bring this program on their channel. I was interested in joining this program. My parents enrolled me into this program immediately at an Aptech institute close to where we lived. Classes were aired on the TV, the materials/books for the program were provided at the Aptech institute and there were computers at the institute where you could practice everything taught on the TV and in the books.

To say that I loved these classes would be an understatement. This program is what made me fall in love with computers and programming. These classes decided my career for me. This course basically taught us DOS, BASIC programming language and Windows 3.1 (or some earlier version). I loved BASIC programming the most. I started writing graphical programs to draw circles, concentric circles etc and I was amazed at how easy it was to make the computer do what we wanted. I would spend hours in the lab writing programs, modifying them and seeing the output. There was no time limit and we could spend any amount of time at the Aptech center. It was my first time with a computer and I yearned to own one. But those days computers were costly and we could not afford to buy one.

When the time came to choose what I wanted to study, I chose computer science. I chose it only because I loved programming. So when people suggested that I take electronics or some other branch of engineering, I was not interested. I did engineering only because I wanted to spend more time with my computer and in programming it. I did get to program the computer in 10 or more different languages. Every time my program starts running, I get a kick out of it as if I were on some kind of drugs. When I was in college, I would spend my spare time and even summer holidays working on some hobby projects like writing programs to do whatever I wanted. As if my hobby projects were not enough, the head of my department made me do extra engineering projects for him. He published those projects in the Engineering text book that he was writing.

The only reason I did well in my exams was because I loved what I was studying. I loved computers and everything to do with them. That’s why I would bring extra books from the college library, buy all the recommended books for a course and do some extra reading for my own sake. I never studied anything with exams in mind.

Once a friend advised me that testing was a better job for women as they could go home early and had less responsibilities. I never took to testing job because the only reason I am working as a computer engineer is because I love programming. If I were not writing programs all the time, I don’t see any point in choosing this career.

Not everyone becomes a computer engineer because their parents forced them to become one or because they saw everyone else doing it. That’s why movies like “3 idiots” don’t make any sense to me.

So what made you choose your current career?

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32 thoughts on “20+ yrs with a computer

  1. In my case it was the reverse. I liked computer programming too, and I even topped the computer prog. paper we had in 3rd Sem, but I studied ECE because . . . no idea why! I paid for my pathetic decision making by wasting four years of college. By the end of college though, I got some gyan and I decided I didn’t want to be in computer programming, even though I had an option of joining a software company. The best decision I have taken till date, I think. Because in India, working in ITES segment is boring to death.

    Destination Infinity

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  2. Incidentally, I am also one of those who did engineering because I wanted to. I used to follow my dad around in the house, fixing up electrical circuits and stuff. So when there was an option, I wanted to do this. Different matter that what I do now is not engineering, but atleast I don’t regret my choices, because noone forced me to do it!

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  3. I did my bachelors degree in Economics. MBA in Finance. Was at the right place at the right time. Ended up in Financial Operations and also in Sales Operations.

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  4. I mostly studied mathematics in college but loved programming more and learned it on my own. I get thrilled every time my code runs successfully but the ultimate satisfaction comes when I understand it completely. Until then, it keeps nagging me 🙂 I am amazed at the level of sophistication, abstraction and complexity it deals with. How it starts with the transistors to logic gates to integrated circuits to processors to … to all the way up to the code we write is nothing less than magical. It’s a truly amazing amalgamation of physics, maths, and engineering and will leave you in awe when you think down to the wires! 🙂

    I found these cute little lines written by a kid. How true they are! They sum up the gist of programming.

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  5. I too became a computer engineer because I wanted to. It was my passion, my dream. My dad wanted to see me as a doctor in the millitary 🙂 We used to do basic programming from class 4 or 5 and then I ditched biology for IT in plus 12. Maybe that’s why now I love my job. 🙂 Wonderful to read someone who thinks like me.

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  6. People need to stop generalization. Especially parents and cousins. I too choose the field I loved and I too love programming.. 🙂 Don’t get to do it much now but whenever I get, it feels so good 🙂
    Loved the post.. 🙂

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  7. Good for you, Avada! :). Yes, your life can be so more sorted when you take up a stream/subject that you love and make a career out of it.

    In my previous life, before parenting beckoned that is, I was a travel and tour coordinator. Like you, I chose the field for the love of it! Till the day I decided to quit uptil now, I have had no regrets for choosing that career for I was really passionate about my job, despite the huge pressure and stress it entailed.

    And now too, in my current line of occupation as a stay-at-home mom, I’m in love with the work I do! 😀

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    • That’s great Deeps. It’s always so much fun to work on something that we like. I feel people should choose something that they like to work on, instead of jumping into a profession just because others forced them to enter that field.

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  8. My daughter is taking her second computer science class in high school because she enjoyed the first one so much. I don’t know if she will pursue it in college, but I’m glad she’s excited about it for now.

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  9. I love coding tooo and i have enjoyed my job been doing it for 15 years now .. although i got into computers because all the lovely girls were doing the course at NIIT in chandigarh.. so we joined too and I thank god for giving me the sense to join as it was the best thing to happen, I just clicked with computers

    and Now sometimes I wonder what would i have done if not for that course ..

    Bikram

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  10. Wow! You realized your passion so early in life. Glad that you are doing what you love because when you choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life! 🙂

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  11. We are definitely soul-sisters 🙂

    I had this fascination for computers very early in life and yes I voluntarily took up computer science, and thats the reason I opted for engineering. Thankfully I did not have any pressure from my family to choose any particular branch :-0

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