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Bill Gates: The Poster Boy Of The Banking Industry

October 8, 2018

Twice last week friends asked me about hew to get into the IT industry. They are young and just starting on their careers. In fact, they aren’t even sure they want to go into IT, but it sounds interesting to them.

And honestly, it’s a good industry. It’s just not as good as it used to be.

I had the amazing good fortune to get into the computer industry at the perfect time. I started at WordPerfect Corporation in 1988. When I started, all that was required was a recommendation and the ability to touch type. I became an email expert simply by being on the phones and answering questions.

In 1992, I went to Microsoft. They hired me because I knew the MHS Gateway. I stayed there for nearly a decade. During that time I became more of an expert on email. I wrote a couple of books. And I made a lot of money. I discovered something called “stock options.”

Microsoft’s stock was going up 20%-30% per year. We were all getting rich. Some people spent their money on fancy cars and expensive vacations. I spent mine adopting kids. Well, I built a big house too. But, mostly adopting kids.

And then it ended. Well, the jobs were still there, of course. But, in the year 2000 the stock market crashed. We, at least many of us, lost our fortunes. We went from being paper-millionairs to just regular IT workers.

The industry started to change as well. Microsoft stock stayed mostly flat. Gone were the huge stock portfolios. Gone were many of the cars, and houses.

Bill Gates, started Microsoft, of course. He was higher up on the wealth wave than any of us could imagine being. He eventually got marriaed and started a faily. He stepped away from the day to day operations of Microsoft. He started his foundation and worked on giving away his wealth.

He grew up. And the industry grew up with him.

When I started 30 years ago, the industry was like the Wild West. We did crazy things because we didn’t know any better. We tried outlandish things and if they failed, we tried something new, and we kept trying until we figured it out. Titles were created to fit the task. There were no certificiations so we created them ourselves.

Today, the industry is defined by certifications. A+, JCW, AWS, Azure, PMP, Microsoft, Cisco. The industry has titles that are well understood and defined. Program Manager, Technical Account Manager, Network engineer, Telecom engineer.

Salaries are published on places on Someone starting in the industry knows what to expect. If you stay in the industry five years, ten years, or twenty years, you have a pretty good idea what your salary would be.

The IT industry became the banking industry, with regular hours and job titles, tasks lists and clearly defined areas of responsibility.

There’s nothing wrong with the banking industry, of course. They are nice safe jobs. Solid careers. Just like the IT industry is now. All that’s left of the glory days are stories.

However, having spent my money on adoptions, I’m reminded on a daily basis of what my fortunes in the early days of the IT industry got me.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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