No College

IBM i

Mar 19

Dad, Why didn’t you go to College? Here in America, everyone goes! I mean EVERYONE! Was it that different in England?

My Eldest Son

And since I cant think of anything sensible to blog about… I might as well answer your question, Nate. And also talk about our families wanderlust. So this blog is for you….

I was a military kid – we moved every two years. This has definitely given me a wanderlust in adult life. I finished my schooling in Scotland and during the following summer break moved back to Southern England. By this time, age 16, I had lived in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Germany and Cyprus (in the med).

To be honest, I can’t even remember my school grades clearly – I got all ‘A’ with the exception of woodwork… or was it metalwork? I finished school in Edinburgh, and moved down to southern England weeks after summer break started. I had already started a 2 year “introduction to computers” college course while in Scotland as part time course. In England College and University are two different things, we have school up to 16, you get a job or stay on for an extra 1-2 years college course studying your area of interest. If that works out you then head off to University to get whatever degree you fancy or get a job.

After moving back to England, I started at Farnboro 6th Form School (now called Farnborough 6xth form college). In those days you could go to a “technical college” or a “six form” after your first 5 years of high school which you left in Form5 (year 5 – get it?)

It was just like going to school, but with older kids, cars and girls! (After spending the last 5 years in boys-only military schools you can imagine what a shock that was for me). So, 6xth form was one or two years of high-school for students who don’t know what to do 😉 and I spent a year there finishing my Computing course (from Scotland) and also did Engineering and Electronics courses.

I was choosing a fulltime University to go to… but got offered a job instead. At H.A.L. Computing – worked at HAL (now long gone) who sponsored me going to technical college (Farnboro Tech) It was a kind of intern’ish relationship. The original college – Farnborough 6th Form was a government run thing then, but looking online it’s now a subsidized college and it’s renamed and rebranded since my day. I finished my computing course there. I then switched to working fulltime and doing the second course at Farnboro Technical College which was focused on Electronics. This was the BTEC Course I mentioned – I don’t know what that compares to in the USA.

A year later, the company HAL want bust and I luckily fell into another job as a trainee RPG programmer… doing what I do now. I did a year long “college style” programming certification with IBM but I don’t have the paperwork for that either. The rest is history.

I worked in the USA for most of the nineties, France for a year in 2001 then back to England for ten years and then back to USA until now… since moving here I’ve lived in Virginia (too redneck), Las Vegas (too crazy), Orange County CA (too crowded) and now Charleston SC (just right!). I do like to get around… until I win the lottery and buy my own Caribbean island.

My parents aren’t around anymore and I suppose my old school paperwork was kept by my dear old grandparents (who both died in mid-90’s) – while I was in the USA. I did get some of my old photos and stuff sent over. But that’s it.

Over the years, I’ve married twice, spawned 4 delightful kids, owned 4 dogs and worked in a dozen different countries. Moved house every few years and ruthlessly thinned the detritus I carry around to just a couple of boxes of memorabilia and old photos (and of course my white velco pants in case they come back in fashion).

I have no paperwork but lots of memories of working with London’s yuppies and rich kids in the 80’s as a young cocky programmer, drunken weekends trying to look cool for the girls while playing Wham, Duran Duran and Yazoo too loud in my Vauxhall Astra GTE (kind of like a VW Golf Rabbit Cabrio).

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About the Author

IBM i Software Developer, Digital Dad, AS400 Anarchist, RPG Modernizer, Alpha Nerd and Passionate Eater of Cheese and Biscuits. Nick Litten Dot Com is a mixture of blog posts that can be sometimes serious, frequently playful and probably down-right pointless all in the space of a day. Enjoy your stay, feel free to comment and in the words of the most interesting man in the world: Stay thirsty my friend.

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