I started working on computers when computers were known as TV+Typewriter in my part of the world in late 80's. I got my 1st computer certificate in 1988. We used large floppy disks 5 1/4 and had those monochrome and green color monitors. In parellel I was fortunate to work with home computer ZX Spectrum which connects to TV and supports Basic programming language. It's pretty cool how you load programs connecting a walkman to it which loads the programs from an audio casette. It used to take 5minutes to load Basic :)
Experience of creating 1st Virus for testing... Those were the days of boot-virus and partition virus. One of the popular magazine of that time was PC Quest. They gave a screen shot of infected boot sector of a floppy and a clean boot sector picture. So we powered up PCTools and started editing boot sector of a new floppy. Once we finished we had a floppy with a boot virus (called Marijuana).
Then came the time when C (Turbo C) came to my hand when I joined a professional computer course. That was the most enjoyable time of my developer life. There were several interesting things I could do with C language. Two of my favorite areas were Graphics & TSR programming. Also those pre-Windows 3.1 days you had the option of writing directly into Video memory. Which simply means that we can write our own printf kind of functions writing directly to video memory. TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) are programs which loads and stay resident watching a specific interrupt call. You could do all sorts of things from your TSR's useful as well as mischevious. For example create a TSR which watches Interrupt 13h to delete the EXE file which is getting executed :) Then creating animation using characters built inside a 2 dimensional array. Making the character walk, fall it was fun!
I also worked on several freelance projects developing retail applications in Foxpro.
When I joined for my first job, we had a network of 15 PC's. Since the company was new they were more of a dump terminals for a Novell Netware Server (server word used to sound like a monster). So till the servers came we were supposed to setup the PC's and boot it from floppies. The boot floppy was detected with boot virus but we didn't have the anti-virus to clean it. Writing 1st Anti-Virus was cool. In C there were functions available to target disk sectors called biosdisk, biosread, bioswrite. So how does the anti-virus work? Wrote a program to read the clean boot sector from a new floppy and insert the infected floppy and write the new one to it. It was so simple those days and I agree it's not the case with the newer generation of virus.
This part of my life was spent in Abu Dhabi the capital of UAE (United Arab Emirates). I worked in one of the best company there and got to work in different job roles. This includes Developer, Infrastructure/Solution Consulting, Training, Network Administrator and On-Site support. This is the same place where I got to learn Microsoft Backoffice products which included Windows NT, Proxy, SMS, Exchange. I also got to migrate (from Novell + Netscape Email) to complete Microsoft Backoffice stack and manage the network of the entire company which spread accross 5 locations in the country. While working there I got a job offer in US and decided to come back to India.
2001 - 2002
I came back to India (Kerala) and got married and decided not to move to US. Decided to take a job of Consulting/Training where I had enough fun teaching C/C++, 3D Studio Max etc... I just got triggered by my interest towards design world and also did some freelance work in 3D Studio Max mostly for creating walkthru's etc...
2002 - 2003
Since I decided to stay back in India I decided to move to Bangalore the silicon hub of India. My next job as a developer came calling and moved to a company in Bangalore. This company was working as a development department for a company in Dubai (UAE). This is the same time when I started working on .NET more specifically on ASP.NET. Since most of the things I learnt was from internet, I started sharing my knowledge on .NET in several forums and newsgroups and was awarded .NET MVP award.
2003 Till Date
I work at Microsoft Product Support based in Bangalore helping customers to fix thier grieving problems with thier servers. I joined IIS team and became a Technical Lead in 6 months of joining and later when IIS & ASP.NET team merged started supporting ASP.NET as well. I also shifted from writing programs in VB.NET to C#.
Now I'm part of the team called Developer Support Integration working as Escalation Engineer who covers support for mainly North American region during US nights. North American region is also the escalation site for the entire world so we also work on cases escalated from other countries during US nights and sometimes with the help of translators (for non-english speaking) customers. We support a number of technologies namely IIS, ASP.NET, Distributed Services (18+ technologies including DTC, Webservices, WCF etc...), Biztalk and MSMQ.
The experience you get out of this job is very unique and difficult to explain. I will be starting a blog series of customer scenarios soon to explain the thrill of fixing burning issues on production servers. Some of them are easy to resolve and some of them too complex to touch.