Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Advantage of No Money

My new job is excellent. If you watch the IT crowd, it's like that, but at a University. In the last few days, I've:
  • Set up my workstation
  • Replaced 14 computers in a computer lab
  • Installed more memory in all 14 computers
  • Nuked the hard drives from the old 14 computers
  • Set up 3 iMac G5's
I did some more stuff, but that's what I remember so far. The time change has left me with sleep deprivation, and brain fog.

What's really cool is that everything I've been doing, I learned mostly from my experience with Free Geek. At school, I've learned the fine details of how and why things work, but Free Geek has provided a hands on experience that I don't think I could have gotten anywhere else. In school, we had some hands on experience, but a lot of the learning environment is simulation. Some of the simulations (Samacademy, for instance) were not very good. Others, TestOut for instance, were very good, and very helpful. But simulations just don't provide you with enough problems to overcome in the real world. Free Geek provides you with almost every problem you can imagine.

Free Geek has also provided a major unexpected advantage over others in my field: I've had to learn how to do things cheap. I haven't had the advantage of money to spend on equipment. Maybe, I should rename it, Redneck Geek. Then again, I guess that would be redundant. In trying to make things work with no money, I've had to be very creative, very resourceful, and very patient. Luckily, I'm already a patient person, and Free Geek has helped me exercise that character trait.

Taking that to a University IT department can be a major plus. While others are use to having a budget to work with, I haven't had that luxury. Taking that mindset -frugal computing- to a business can be a major advantage, especially in an interview.

"I've collected, repaired, and rebuilt 50 or so computers. I've practice careful data destruction, and on occasion, consumer-level computer forensics. I've installed the system in those computers, delivered and installed them, and provided support for those computers. I've also set up a classroom network using terminal services. I've done that with absolutely no money or budget."

For a IT student trying to get a first job in the field, Free Geek is a major help.

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