My first introduction to computers was in my job at UCCF. During my first few weeks I learned how to use Wordstar (on a CPM system) and the UCCF database, which holds details of all their supporters.
During my time at UCCF I became the word processing guru. When I joined, in 1987, I provided most of the word processing in the building, since all the secretaries were still using typewriters. After a few years a new network was installed, and the secretaries were provided with their own desktop computers. The first couple of groups of secretaries were sent offsite for training, but came back feeling that they had not learnt enough for their jobs. Since I was also a secretary, and knew what the secretaries needed to learn, I offered to be the trainer. I was commended for all the courses I ran. These were: An Introduction to Windows, Using Word for Windows and Using Excel.
It was also at UCCF where I extensively used bulletin boards for getting answers to queries from members of staff about Word or Excel that I couldn't answer.
Whilst at UCCF I decided to try and get a qualification in computing. I studied with Computeach International on a BTEC course in programming. Unfortunately, I did not finish the course because my husband and I could not afford the fees. However, I did receive a City & Guilds certificate in Computer Literacy. This examination involved my having to write a short program in Pascal from a specification, completing the programming, testing and documentation within one day.
The main course at Computeach involved learning COBOL. The final project was to write four programs, which together made a large program. This overall program was an example of batch file updating. An input file was to be read, tested for errors before updating a main file, finally producing a new output file, together with all the appropriate reports. I had completed three of these programs before I had to stop the course.
During the final year of my Music degree at Sheffield I decided that I would like to learn more about computing. I found that I could take a conversion Masters degree in Information Technology at De Montfort University. This is the course I have just completed and have passed with distinction.
MSc Information Technology page
MSc IT project page