Computers are just a new way to see the world
I had an aversion to computers. Computers were something my brother liked. All I saw was lights and black screens and being stuck in a dark, solitary place. That is, until 1994, when I changed careers from being a full time Mom and started working for a community newspaper. Besides organizing printing plates for the presses, they put me in front of a computer with a mouse and a smiling computer cartoon. It wasn’t the first time I had had to learn to manage in a foreign culture.
When I was 5, my Father dropped me off at a small, local school in Alhaurin el Grande, Spain. I couldn’t understand anything anyone said. But, I learned the language and made friends. I was so integrated that when I was 7, my parents sent me to an American boarding school in Morocco because I refused to learn to read in English. And, at the age of 10, I was back in the US trying to figure out American culture. Computer culture was just another place where I didn’t understand anything people were saying.
Going Ahead and Doing It Anyway
Working at the newspaper put me into a new world. Not only did I learn to become proficient on a computer, I learned the culture of small business, and I learned to appreciate the stories of the struggles and successes unique to each of the many business owners who walked through the door of the newspaper office.
But, the newspaper job was a $6.00/hr job. I quickly figured out that my high school diploma wasn’t enough, and I had kids that needed to go to the dentist. So, with the support of my Mom, I started classes at Flathead Valley Community College. The business training complemented what I was learning from the small business owners. With each computer applications class, I learned that there were layers upon layers of computer skills beyond using software.
- University of Montana: MS, Computer Science
- University of Montana: BA, Business Administration with emphasis in International Business
- Flathead Valley Community College: AA, Business
All three of my degree programs fought for time and attention with the responsibilities for 5 children, ranging from grade school age to high school. Starting in 1994, it was a long road to completing the MS in 2008. But, the process has given me a firm belief that anyone can fit into the world of web development, if they have the time and the “wanna”. And, small business owners and staff can learn how to manage their own websites effectively.
My choice of work after finishing my degrees was to help small businesses and non-profits take control of their own business presence. My work is half training and half development. Every day, I use lessons learned in both my Computer Science classes and my Business classes. I learn something new with every client, and each client benefits from knowledge gained from all previous clients.