At the age of fourteen, Stephan migrated to the United States and was fortunate to reside within 5 miles of his aunt who is married to an IT Consultant. While visiting his aunt and uncle for the Christmas holidays, he was able to use an IBM computer for the very first time. He had seen many computers in his homeland but he was not allowed to touch or use them as they were in businesses and local banks. It wasn’t until he saw his uncle’s home office setup that he became interested in computers and this was only after learning that they could not only do work but also play games.
During the visit, his uncle took him to the side and encourage him to “be smart enough to make games and not just play them” and so on the weekends while my cousins, friends and classmates were following other interest, he was learning from his uncle how to use DOS commands and program in BASIC. His early training on BASIC would come in handy when he was in Junior High and his teacher asked his class to make a program using their Apple computer.
Stephan had to learn using an Apple Computer as with the other students but while other students were reading the text book on BASIC commands and writing the instructions set on paper to input into BASIC compiler, he was doing it all in his head. Stephan received high marks from his teacher for his coding on the Apple computer and was one of four students to later demonstrate what they created in front of the Board of Education. As he was using the Apple Computer more frequently over his uncle’s IBM, he asked his parents for his very own.
His proud father seeing him doing well bought him his very own 80286 computer for my 16th birthday (due to the sales rep saying PCs are better) and it was loaded with GW-Basic and with a few software updates, running Q-Basic. Sadly, the computer would be his best and last gift from my father as his father would soon pass away. The 80286 computer from Packard Bell that his father had bought him came with a 12-month warranty and 4 months before the warranty ran out, the computer started to have problems and a month after it expired, it completely finally died.
He tried to find jobs after school to help fix it since it was the last thing from his father but all the parts were integrated so he would have to buy a new computer. Since my mother was now responsible for making the installments on the 40 lb paperweight, whatever he earned was used to pay it off.
With the final payment done on the paperweight, he set out buy an Apple Computer and then saw it would take too long to save up or pay off so his next step was to build his own IBM compatible PC with parts that he could trust. He discovered that obtaining parts separately would be triple the price of one from the store so he would visit the local Salvation Army and Thrift Stores buying whatever “junk” was donated and piecing them together. This now gave me an understanding of putting together the hardware, the OS install and use plus desktop software so over time, he could build a Hackintosh and HackBook.
His growing knowledge helped him in landing positions at multilocation companies such as AT&T, Essex County College, Engineering Security Systems, Esquire Deposition, Hobart West, United Parcel Service and more.
It has been said that chance favors the prepared mind and for over 25 years, Stephan is well prepared to take on IT challenges that comes his way.