Not sure what happened.
I've been writing programs since I was 5 on the old speccy in basic, and for some reason was never allowed near a computer in first or middle school. My dad always claims my first words were 'Load "" '.
I had to choose my GCSE subjects in '96. There was no option at all for an IT GCSE otherwise I would have dropped Drama or other such nonsense to do it. I seem to remember they were brought back in '99. The bastards.
This was a massive blow to me as I had successfully garnered control over most of the Acorn A3000 network (MPE rabbit for those who want admin access to a long dead system), I had managed to bypass most of their "new" Windows '95 networks security and I was generally a big PITA to Sys admins. (Once had a race with the sys admin at high school, how much of _his_ porn could I print to the network printer before he locked me out the system? No, really. Most fun 15 mins of my school career, sold the pictures too!). I wanted to learn, but there was no IT course at school for me.
After leaving school with practically nothing, the only option I had was to do a GNVQ in IT. This was bullshit to be honest. I thought it was going to be about programming, hardware and cool stuff. What we ended up doing was lotus 1-2-3 and changing the config.sys files. Oh and learning how to plug in a mouse. Big wow.
It was only when I did an A level in computing that I really managed to get anywhere. It was all very interesting, but nothing, in my mind, of any value. I taught myself more in those 2 years than the lecturer did. I did find out, through some lax FTP server security, he was having an affair with a member of staff at another college though, and found the College IT budget info. Which was nice. Why you would put email backups on an FTP server I have no idea. I also managed to troll the teachers message board on the LAN website, long before the phrase Troll ever existed. I knew I'd get in trouble, so I left a proxy written in VB6 on a library machine, waited for some poor sap to login, then logged into the machine opposite them to hop past the web login through their machine. By the time the admins turned up I was long gone.
This leads me to suspect that IT courses in this country leave a lot to be desired, but we have to have the enthusiastic knowledgeable teaching staff to go with it. Sort the infrastructure out first, then we can do the work. Engage the kids, show them what computers can do.
What I'm trying to say with all these stories is that I had a natural feeling and gift for IT, and there was nowhere for it to go. There was also no helping hand to guide me. No one was interested that I could do this stuff. (Well the admins were but that's different).
Before anyone downvotes me, yes I was a complete arsehole of a child. I'll hold my hands up to that. But there was no way for me to better channel my interest in the subject. Not an excuse, but if it was actually channelled positively, where would I be now?
I'm probably not the only one with stories like this either.
As Anon (as I can be) for blatantly obvious reasons.