I have enjoyed two very different phases to my career path over the past four decades in having first been a computer professional for over twenty years followed by another twenty years as a ‘professional’ graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Each phase has had its own charms and rewards.
Besides the usual academic demands and challenges connected with the pursuit of a Ph.D. degree, my graduate student career made it possible for me to work as the Illustrations Editor for the History of Cartography Project where I must have ordered at least 3,500 map images needed for the History of Cartography series of books. The research skills developed in locating those many images from archives and libraries worldwide complemented my own dissertation research work resulting in at least a 1,000 miles of rabbit holes explored over the years.
My computer career is best told through the below collage of old business cards. They shows me when I was doing system support at Cal Poly SLO on an IBM 360 mainframe and several DEC PDP-11 timesharing systems, academic and system support at ASU on their IBM 370 system, benchmarking IBM-compatible mainframe workloads at National Advanced Systems, operating system support on a Cray X/MP-48 supercomputer (SN 209) at NASA/Ames Research Center, IBM-compatible mainframe bringup for Amdahl Corporation, software QA for Tandem Computers, and, at the end, software configuration management for a Sparc-based RAID storage subsystem back at Amdahl. Enjoy.