How old were you when you started using computers?
I'm only guessing here, but I think I was about 8. I was in junior school anyway.
What was your first machine?
The first machine I used was the BBC Micro Model B at school, then my friend got a BBC Master with a whole 128k which we put to good use playing Elite. The first machine that was actually mine was the spiritual successor to the BEEBs, the Acorn Archimedes A3000.
What was the first real script you wrote?
The first code of any kind I wrote was in BBC BASIC - it was a text adventure game and was neither long nor good. I'm not sure what my proper sysadmin script was, but I have a feeling that it could well have been one that populated our brand new Active Directory with user accounts in 1999. A bit like jumping in at the deep end!
What scripting languages have you used?
I mostly used VBScript (with a bit of JScript from time to time) for a bunch of years before PowerShell came along. Now it's all PowerShell, all the time.
What was your first professional sysadmin gig?
Well I (along with a friend) was the IT support for the school (when I was about 8) because the teachers didn't know what they were doing, but I wasn't paid so it was hardly professional, although it did get me out of assemblies, so that was some reward. Then I suppose I could count some work I did on some Apple machines in the theatre/sports centre where I worked in my teens. It's probably more reasonable to say the job that I've been in for the last 9 years, which is a proper sysadmin gig.
If you knew then what you know now, would have started in IT?
If I knew then that all the hard slog around the cluster rooms, building hundreds of NT4 workstations with Ghost boot floppies and disk images on CD, would lead on to the success and growth of our systems in the Active Directory era, and that we'd be able to expand into different areas and services with basically the same number of people running them; firstly I wouldn't have believed you, but I think I'd have been as excited about being part of the industry as I am now! This isn't a great job for someone who fears change, but if you love technology, it's a great roller coaster ride!
If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new sysadmins, what would it be?
Definitely get involved in the IT community. Join user groups, go to the TechEd event in your region (or, what the heck, why not another region) and try to learn as much from people in the hallways or the dining room as you do in the formal sessions (I think a week at TechEd is better value than any training course). Communicate with peers any way you can. If you're not in a position to meet people physically, chat online with them; comment on blogs, participate in online forums. It may not pay off immediately, but it will pay off.
What’s the most fun you’ve ever had scripting?
Ever since I started to really get PowerShell, it's been almost non-stop fun. Finding out how very much you can achieve with how very little code is like a game on top of the puzzle of actually solving the original problem.
Who am I calling out?