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Registered: Jan 2003
Local time: 06:58 PM
Posts: 4293

Occupations post #1  quote:

I thought it might be nice for the professionals in our community to share a little about what it's like to do our jobs, what kind of training was required, and what things are like in the daily grind for the younger crowd interested in figuring out what to do with themselves.

What's your job?

Old Post 02-25-2004 06:37 AM
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Registered: Jan 2003
Local time: 06:58 PM
Posts: 4293

post #2  quote:

I'll start it off.

I'm a systems engineer. I used to do only software engineering, but my career has evolved a step at a time into a wide range of responsibilities that extends well beyond software systems. I'm entirely self-taught ever since I took an interest in computers in highschool (1988) - this is the power of taking a very serious interest in your hobbies. Today I support my family and am in the $75,000-$100,000 annual income bracket, never having spent time in college.

I will admit that I had a series of "lucky breaks" that ultimately enabled me to make each advancement that I did, but none would have been possible without persistent research and genuine interest in learning all there is to know about my field. It all started with my dad brining home a personal computer one day which literally had nothing on it but the operating system and a little program called Microsoft Quick Basic.

With QB being the only program to play around with, I quickly found that I could write small programs to make neat tricks happen just be reading through the help files that came with the application. The program also came with a funny game called "gorillas" where you type in power and trajectory and two gorillas will take turns having a go at bombing eachother with bananas. I quickly saw an opportunity to make additional games for myself to play sice the computer itself came with none. So I learned how to draw graphics pixel by pixel, then how to convert them into bitmaps which I could move anywhere on the screen, then write animation routines which would move the bitmaps around automatically according to set patterns. In this way I was able to make simple games like Black Jack, Yahtzee, MasterMind, a simple race-car game that you had to avoid obstacles.

I found books available at local stores that demonstrated how to add fancy little tricks into your programs such as activating the mouse and responding to motion & button clicks, joystick input, printer output. Eventually this developed into a series of experiments whereupon I discovered assembly language and machine code through use of the program called "debug" which came with DOS. Suddenly a whole new world opened up to me where I could communicate directly with the computer's hardware. Immediately I was able to create fancy, full color graphics by making the VGA card do tricks, and I could do 8 bit stereo sound by detecting and activating the Sound Blaster Pro audio card.

The more tricks I came to learn in order to make my games better looking, better sounding, and more fun for myself, the more I inadvertently set myself up for my first major break. Immediately after high school I began work as a computer sales person because I was very familiar with all the components in the systems. This led to work as a technician performing repairs on customer's systems, and finally to doing telephone technical support for an equipment manufacturer. It was at this desk job that I had plenty of time during the day while I was on the phone to resume playing around with the game programming I was doing. By that time I was well into high resolution 3D polygon rendering with multiple light sources and full sound support including background music and multi-track mixed sound effects in real time - it was all shaping up to be a really great game. And then someone noticed what I was doing.

So they gave me a shot as a junior programmer on the development team at that company where I honed my skills as an assembly language and C programmer supporting the company's hardware. My next stop was another company writing firmware driver's for their printer, all the while learning how to write HTML web pages so that I could share the things I've learned with the rest of the world. Turns out my web page writing experience landed me another job closer to home producing a huge website for a major media property where I performed a complete site redesign and learned about databases while supporting the site's content. This database experience led up to the next job after that where I was brought on as a web/database expert to help roll out a startup company's product. That job led to additional research in other fields of electronics, audio/video and lighting systems, systems automation, and a variety of other technologies required by that company when a bunch of other engineers got laid off and there was nobody left but myself capable of doing the research.

