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First post, by Jed118

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For me, it was in September of 1996 when we moved to a new city and I had a box of parts left over from my middle school project of repairing 3-4 skids worth of PCs (got around 3/4s of them working in one way or another). I looked up this place in the phonebook:

https://web.archive.org/web/19990424155009/ht … tes.com/cpu.htm

and gave them a call. Owner said he'll buy my parts (some old 386 mobos, RAM, whatever parts could not be made into full computers) and asked me where I got it all from, so I explained it to him. His hiring criteria was to go to the back and build him a system around as many parts as I had brought with me, filling in the gaps with his stock.

I was able to make a booting 386 in something like 45 minutes. I was hired.

Looking at some of the prices (1998 version), I wish 286/386 motherboards were still $5. SCSI controllers held their value (minus inflation) and I've sold P166 systems for about what the asking price is up on the site. Modems seem to have taken the worst hit, and I clearly recall the $15 used floppy drives, buying several myself.

What a trip back that was!

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Reply 1 of 11, by Jasin Natael

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I took a job right out of tech school as a help desk tech at a local mom and pop computer store in the fall of 2002 if I remember the year, it might have even been 2003.

QCI - Quality Computers Incorporated.

I began by building new systems for them, just me and the owner of the company. If I remember correctly we were building socket 478 P4 and Celerons with Tyan motherboards. That is about all I can recall specs wise.

Also did migrations, DSL setups, malware/virus removal. I can remember fighting with Norton System Works and all of the crap it left in registry like it was yesterday.

Windows XP but still pretty new to the market and a lot of the systems I worked on were 9x based. Pretty easy to corrupt.

I have some fond and no so fond memories of that job, 🤣. But it is where I got started.

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Reply 2 of 11, by creepingnet

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The true first job was me freelancing for "pizza-money" in 2002-2005, helping people get their computers fixed on a budget. Most of my customers were friends and co-workers through the resturant I worked at. I built systems, modified my friend's computers to run better, removed viruses manually, saved a few college careers in the process. I have a lot of hilarious stories from that time involving a "Serial Porn Surfer" who was actually an ex-bandmate of mine that I was constantly cleaning up after....he would literally sneak in during parties and look up porn on people's college work PC's.

My actual, full on, legit adult job in I.T. was independent contractor upgrading a plumbing supply warehouse spring of 2004, I got the job 2 weeks after I just got A+ Certified. It was a 2 day project that involved replacing the outdated Pentium machines with brand new HP Workstations, including some clever sidewalk engineering to fit the new 17" CRT monitors where the 15" CRTs were - as they sat in weird metal cradles under the front counter - inset into the counter, with plexiglass over the top.

A far cry from what I do now that much is for sure - racking servers, managing major software deployments, some support stuff, including doing hardware repairs on laptops and desktops, and being sort of the "Go-to-guy" where I work as I have a lot of crazy experience from 15 years doing I.T. and messing with computers in general, and seem to always figure out a way to fix something, even if it's very weird.

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Reply 3 of 11, by Nexxen

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1994
Person had parts and asked to assemble a pc, 486. Took no time as everything was good, no troubleshooting.
Got 7€ out of it. Back then it was cinema + pizza and a drink.

Not a job but it was paid with costumer's satisfaction. 😀

Reply 4 of 11, by gerry

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Jed118 wrote on 2021-04-07, 20:25:

Owner said he'll buy my parts (some old 386 mobos, RAM, whatever parts could not be made into full computers) and asked me where I got it all from, so I explained it to him. His hiring criteria was to go to the back and build him a system around as many parts as I had brought with me, filling in the gaps with his stock.

I was able to make a booting 386 in something like 45 minutes. I was hired.

I like that story, i wonder if people still hire on that basis now (i mean a practical test / demonstration of ability rather than all the paperwork and 2 stage interviews etc)

btw, whats the best time for assembling a 386 since? 😀

Reply 6 of 11, by chinny22

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gerry wrote on 2021-04-08, 08:47:

I like that story, i wonder if people still hire on that basis now (i mean a practical test / demonstration of ability rather than all the paperwork and 2 stage interviews etc)

Back in 2009 when applying for a job I was given a PC or server and told to runup and put on the internet, that was it. I cant remember but they had 1 "trick" that I was supposed to google, I said I didnt think I was allowed to use google! but didn't get the job, I was a bit annoyed but not that upset seemed like a backyard business.

For me 1999 just out of high school I worked the front desk for a office supply shop in my hometown I mainly did over the counter stuff like toner, paper, etc and booked in PC's, Copiers, faxes that came in for repair. I was hoping to move "out the back" but I was terrible at that job which also induced cashing out end of the day and my maths is so bad I could never get the till to balance (sometimes up, sometimes down) and chasing outstanding depts. After a year they very nicely asked if I wanted to leave and I said yes without hesitation.

