Way back when I was about 14 years old my parents bought me a crystal set. It wasn't much and didn't have the range of modern radios but it sparked an interest in electronics that stayed with me for quite a while.
Some time after leaving school I started to develop this interest further, buying magazines, looking for circuits that I could build and all that sort of stuff. I found a circuit for a one transistor radio which seemed to be the perfect enhancement of my crystal set so I went and bought the parts and put it all together. Unfortunately, I was living in an area that had poor reception at the time and it didn't work. I wasn't sure if I had done something wrong or if it simply couldn't pick up any signal. Later I moved to an area that had better reception and eventual managed to pick up one of the local stations. It worked!
Reading through all my magazines I realised that there was so much about the projects that I just didn't understand. I could put together the projects but I didn't really have any clue as to how they worked. I can't remember if it was at someone else's suggestion or if I decided on my own but I decided to go to college and study. I even managed to get some time off work so I wasn't doing all my study in the evenings, but it still took me 5 years to finish the 4 year course.
I had hoped that this course would enable me to get a job in the industry but all it did, at first, was make it easier for me to make things and gave me some understanding of what I was doing. I think having the certificate did help in getting me a couple of the jobs that I had and I enjoyed putting the projects together anyway.
I'm going to tell you about the other course that I've studied next week.