How did you break in?

Tonight I was talking to a friend and he asked me “How did you break in?” . . . meaning to the software industry, not a bank. Anyway, it ended up in a wall of text messages one at a time. Which he hates! Since he probably won’t read it I’ll post it here so even more people won’t read it.

I went to college and got into $60k in debt is the short answer.

At a shitty AZ school! (Side note, we talked about AZ schools earlier in the day and it was about how AZ is 48 out of 50 for education!)

While I was at ASU, I got a job at a web dev at the engineering school. They were teaching a new class that was going to “change engineering education” and I was hired to make and keep up the class website. It was the 90’s and that wasn’t really a thing then. Anyway, they had Cold Fusion so I made a site and kids could enter their SSN and get their grades! It was really cool if not a security nightmare. And I had my own cube on the 3rd floor of the computing commons. I had access others only dreamed of!

One day, a friend of mine from college who worked at this real estate company said “Our computers are always broken! Can you come and fix them?”

So I went to go fix computers but the owner of the company asked me about web development.

He sat me in a room asking me questions about being a web dev and eventually we made our way into the “server room” which was just a closet with tiny desk and the copier.

He wanted to see if I could change something on this web server.

It was VBScript and I knew Cold Fusion.

I don’t even know how I figured out where the files were stored.

I guess they both were on IIS or whatever came before IIS so I was able to look in some config or something.

Anyway, I changed something . . . I don’t know what it was but I got hired.

I got paid $15 per hour and I worked part time for a year and then full time for a year after that while I finished school.

Then a new company was formed . . . it was a startup! And I got a real salary of $50k or something close to it. It was crazy money!

But it wasn’t really much more than I made because before they didn’t take out any taxes.

2 years later I get a letter from the IRS.

I owed like $10k? or $20k with all the late fees. I don’t remember the amount but it was some amount that scared me.

It didn’t happen EXACTLY like that . . . . because now that I’m remembering, I also had an internship in there somewhere at Honeywell and I worked there a year on a “Fly by Light” system. And I remember how old I was . . . 21 . . . when I got my licence and a car! A Chevy Corsica. But the office was SO FAR and I quit after a year to take an internship at Motorola. But they didn’t hire me full time after the internship so I was out of a job. And I think that’s when I worked at ASU? And then the real estate company. I need to look at some old emails to piece this all together!

But the bigger picture is that it all happened for me because I was going to ASU and getting a degree in Electrical Engineering. That probably gave me some credibility back then.