Thursday, March 28, 2019

30 Years Ago - CBT Systems

On 28th March 1989 I walked though the doors of 39/40 Lower Mount Street in Dublin into my first "proper job" - my how the 30 years since have passed! The company was named "CBT Systems" - when I was interviewed for the job (with BB and TG) I did not know what "CBT" stood for - no Google in those days to look it up! CBT (Computer Based Training) Systems became SmartForce in 1997, which in turn was taken over by Skillsoft in 2002 when I left the company.

I remember that my first day was spent looking at the company's existing e-Learning courses, though it was not called e-Learning then. I remember that the product we (two others started the same days) looked at was called "Protocol 90" - a course on telecommunications that was the first big success for CBT Systems. We spent over a week training in a basement office before we were added to project teams.

One of my first business cards.
When I think back to the technology that we used then it amazes me how we got any work done. The PC I had was an early 1980s IBM 8086 with no hard drive - I was very excited to have a computer to myself to work with! It had two 5.5 inch floppy disk drives, the program we used (TenCORE) was on one disk, our work on the other. The operating system was MS-DOS. No network to back up our work - this was done at the end of the week by copying our work onto separate floppy disks which were taken off site. None of us had mobile phones, laptops, or our own computers at home at that time. 

I remember being very nervous on the first day, but I was put at ease straight away. No way would I have predicted that I would spend over 13 years in CBT Systems/SmartForce which involved moving from floppy disks to the dot com boom. Though it is now nearly 17 years since I left SmartForce I still have fond memories of the people and the work since my first day nervously knocking on the door of 39/40 Mount Street.

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