Community Member Spotlight: Tom Cieslik

Posted by · March 7, 2017 11:15 am

Tom Cieslik (Tom-Cieslik) immigrated to the United States for the same reason that many do. It’s a beautiful place that offers a great number of opportunities for those who are willing to work hard in order to succeed. In 1970s Poland, where Tom grew up, many of these liberties and opportunities were not available. He made the most of it, however, and found his passion for technology as a boy amidst political crisis, repression, and economic hardships.

Tom’s family bought their first television set when he was 5 years old. It broke frequently, and while the technician repaired the primitive circuits, Tom could be found within arm’s reach asking an endless stream of questions. Tom was asked repeatedly to leave the technician alone, but it was too late. His interest was piqued. At the age of 8, he built his very first alarm system and rigged it to beep when his mother poked around his bedroom. He went on to study electrical engineering in high school and finished his bachelor’s degree program in 1991, the year that his home country gained their independence from the Soviet Union.

A New Start

This independence brought with it a globalization Poland hadn’t seen in some time, and it became clear there was tremendous progress being made in technology around the world. Tom quickly realized that most of the skills learned inside of the Soviet bubble were now obsolete, and he took a job installing security systems for local businesses rather than going back to school. One of the projects he worked on was so large that it required a computer to manage the system, providing Tom once again with the opportunity to learn. After mastering DOS and Windows 3.1, he decided it was time to pursue a career in tech.

“Solving technology problems is something that you can measure– it’s satisfying. It was broken, now it’s fixed,” Tom said, highlighting why computer science appeals to him.

In 1999 Tom went back to school to get his master’s degree in computer science from University of Zielona Gora. He and his wife, who lived in the U.S. for several years on an emergency visa as a teenager, decided to make the move back to the place she called home during such an important time in her life. Tom found a job through a friend he met in an online music forum (Tom was a pretty popular DJ at the discos in Poland), and the couple moved to New Jersey. Tom was quickly certified in Microsoft, gained permanent resident status in 2011, and found a new IT job in Pennsylvania where he still works today.

Enter Experts Exchange

Tom found his way to Experts Exchange in 2016 while searching for a solution to the server problem he was having, and found success with the answers he found. He kept coming back for other problems, and began answering questions where he could. The lack of competition between experts is something that really appeals to Tom. When he was learning technology, there wasn’t a community online with so many knowledgeable people so willing to help. “It’s something beautiful to me. I’m happy to have found out about the site,” he said.

When he’s away from the keyboard, Tom loves riding his motorcycle. Last year alone, he rode more than 5,000 miles across the U.S. with stops in San Diego, Yellowstone National Park, and the Jack Daniel’s factory in Tennessee. He is a proud member of the Iron Butt Society, having ridden more than 1,000 miles in a single day, and owns a Triumph Rocket III Touring bike.

Tom loves the Experts Exchange community, and hopes to make friends in his topic area during his time on the site. You can find him answering questions about Active Directory and Windows Networking.
To see more from Tom, you can follow him here!