This enabled me to perform my current job where I am a systems engineer for a startup company (not a "dot-com" per se - ). For this company, I have designed the complete network and technology infrastructure from the ground up including database architecture & administration, website integration & deployment, networking, communications specifications, equipment selections, systems automation, administrative interfaces, and future expansion project scopes. To perform these duties I have had to:

* manage teams of sub-contractor developers up to 10 at a time
* provide briefings and coordinate with upper management
* communicate with 3rd party vendors to ensure proper equipment and software purchases were made
* perform cost and feasibility analysis on a variety of technology and software options
* manage a budget covering all technology requirements
* write detailed documentation on custom software systems, communication protocols, and systems integration

During the beginning phases of my employment with this company, most of my time was spent performing research, planning the infrastructure, identifying solutions, contacting vendors, preparing the budget, and identifying contractors capable of performing short order development work that would make the project a success. Then we moved into the "rollout phase" where we had to make it all happen, so I brought the contractors on board, coordinated purchasing of software and equipment, wrote extensive documentation for contractors to base their development on, coordinated system intgrators who were receiving and installing equipment into our facility, and build out any sections of custom software that were not accommodated by outside contractors (there were many!).

After we opened our first facility, my attention turned to releasing our consumer website which would support the "brick & mortar" establishment with online shopping and other member services. I worked with the project director and the art director to make their wishes for the site mesh with what we could actually deliver from a technology standpoint, then got to work on building out the website ( ).

Today I spend my time extending the website functionality, and adding to the automation control systems at our theater. This includes maintaining and adding to the original database that I built, creating new pages for the website that tie into the database, writing custom applications that connect the database system to the automation systems at the theater, creating drivers that interconnect all the various pieces of equipment in the theater into the automation system, and provide technical support to the theater staff in the event of equipment failures out at the site. I am bringing on an additional full time permanent software engineer who I will manage for the forseeable future.

Old Post 02-25-2004 07:28 AM
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What Would Jack Do?

Registered: Aug 2003
Local time: 10:58 AM
Location: The land, the land down under.
Posts: 12701

post #3  quote:

whooo... I'll come up short compared to that, wont I? But then I'm only 22

I'm a technical writer for a company that makes pro-audio stuff. But since I can pull manuals and advertisements out of my ass in an pretty short time I also help do the testing, as well as sometimes dealing with international customers and telling them when a design is stupid. I also spend a fair bit of time on INreview, which wasn't in the job description, but I did it anyway.

My qualifications when I got this job were some years working for a newspaper and being able to play basically anything that makes a sound. My early career in writing was one unbelievable lucky break after another, which worked out good for me in helping me build up some pretty impressive experience while still in uni...

Okay, uni... I studied Primary School Teaching for one year, realized it was a stupid goal, and then studied Communication for 3 years, which all turned out to be a basic waste of time, but I do have a pretty certificate that tells people I know how to "communicate".

Most people don't need a certificate to prove that, but apparently I do.

Future? Well, no plans yet, I'll wait a year until I start thinking about a hostile take-over...

Old Post 02-25-2004 09:50 AM
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In the Now Guru

Registered: Apr 2003
Local time: 09:58 PM
Location: Tampa
Posts: 2198

post #4  quote:

Great idea for a thread Sean!

I'm a Marketing Representative for a Real Estate Sales Training company. My firm has trained well over 120,000 realtors and brokers on everything from technology, listings and sales, generating leads, recruiting, marketing and prospecting. Our graduates average a minimum of between $1.5 - $3 million in production during the course and a maximum of between $25 - $40 million.

My duties include maintaining client relations, generating sales through realtor enrollment for our courses, business to business contact sales, payment tracking and liason services between our clients and class trainers.

I'm a high school drop out, having gotten my GED in the 11th grade. I joined this company 5 years ago after moving to Tampa from Colorado Springs. I learned the sales skills to sell our product while working with this company and eventually became the top sales associate in my office.

Last year my net income was over 42k. I have full medical benefits and access to 401k programs and life insurance through our corporation. I'm very fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to work with a company that genuinely cares about their clients and employees.

Old Post 02-25-2004 07:48 PM
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Registered: Apr 2003
Local time: 10:58 AM
Location: In The Zone
Posts: 18698

post #5  quote:

I am in Real Estate, I run the Property Management (rental) Department for a small office here in sunny Perth, Western Australia. I am also the Office Administrator, Secretary, Assistant Strata Manager, and Sales Assistant among other things, but mainly I do Property Management.

