Monday, February 9, 2009

(My) Essential Skill

Some years ago, my good friend and golf partner (coming up on 2 decades now) asked me a question related to the information technology field. While he specializes in a different segment, IT Security, he posed a question that he thought was still valid for my niche--managing Apple workstations and servers in the enterprise:
"What do you think was the key skill or training you received early that has proven to be the most important in your IT career?"
He had already been asked this in a tech survey and answered it. But, he was curious about how I would respond to the same question. He's well aware that we come from different backgrounds--he's Sansei (third-gen Japanese ancestry), born in Utah and came to L.A. later with his parents, and who majored in business computer systems at our local state university. I was social butterfly and too cool to care about any of that.  Ahh...youth. It didn't take long for me to come up with an answer, and it's the subject of this post.

And, what was that answer? Were we the nerdy kids in high school who signed up for the computer club? No (well...maybe he did--heh, heh). Learned to love math or puzzles at a young age? Nope. Studied programming or music as kids? Not hardly. We both answered with the same response, and in a similar timeframe in our lives. We both learned to type in junior high. That's it--his and my answer to the question. We were some of the few males who choose (it was an option for students at that time within the Los Angeles Unified School System) to take that class.

Why were we the few? Remember, the mid-60's still had girls steered toward taking typing and home ec in preparation for their supposed later lives as secretaries and housewives (ironically, I didn't marry one of those--she-who-must-be-obeyed is a Health Physicist). And why did I do this way back then? I don't know the reason why my golf buddy did, but for me it was to meet the girls. Yes, my life in tech (years later) came down to just biology and raging hormones. However, it was that sole familiarity with a keyboard that spawned that entry into the computer field. Weird, I know...


  1. Too funny, Michael. I wouldn't have guessed typing, but when I think about it, yeah, it makes sense.

  2. Oh my God that had me in tears! Too funny!! I love it! Did it work? Did you pick up any girls?

    I do want to ask, though, if I learned to type on an electric typewriter in high school in the late 80s, what did you learn to type on in jr. high in the 60s?

  3. Jen, the best result I ever got out of that excited endeavor is that I sat next to a girl in typing class :-\. Nuff said.

    Re: the typewriters used, they were electric, too. They pretty much looked like this one. Of course, that was soooo much better than the old manual Olivetti portable I had to use later for high school term papers at home.