The Making of a Programmer, Part IV

I finally finished my first bachelor’s degree and realized that I was going to have to change jobs to realize any monetary benefit from it. I did some networking and managed to find a job working on the so called Star Wars program, officially known as the Strategic Defense Initiative or SDI. I was part of a group that had a charter to apply Artificial Intelligence technology. The situation we were faced with was that we didn’t have any projects that needed AI technology.

Consequently, I found myself writing networking software to support distributed simulations of SDI systems. It was very similar to the work that I had been doing. It wasn’t AI but it paid the bills.

My next career move was to take a position as a system administrator at the Huntsville Operations Support Center (HOSC) at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). This was a very challenging but rewarding time in my career. The principle challenge was that we were so grossly understaffed. By the time I got this message across to management, I was totally burned out. Reluctantly, I took a job with a less demanding schedule.

Then, I got a rare opportunity to join an Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at a major aerospace company. I jumped at it. I haven’t done much AI work but I have had a challenging, varied, and ultimately rewarding career there. I had no idea I would still be there twenty five years later.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.