A friend of mine asked me this week about how I started out as a developer. Did I go to school for it?
The short answer is no. I taught myself initially because it helped me do my job better. In the early 80's I worked at US Gypsum building plants. Curing drywall takes a lot of energy and some plants were coal fired. Depending on where the coal was mined it had different BTU's, sulfur pollution and cost. We had to calculate how many tons of coals from which sources to meet minimum BTU, maximum sulfur and at the least cost. This was an optimization model with 18 variables. A lot of paper, calculus and a slide rule.
Then came the TRS-80 Radio Shack computer. We could write a program in Basic that would do all the calculations in 2 seconds. Around the same time the NASA project manager for Skylab came to work for us and taught me how to do project management using a computer. I was hooked and went back to school for an MBA with a focus on computer systems.
Since then I've always believed that whatever you wanted to do, you could figure out a way to make it easier with software. I have not been disappointed.