How Did I Get Started?

After getting my first PC at the age of only 5, I’ve always been tinkering with things. If there was a button, a checkbox, a dropdown, or anything of the like, I probably clicked it. Even if that click resulted in the entirety of Windows to crumble down, around the cursor on my screen. That was the beginning of my software tinkering endeavours. The hardware side of things began about a year later when I managed to get the metal cover from a floppy disk stuck inside the drive. So 6 year old me decided that it would be a brilliant idea to swap the floppy drives between my PC and another we had lying around. Looking back on that now, deciding to do that was both a blessing and a curse; as it resulted in the death of that PC. Thinking about it now, I think I just plugged the floppy cable in upside down, which stopped the machine booting. However, the whole experience was a blessing as, who knows, if I hadn’t decided to attempt the drive swap, I may never have ended up beginning my hardware adventures.

Where Did I Go From There?

Through trial and (a lot of) error, I’ve learnt a lot, and accomplished a lot. I’ve built a decent number of systems and performed many, many hardware upgrades. On the software side of things, I’ve become competent in multiple programming languages, namely: Java, C#, C++, JavaScript, Swift, PHP, CSS, HTML, and even a little bit of 8086 machine code.

Photo of Dan with books behind him

How Did I Learn?

Some of this programming ability was gained whilst completing my Computer Science degree, from which I graduated with a 1st class honours. When in Sixth Form, I did a project researching the use cases of virtualisation in a typical medium to large business. During the course of this project, I completed a week of work experience within my school’s IT department. That week taught me a lot about network management, especially with VMWare vSphere and Windows Server. That project and week of experience sent me on a bit of a spiral. I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in network engineering. That interest lead me to purchasing three enterprise servers, which you can read all about, over here. Two of the three are still running great, with the third slowly being parted out due to its outdated platform.

I believe that the best way to learn something is to do it. Of course, that's as long as what you're trying to learn isn't going to be dangerous to anyone. As I said earlier, I really got inspired, and learnt a lot just by tinkering around. Yes I did break some stuff along the way, but with where it's brought me to now. Those casualties were totally worth it. When I'm teaching you, you're going to be able to tinker with things yourself, but I'll make sure you know how to avoid breaking things, as it really isn't very fun, especially if it's your main device.

What Do I Do Now?

My job title for The Wabi-Sabi Academy, is in fact “IT Wizard”, but what does that mean? Within the company, I deal with anything that even comes close to being IT. I’ve built the websites for the company and the team. See The Wabi-Sabi Academy’s main site, and my websites page for details. Jade and I are in the process of developing an app for iOS; details on that shall be released in the coming months. Roz and I, are working on building up our online courses using the Kajabi platform. At the moment we’re in the planning stages, but look forward to more details on those being released very soon over on our course pages. 

Typical IT Things

If we’re looking at more general, stereotypical IT things, like your IT support, repair etc. The “hello IT, have you tried turning it off and on again?” Seems to do the trick almost always. But in all seriousness, as I said above, I can build and upgrade systems. On a similar vein, I can repair systems’ hardware problems. Along with that, I’ve had experience fixing software problems too. That work experience which i mentioned earlier; it was only a week, but I still learnt a lot about managing a large network, and running its help-desk. I’ve since taught myself more by owning my own servers, and virtualising those large networks. At Ushaw College I’m putting myself forward as the go to IT support, for the other artists.

Projects

If you want to take a look at the things I’ve done, take a look at the “Work With Me” page for projects for the business, or the “Blog” page for any of my personal projects. I’m working on adding more projects to the site, so expect more to be there in the coming weeks.

Ushaw College

Ushaw College is trying to draw more people in, namely younger people. It’s a beautiful place, it’s just unfortunately not well known - even people that live nearby in Durham don’t know it exists. The Wabi-Sabi Academy holds two artists’ studios within Ushaw College, so we’re working with people at the college on projects that are aimed at bringing more visitors in. More details on what we’re working on will be available in the near future.

Want to work with me?

If you want to work with me on any projects, be it a course, PC build, network management, send me a message over on the contact page. Or, alternatively, take a look on the "Work With Me" page to see the main things I offer. If any interest you, head back over to that contact page and send me a message.

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