A reflection on how technology and networking has affected my life

Networking impacts everyone’s daily lives whether they realize it or not. For example, when I go to Office Depot to make a purchase, the register that is running point of sales software is talking to a server that tracks inventory that is either in-store or in another geographic location. It’s hard to imagine, but fifteen years ago, if someone came up to me and said, “I Googled that” or, “I saw that on YouTube,” I may have looked at them in bewilderment.

When I was just starting high school, my family did not have a computer or Internet access. During my sophomore year, in 1996, my school received a grant for a computer lab. I was assigned to a group to do a research paper on a baseball player. One of the members of the group made the statement, “Let’s look that up on Yahoo.” I said, “What’s Yahoo?” This was my first experience with a search engine and the Internet. Looking back I wonder how we ever got by without these valuable tools that we take for granted today.

Around 2001, I got my first personal computer, and it wasn’t long afterward that the dialup modem failed. I took the computer to a local PC repair shop and was quoted $120 for the repair. I decided that this was way too much, especially since I knew the modem was a $30 part, and I decided that I was going to learn how to repair it myself. I did not know it at the time, but this simple decision would lead me to pursue a career and a degree in networking.

Over the next several years I took an interest in repairing computers. I started installing small networks, first gaining confidence with my home network, then with building them for friends and family. Eventually, I started using my newfound skills for local small businesses.

In 2006 I was offered a job at a local phlebotomy laboratory, whose network spanned across seven states including several remote offices as an IT technician. I accepted and have gone on to gain valuable experience in the field of IT.

Networking has changed my life in various ways. It affects how I exchange ideas and information through the use of e-mail and instant messaging. It affects how I manage my personal finances though online banking. It even affects how I keep in touch with old friends and past coworkers through social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. One of the things that appeals to me about technology is discovering tools that improve my quality of life and makes everyday tasks simpler.

With that being said, not every change has been for the best. I find that even as technology evolves and we become further connected, it has become easier to multitask, and it is tempting to take on more work. My smart phone, for example, is an invaluable tool for work, but it is also the biggest source of stress in my life.

I am truly amazed by how fast technology has evolved since that day in the computer lab my sophomore year of high school. Looking back, all the tools and services that networking and technology has provided me in the last fourteen years is truly remarkable, and I look forward to learning more.

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