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Women Who Inspire Us
Internet Jennifer Kyrnin

Jennifer Kyrnin

I have been interested in computers since the fourth grade when I learned to program in Pilot and got my first computer (a TRS 80 that I shared with my brother). I then learned to program in BASIC and in junior high, took my first real computer class.

However, as is typical for most girls in high school, I lost interest in computers until I was a college sophomore and found it much easier to write papers on a used IBM 80/88 with a 1200 baud modem and 10 MB hard drive that my uncle sold to me for $500.

I didn't discover the joys of the Internet until 1993, when I was overseas in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan. Desperate for a taste of home, I found this strangely colored magazine that had just started coming out called Wired. It talked of this really interesting concept where information was stored in an accessible medium and linked with other documents and media -- called 'hypertext.' I decided that I wanted to write that way.

When I returned from Uzbekistan, I got a job at Netcom as a technical support representative. My first taste of USENET was when one of my customers transcribed my entire conversation with him onto a newsgroup and then critiqued me. I didn't do well, and quickly switched from there to writing technical support documents. When Netcom went online, one of the first programs they built was a technical support knowledge base called Webtech, and I wrote the first several hundred files for it. The first files were simple text, but I taught myself HTML in order to dress them up. In 1996, three years after I learned about hypertext, I was a Web developer.

I joined (then The Mining Co.) in October 1997, as the HTML Guide. I love working there because it keeps me inspired to continue learning. As well, I still do Web development, first at Netcom and most recently at Symantec.

I love working with the Web because it offers so many different opportunities. I have the chance to do writing, programming, system administration, and even some design and graphic work. It is a very diverse profession.


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