I’m part of the Millennial generation. I was born when a Game Boy was a kid’s most valuable treasure; when there was no video-on-demand platforms, so TV audiences were dramatically higher than nowadays, and you spent the next day commenting on how good the show was. Mobile phones were heavy bricks and Snake was our favorite app.
Yes, I’ve been watching screens since forever. I remember a homemade VHS video of me as a 3-year-old kid, standing on my feet in front of our brand new TV, getting really close to it, touching the screen and being told not to do that. But what I remember the most is my kid face. I was fascinated by that apparatus, it showed people telling stories in my living room! Since then, many chapters of my childhood contain consoles, televisions, video players and so on (even a tape recorder!).
“I want to be a TV host”
So, when I was asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I said “a journalist, of course!”. To be honest with the 5-year-old me, the precise words were “I want to be a TV host”. But I never said I wanted to be an engineer, even when adults told me that was the safest choice.
When did that change? I guess it was when a relative gave me his old laptop as a gift. It was around the age of 10, and we didn’t have an Internet connection at home, so I had a very cool writing machine that I could also fill with music from my very few CDs and with photos from my very few trips. But I loved that Apple iBook G3. Then the teenage times came, as well as the Internet at home, and with it online games, online downloads of music, series and films, and online messaging. The revolution had started.
“Had I chosen the wrong career? Not at all!”
Since the appearance of a computer in my life, I progressively shifted my interests towards a career in Computing. Why? On the one hand, I believe that people make some important choices rather blindly (imagine teenagers!), and if you become a techie boy, playing videogames and spending hours downloading stuff, you’re more likely to end up applying for a Computer Science Bachelor when it’s time.
On the other hand, I changed a great deal during College years. I was studying programming, networks, algorithms, hardware; but every time I dedicated less of my spare time to my computer. I didn’t feel as techie and started developing a variety of other interests. Had I chosen the wrong career? Not at all!
“What actually fascinates me is data“
Time has passed and now I know myself better. All my life I’ve been watching different screens, but not only for the fascinating technology that’s behind them. What actually fascinates me is data! It’s the information that builds from smaller pieces, the stories made from raw numbers, the constant flow of knowledge that those devices provided. Every TV channel was a different story being told to me, a laptop was an opportunity to write my own stories, and the Internet was my access to an endless source of information. Maybe I didn’t want to be a TV host or the techiest expert in the room, maybe I just wanted to be where the data was!
I consider myself lucky, as I didn’t know a thing about AI or Data Science when I applied for Computer Science (were the people using the term Data Science back in 2012?). But they happened to be a really fit choice for my interests! Probably more fit to me than a career in Journalism or a specialization in Networking, or maybe not, I’ll never know. But I’m sure of one thing: I was not just a techie guy, I was an information guy too, and I love that.