In a world obsessed with technology, there’s virtually nowhere to hide.
Alphonso Rivera was only eight years old when he discovered a love for technology.
“When I was young, I used to watch my father fix televisions,” Rivera, the founder and CEO of Advanced Micro Resource, a company dedicated to computer education and forensics, explained. “He would repair them to earn extra income while also in the military. I became very interested.”
Though born in Texas, Rivera grew up in Bakersfield with his family and from third grade forward was tinkering with electronics.
“I learned how to adjust the color of the TV and replace the tubes depending on the problem,” he explained. “And during one of my uncle’s visits, he noticed my interested in electronics, and so he exposed me to radio.”
Rivera said that his father and uncle ran wire across the roof so that he could hook it up to a car radio he had set up in his bedroom with a battery charger. “I was able to hear radio stations all the way from Asia.”
But Rivera’s fascination with technology ran deeper than most boys; he was in junior high when he passed his first FCC electronics test and received his Amateur Radio License. “I just couldn’t get enough information about the subject,” he said with a laugh. “When we would go to the store, and my mother was shopping, I would go to the magazine stand and read everything on CB radio, ham radio, electronics…that was my library away from school.”
Of course, it makes sense that Rivera’s interest would gravitate toward computers. “By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I was enrolled in a special pilot program at East Bakersfield High where I received computer science credits at Bakersfield College.”
As a senior in high school, he got a job working for Tandy Corp. (one of the first companies to introduce a complete “pre-assembled” microcomputer) and it just so happened that the location he worked at was also their training headquarters. Rivera was able to earn a multitude of computer certifications in Unix and other operating systems. “I was like a kid in a candy store,” he joked.
After graduation, Rivera attended BC and studied electronics—no shocker there—and then attended Taft College to learn about digital instrumentation. But he didn’t stop there.
He went to UCLA to study system management and IT (and to get his teaching credentials) and then to Western Governors University to major in business.
But what to do with all that training? For Rivera, the answer was simple: education, specifically education in computer science.