Are mid-life crises still fashionable? I don’t know, but at least it was around more or less the middle of my life, statistically speaking, that I decided that being an ultimately rather useless academic wasn’t what I wanted to do with the rest of it (my life, that is). Particularly since it became increasingly obvious that I and the majority of my peers–above all those peers that already held professorships and thus decided about professorial appointments–were sadly not quite in agreement about what made a good professor. Of course I still think they were wrong, but being right didn’t get me a job.
So, after having tried for probably too many years, I finally yielded and with the consent of my family (which, the kids not being of voting age yet, came down to my extremely supportive wife) decided to go back to university and learn a real job for a change. With my wife working in the software industry and with me having been around computers more or less continuously since the early Seventies (I don’t really know what other kids had for scrap paper back then but we had punch cards to scribble on, my father being a systems analyst at IBM Germany), and with the job chances in IT being what they are, the choice was easy. Since September 2015 I am enrolled as an Applied CS student at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, or Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften, at the Berliner Tor just outside downtown Hamburg, and am learning (after having known them for 40 years) what computers really are, and what to do with them, not to mention quite some Math into the bargain.
I can’t quite say either what gave me the idea to start writing about my experiences, but maybe I think they may just be sufficiently interesting to keep some log. After all, it’s not every day that somebody my age goes back to school, not to further his education in a very general sense, but to actually learn a job. Or maybe these pages might be of some use for somebody considering to study CS at UAS Hamburg. Or I am just writing for the virtual garbage can. You never know. In any case writing is fun, particularly if you don’t have to. After 20 years of having to, this is quite a change as well.