How Did You Get Into Tech – Daniel B. Hall
I recently spoke with Daniel B. Hall, a Software Engineer at DocuTrack, Inc. who told me his story. At age 46 he’s come a long way from a very challenging childhood. As a father, husband, accomplished software engineer, and even movie producer, he is a man of many talents and passions.
This is a summary of our conversation detailing his unique story for our How Did You Get Into Tech blog series.
Where did your interest in technology start?
From age two to five, him and his brothers lived in foster care and endured rough conditions of neglect and abuse. According to Daniel, his foster father was a unique catalyst for his career.
As you will see in Daniel’s story, the toughest life challenges contain the power to guide a person’s life in a positive direction.
From an early age, he didn’t like to be around people. He redirected his attention to computers. Daniel’s interest in technology started at age ten on a commodore Vic 20. He enjoyed tinkering with and tearing stuff apart. He absolutely loved to code, which developed into a passion.
During the 1980’s, the TSLR (Technology Supported and Learning Retention) program in high school nurtured his passion further.
What was your first job?
His first real job was at a Vermont nuclear power plant. He worked with a Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) and SQL Server, which where both very innnovative and interesting technology at the time. The job worked on a thirteen week cycle where you couldn’t miss anything and do to the required dilligence for the position, he learned a ton of great skills.
What is your current position?
Dan describes his best occupation currently as being a father. His life revolves around a family of five adopted very special children and one biological child.
Technology has a special place in his life, but family is everything. The early trials shaped his outlook on family. He and his wife adopted children, gave them homes, and continue to give back by training foster parents.
Daniel is currently a Software Engineer at DocuTrack, Inc., where they create EMR and billing software for medical records. He also spends time producing movies and working on creating special effects with software.
Did you have any mentors growing up?
He didn’t have mentors growing up, but his parents drove him forward through belief that he should do what makes him happy.
Books that influenced his development in technology and other parts of life are “7 Habits of Highly Effective people: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey and Dan Appleman’s “Visual Basic Programmer’s Guide to the Win32 API.”
What resources did you use for your tech education (University, community college, meetups, training, online tutorials, MOOC courses)?
Back in the 1980’s it was hard to come by good resources. There wasn’t a lot of room for mediocity either in the tech world. He mainly invested self-learning by reading tech books growing up.
What resources do you find to be the best when continuing your education?
It is tough to pick who or what is right for educational resources. Unless you have a big pocket or a company to pay for training or learning resources, you should look online to the countless eBooks, tutorials, or online courses. According to Dan, he is fortunate enough to have a company willing to provide for continuing education.
If you were to give an individual advice about starting a career in tech, what would you say to them?
Find one thing that drives you, keeps you up at night, and then pursue it. This one thing that won’t bore you. You have be to passionate about it.
For Daniel the most intriguing thing about technology is programming. Even from age 10 it was all about the code.
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