My name is Andrew McConachie and I am the new summer intern at the Internet Society’s Deploy 360 program. I’m in my second year as a master’s student in UC Berkeley’s School of Information where I study Internet Governance, law and public policy. Prior to graduate school I worked at vendors for 15 years, filling many different roles from support engineer to software developer. I went back to school in 2013 to further my understanding of technology’s place in society, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to work with the Deploy360 program at the Internet Society.
I’m really a techie at heart. My first computers were a TRS-80 and an Apple IIe on which I learned to program in BASIC. Later I got an Apple IIe and an IBM 286. When I got my 386 I discovered the wonderful world of BBS’s through my modem. Since then almost everything I have done with computers has revolved around communication of some sort. When I discovered the Internet in the mid 1990’s I quickly realized BBSs were no longer the coolest thing. I received my Bachelor’s in Software Engineering in 1999 from James Madison University, then immediately went to work at Cisco Systems as a test engineer. My first job there was writing code to drive ISDN bulk call generators, which we used to load test a VoIP unified communications system. VoIP test equipment didn’t exist at the time so we generated ISDN calls and then converted them to H.323.
Following an opportunity and a love of bicycling I moved to The Netherlands in 2002. For two years I trotted around Europe setting up unified communication systems for mobile operators. Eventually I settled down in Utrecht, The Netherlands and got a job at Extreme Networks doing data networking support work for their Ethernet switches. I stayed at Extreme for 9 years gradually transitioning from a TAC engineer to a developer of network troubleshooting tools. Among other things I developed the internal and external search engines for their technical archives, and numerous packet generators. My true passion was really breaking things, or what they call in the industry, test engineering.
In 2013 I decided to head back to school, and the United States. Just being a techie stopped being good enough for me. At the Berkeley School of Information I found a place where people really engage, not just with technology, but also with the larger societal consequences of technologies. This past year I have been studying the Internet’s effects on things like our laws, ethics, values and economics. Mainly how the Internet affects our assumptions, and our traditional means of understanding space and time. We live in interesting times, and I feel very lucky to be sitting in the eye of the storm.