I manage about 120 residentital properties and about 20 commercial properties. Property Management involves selecting suitable tenants, signing tenancy agreements, invoicing and collecting rent, property inspections, maintenace, blah blah blah.

It can be a bit boring, mostly because of the paperwork, but you meet lots of interesting people, they say here that people move about every 18 months, so you have a high turn around of new clients and everyone has their own story. You definately have to be a "people person", liasing with landlords who want one thing and tenants who want another thing can be quite tricky at times.

In Western Australia, you are required to do a six week course to get your Property Management Certificate. There is no minimum requirement to do the course. You then must obtain your license to practise through the Real Estate and Business Agents Supervisory Board and be registered with the local Real Estate Institute. You must practise Property Management under someone who has a Real Estate License to operate a Real Estate office.

There is quite a lot of law involved in this job and you can never learn it all, so you always learn something new. I don't know if i can offer any advise on Real Estate law in this forum, I have no idea how WA laws differ from US laws and whether you have different laws in each state. But if anyone from WA wants any help, I'll see what I can do.

Old Post 02-26-2004 03:26 AM
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Registered: Feb 2004
Local time: 08:58 PM
Location: Texas
Posts: 985

post #6  quote:

I'm a freshman in an American high school. no words to that.

Old Post 03-07-2004 10:17 PM
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Gold Member
Chimerical Visionary

Registered: May 2003
Local time: 08:58 PM
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 3868

post #7  quote:

I'm currently a sales rep for Express Men, but this is NOT my career. I am slowly but surely building my portfolio so I can start my true career in Graphic Design.

When I finally get that job I will come back to this thread and let you all know exactly what I do.

Old Post 03-10-2004 04:58 AM
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In the Now Guru

Registered: Feb 2004
Local time: 09:58 PM
Posts: 1459

post #8  quote:

Sayzak, you are going to do free lancing? I can give you some very good articles about that...

Old Post 03-10-2004 11:25 AM
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Registered: Mar 2004
Local time: 07:58 PM
Location: Kalispell, Montana
Posts: 5

post #9  quote:

I'm the shift supervisor for a company located in Whitefish, Montana called Positive Systems

The company was originally founded in Denver, and created an aerial photography system that can basically take satalite-quality photos from a contraption strapped to the bottom of an airplane. We mosaic the images together to create one large image of an entire county, state, country, what have you.

The main project we are working on now is for the USDA. We are taking the old photographs that have been drawn on with Sharpies for the last 20-odd years and digitizing them by county. We have done the northern part of Montana and are now working on half of Maryland.

The other project that is due to start next week is doing aerial photograpy for cities, using old and new images to detect changes in growth, traffic, expansion and deterioration of the landscape/environment.

Other past projects include images from New Mexico and California to map changes in the paths immigrants are using to come across the border, mapping wildfire routes and clean up/fire prevention, and other change detection techniques.

Old Post 03-24-2004 07:25 PM
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Ken NJ
INReview Maven

Registered: Dec 2003
Local time: 09:58 PM
Location: NJ
Posts: 4930

The Occupation of Space And Being A Cyberbum post #10  quote:

Me, I'm nothing but a city slicker from the Eastern part of USA next to NY and Pa. Been around the block a couple of time, but can't stack up to all you folks who do things on your own. So I finally found my way to INR, been here just a couple of months and this cybercommunity is much different from the small towns I've passed through. Oftentimes, I found myself putting in more time keyboarding on this PC churning out posts than what I'm supposed to do for a living. So many questions and so little time inside a day. I've been to most major urban cities in the U.S. and got to meet people from all walks of life to understand that everything revolves around the little people and big companies and big government are more important than principles, people, policies and procedures. From that I try to put things in perspectives and mix in some humor to keep the adrenaline going. Other than that, it's the same old, same old....... just SSDD. You've heard of the expression, right?

What I want to be is a Rocket Scientists, but find that people like Trump are the best city slickers. Delta already said she heard my singing and can't sing being off key to Becker's funny posts. Perhaps I should have worked in communications with all the BS that floats arounds.

Old Post 03-28-2004 04:43 PM
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