John Cunningham

AcquiaU Session: 
2014 Winter Session

Working my way from hobbyist to professional

At the age of 17 I joined the United States Marine Corp straight out of high school. I served five years as an avionics technician working on AV-8B Harriers, cleaning lots of toilets, waxing a lot of floors, getting my haircut every other day, and also developing my inner tech nerd. This is when I first started developing my love for computers but after leaving the Marine Corp in 2004 I found myself moving in a different direction.

I spent the next several years working towards a degree in Biology. Quite a change from Marine life, I now found myself studying sea grass in mosquito lagoon, relocating sea turtle eggs, and gunning a four wheeler down the Volusia County beaches on a early morning turtle patrol. This was all a lot of fun and a great experience but after I graduated I didn’t really feel like it was where I was supposed to end up.

I fell back on my old technician days and started work as a computer tech. During this time is when I first started teaching myself things like HTML and CSS. The more time I spent learning these skills the more I discovered how much I enjoyed it. I eventually stumbled across Drupal one day while looking for new web development skills to learn. It immediately jumped out to me and I stuck with it. I realized that this is what I really wanted to do with my life though I really didn’t know how to go about making that happen or if it was even possible with no formal education in this field. When I saw AcquiaU it felt like someone has answered all the questions I ever had about making this a reality. It only took me a matter of seconds to make the decision to apply. I was nervous about actually getting accepted with no real qualifications to put on my resume other than I studied a lot but I made it through and feel like this is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.