Side effects, old boy. Side effects.
You never know where one thing leads to. If you've got a second, I'd like to recount something for you .....
Years ago, I was working in the Post Office behind the counters and one day, the quaterly magazine did the rounds and I saw that they were going to phase in computerising the counter jobs. I had never used a computer before so I thought I would enrol in an evening course to learn about them.
I went down to the local college on enrollment night and was asked which course I wanted to do. Well, I had no idea and so was asked to pick one from the long list they had. I picked one and signed up.
It turns out, I picked a programming course!! I couldn't even use a keyboard and had no idea how to get that green flashing thing down the green screen. Needless to say, I dropped out of the course as it meant nothing to me.
A few months later, I was 'promoted' and started doing data entry and account management stuff for the parcels side of the business. Here I was using a computer on a daily basis and I realised that it was easy. So the next year, I reenrolled on that same course (don't ask me why I did that).
The course was an BTEC ONC in computer programming. I took to it like a duck to water. So much so that my teacher, who I was actually going out with, told me I was too good for this course and that I should do an HNC at Slough college. Her parents taught there. So I did!!
I went to Slough for 3 evenings a week for 2 years. As the course was nearing its end, I realised that an HNC wasn't good enough to get a job in programming, so I looked around for an HND course. At the same time, the Post Office were asking for voluntary redundancies so I took that and signned up for the final year of a fulltime BTEC HND at Hatfield Poly.
As that was coming to an end, the poly turned into a uni and they were offering the top 20 students on my course the opportunity to do the final year of the BSc in Computer Science. I got on that, too. And during the summer break, while labouring for my dad on a big build, I got a call from the uni asking if I would like to go to Hamburg for a year to do a placement. You betcha!!
Came back from that and got my degree.
I started out working in any old job and slowly working my way up to working for myself and being a consultant at multinationals. Have made a lot of money, have travelled all over Europe working, have taken huge amounts of time off to do other travelling etc. etc. and have the luxury of knowing that my skills are in heavy demand (provided I keep them up to date and work hard - which I do)
It took 6 years of studying, a lot of travelling, a lot of commitment and a lot of sacrifice to do what I did, but I did it!!
So, as I say, side-effects.