My technical background
I learned electronics hands-on at a very young age. I literally started when I about four years old. While other kids were reading comics, I read things like the ARRL Handbook and the RCA Receiving Tube Manual. I built a lot of gear as a hobbyist - mostly audio and later digital. Never did get the hang of RF, but learned a lot about layout in the process. I spent a couple summers in high school as a bench technician, repairing TVs, stereos, tape recorders, etc. Mostly tube gear at that time, although transistors were starting to make inroads.
I thought I wanted to be a computer designer, but Intel released the 4004 right after my first year of college. I saw the handwriting on the wall: there weren't going to be any more Seymour Crays in that field. So I focussed on Computer Science and took a bunch of EE courses. Through a special program I was able to replace most of my liberal arts courses with courses that I really wanted to take, so I was able to get about five years' worth of CS courses and two years of EE courses in the span of four years.
I spent about a year between my first and second half of college doing tech work for a video game manufacturer. I worked as an EE during my last two years of college and for four years afterwards, doing instrumentation, process control and automation using both digital and analog techniques.
After that I decided to actually do something (besides firmware) with my CS degree and got into the early days of video games (Parker Bros. and Activision). The home videogame industry tanked around `83 or `84 and I moved on to doing more traditional software development work. I eventually became interested in AI, and have developed a lot of practical applications in that field. I wrote a book on Lisp, self-published it on the web, and released it in hardcopy this year.
Now I'm working as a software engineer for a growing self-funded company and looking forward to getting into amp building as a retirement career.