Just beginning

Within the last few months, my career plans have radically changed. I’ve been working on Changing Tracks away from my AweSum Math and moving back into technology.

I was reading some blogs written by Database Administrators, and one of them, Pinal Dave, wrote that when he started learning SQL, he wanted a place to catalog what he was learning and used his blog for that. I love that idea, which is why I’m starting this. I’m not making it private, but I will not publicize it, either. If you happen upon this little corner of the internet, welcome.

As this is my first post here, I’ll put a little bit about what led me here.

The US Navy trained me to be an electronics technician, working on communications and cryptographic equipment.

I don’t know if I was ever really excited to be a tech. At 18, it wasn’t what I thought I wanted to do. But the school was supposedly hard (there was a high failure rate) and I did well. I took pride in being a woman in a field thought of as “traditionally male”.

Electronics is a useful job skill and when I left the Navy, I used it.

I had started working on computers and networks at my last duty station, so I tried to work in that field for a few months. But I was also trying to take classes at the local community college and was single parent to a toddler. I couldn’t compete with the guys I was working with. They were going home and reading books and magazines on networks and computers and building their own networks at home and customizing their computers. I just didn’t have the time or the energy to put into continuous learning like that. I again always felt like I was a step behind my coworkers.

I retreated to being a test technician for a place that made microwave and RF oscillators.

The pay at this job was lower than I expected at a time when my daycare cost more than my rent. It was a good a job for a while, though. In the beginning, there was a lot to learn and no one had written any training material, each tech had only his own notes. That was very different from the Navy, where there was always a manual and usually instructions at least where to start.

Then I fell in love and moved across the country. In San Diego, I found a job doing exactly what I had been doing in Tampa, but on only 1 type of oscillator instead of a dozen or so. I was bored so quickly & I didn’t last long.

I worked a few temp jobs, one I really enjoyed at a DSL equipment manufacturer. After about a year of temp work, I landed a dream job at Intel.

I was making decent money for the first time in my life. I mostly enjoyed my work. I moved to another city to stay with the company when they closed my department.

And then a year later, I was laid off. At that time (2002), ALL the tech companies were laying off. Around my city, HP, Apple, Intel, they were all laying off. It wasn’t easy to find another job, especially if I didn’t want to move again so soon.

I decided to change careers and become a math teacher (more info is on AweSum Math).

It took me much longer to complete school than I thought it would, and I struggled financially along the way, but ultimately, I finished my math degree in the fall semester of 2009. I then went to grad school to get my teaching credential.

But after my student teaching experience, I decided that teaching was not the right path for me.

While I was going to school, I had started working for a small company doing clerical and research tasks.

They had a need for someone to help out maintaining the network and implementing some back-end changes to a new website.

I have been thinking for some time now that I might be able to use my background and math degree to work with databases. I’d also been reading for some time about how the future is in Big Data. The logic of writing queries and having my hands on critical data are appealing to me.

I’m doing work I’ve never done before and, in some cases, have no real background in. I need a place to write out what I’m learning.

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