I just wanted to say that I loved Jim Rapozas Sept. 11 column, "A Black Belt in IT" [Tech Directions].
I have one certification, Microsoft Certified Engineer on Windows NT, with some Internet options I cant even remember.
I started working in IT back in 1993, when I was the youngest manufacturing engineer at a small company that ran 95 percent of its business on an IBM System/34—green screens were everywhere.
The company ran on a highly modified version of MAPICS. I came to work one day and heard that our COBOL programmer had passed away. No one else understood how to program.
With some experience in FORTRAN and assembly on the Motorola 68000 processor, I was given the task of keeping things going, along with my normal engineering tasks. I slowly became the IT department.
So many learning experiences were trial by fire, and this was the forge for a well-rounded IT background.
Anthony J. Kiszka