My first real Techie job was around 2002? I cant quite remember either in Sydney. I remember installing XP SP1 on a whole of of P3's fairly early on but we also upgraded a bunch of server from 2000 to 2003.
I was real lucky with that job, was just 3 engineers in their early 20's and the boss in his 30's. You were more or less assigned clients and you were left to do everything from quotes though to installation, site visits, scheduling basically everything accept billing so avoided "hell desk" until 2008 really.
I only left that job when I moved to the UK, Funny enough the more senior engineer of the 3 of us (only 1 year older) ended up moving over to the UK for a bit after coming to visit me and we still meet up whenever I go home. My brother also ended up working there (he didn't last long though) and still in contact with the other engineer I worked with who had left and since come back. Even the boss' wife got in contact last year just to say hi, yeh I got lucky with that job

Reply 7 of 11, by Jed118

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gerry wrote on 2021-04-08, 08:47:
Jed118 wrote on 2021-04-07, 20:25:

Owner said he'll buy my parts (some old 386 mobos, RAM, whatever parts could not be made into full computers) and asked me where I got it all from, so I explained it to him. His hiring criteria was to go to the back and build him a system around as many parts as I had brought with me, filling in the gaps with his stock.

I was able to make a booting 386 in something like 45 minutes. I was hired.

I like that story, i wonder if people still hire on that basis now (i mean a practical test / demonstration of ability rather than all the paperwork and 2 stage interviews etc)

btw, whats the best time for assembling a 386 since? 😀

My workstudy position had a "here's a PC, it's broken, make it work" scenario. IIRC it was either the RAM was unplugged or the hard disk was. A co-worker of mine simply had no power cable. Not just not plugged in, but it was simply not there at all. This sometimes happens at a University campus 😉

I'll be assembling an EISA system 486 soon, it's a bit complex but it shouldn't take more than 30 mins to fit all the hardware in. In this case more, as I have to replace the AT power supply. It'll be on my channel soon 😉

Sometimes it takes months due to parts availability 😉

I was hoping to move "out the back" but I was terrible at that job which also induced cashing out end of the day and my maths is so bad I could never get the till to balance

I started out back, but the owner quickly saw I was better at sales. He even gave me commission - $2 for a monitor and $3 per PC. I recall I was routinely making an extra $30 over the weekends. That's 1997 dollars, for a 15 year old. He saw that I was spending most of my money at his store (he gave me good discounts) and I'd haul off entire systems on my bike (built a tray in the rear so I can haul monitors) so he started paying me in BramptonComputes dollars (at a higher rate) instead of cash, which worked out fine as I would still get discounts on parts that I would buy to assemble entry-to-mid level PCs and take out ads in the newspaper. I made WAY more money this way, at the end of 1997 I was able to buy a CRX. Which I couldn't legally drive. 😉

Youtube channel- The Kombinator
What's for sale? my eBay!

Reply 8 of 11, by mothergoose729

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I worked fast food in high school and college.

My first job with computers was a programming … um... internship? Basically they needed something and they could only afford me. I developed a pretty shitty web app in like two weeks that ultimately went no where, and then I did something kind of cool with mail in surveys and barcodes scanners.

Reply 9 of 11, by wiretap

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In high school junior and senior year (2002-2004) and then after for a few years, I was the lead technician at the TV studio there. I negotiated $25/hr.. 🤣. I maintained all sorts of stuff -- Amiga 4000 Video Toaster, 20 workstations, 3 non-linear editors, a Globalstreams Trinity, mixers, video multiplexers, 3 studio cameras, waveform vectorscopes, scan converters, SVHS professional decks, automated DVD duplicators, several Canon XL1's, DMX lighting equipment, ENG bags full of wireless audio equipment, etc. It was pretty fun. I got to repair all sorts of stuff, build computers, provide live production support, etc.

After that I worked at a car dealership which sucked but I got to drive all sorts of cool cars.. then I got an internship at a nuke plant -- now I've been there for 10 years as a principal engineer responsible for all the plant process computer systems. Lots of OT -- over 640hrs in 2020.

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Reply 10 of 11, by gca

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First job, straight out of college back in the mid 90s working as a code monkey for a small software house in Stirling. Working on a line of business suite written in BASIC on a Linux system. Oh, and it was an INTERPRETED version of BASIC. So anyone who bought the suite would also have needed to buy the language as well. Before you ask no, the company no longer exists. It went bankrupt when I was still there.

Reply 11 of 11, by buckeye

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In 1990 got a job doing CAD (computer assisted drafting) work involving sheet metal layouts and rotary type machine assemblies. Remember the
computers were Sun systems networked to a mainframe. Don't remember the CAD program, think it ran on Solaris OS.

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