This is How My Career Changes

In 1984, I was an undergraduate. While working on academic studies and grades, I took advantage of an opportunity to learn how to be a VM System Programmer. Mom had been one, so when I had a chance to try my hand at it on a research project at school, I jumped at it. I was safe and accomplished as a student, but I reached out for a new skill set.

Eleven years later, when my current computer center seemed to be losing its commitment to VM, I didn’t pursue chances to learn UNIX so I’d still be useful to them. The UNIX weenies had been so dismissive of VM, I didn’t want to learn with them. Instead, I found a job and then another that capitalized on my VM skills. I had also started using IBM’s ADSM backup product, but at that time, ADSM (and later TSM) wasn’t yet a career path of its own yet. But eventually I thought I’d seen some writing on the wall, and in 1999, I took a job doing TSM implementations for a firm building “Internet data centers” built around UNIX, with nary a VM image in sight. After the Dot Com implosion, I reverted back to a VM system programming job again, but even in that data center, as they started to deemphasize VM, I joined their TSM team and returned to administering TSM on AIX, IBM’s UNIX implementation.

So, for most of the past decade, I’ve done a lot of TSM on UNIX servers, and I’ve gotten a lot of experience with UNIX along the way, both AIX and Linux. The last four months have been in that vein, but with less TSM and more UNIX, along with responsibilities for storage arrays that in my prior job I wouldn’t have touched with a ten-foot pole. As with fifteen or twenty years ago, it was as much about whom I’d have been working with as it was about the actual change, but in the past four months, a customer needed my TSM skills and wanted me to pick up those storage and UNIX skills.

A month from now, I start a job at a data center that has neither VM nor TSM. I relied on my VM skills and learned TSM. I used my TSM skills and picked up UNIX along the way, learning by doing. Now I’m going to put myself in a position where my UNIX skills, and my willingness and ability to learn more about UNIX, is what important, and it’s quite possible that the upcoming week will be my last using my TSM skills.

Here comes the third phase of my career.


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