One of my earliest memories is reaching inside a 2" x 3" hole to grab a piece of flex (Most likely Greenfield) for my Dad to "drop" an outlet into a wall.
Mom & Dad owned & rehabbed a 2-flat in the Uptown district of Chicago in the late 60's-early 70's. Dad did 95% of his own work. Before anybody jumps on the DIY wagon with torch in hand, Chicago required (and still does AFAIK) alll work to be inspected and performed to applicable codes. Homeowners were granted a little more largesse
, but still had to "toe the line". I helped Dad with verous projects around our houses most of my life.
In High School (1980's) I joined Stage Crew, and since I had some electrical knowledge I sort of gravitated towards the lighting division. Ahh, the days of 1000w swivel spots and humming Variacs...
I college (late 80's) I "handymanned" for the school, and constructed an abomination of a dimmer box that was used for various stage productions. It was plywood and had six 1000w rotary dimmers and a handful of receptacles in the back... the dimmers were split so each set of three were supplied by their own cord.
Got hired by the Navy as a firefighter and we rehabbed the "day room" in the station. Got to help opn that job, ripping out knob & tube (built in the 40's) and replacing it with conduit.
Then I got hired by the City, and eventually I wound up purchasing a house (1995), and discovered that the wiring (mercifully encased in circa 1930's rigid conduit) was all the old rubber insulated linen covered type. Chased down all the boxes, split the circuits, tied new THHN/THWN to the old and went to the other end and yanked. (I finally found sconce boxes hidden beneath plaster two years ago and finally purged the house of the last of the antique wire)
My Fire Chief heard that I "knew electrical" and hired me to wire his garage.
I think back now and wince - while it wasn't unsafe, it was far from the degree of competence I have now.
I ran a "handyman" business the would "assist homeowners in performing their own electrical work"
thus barely skirting the license / permit requirements. Luckily, before I started, I read up on what Codes were in force in the City, and complied with them.
As I told a customer who was complaining about it once "I might get busted for doing electrical work without a license, but I won't get cited for doing unsafe or not-to-Code work".
The AHJ knew what I was doing, and also knew I was working towards getting licensed; he told me once that my work was better than some "old salts" who'd held tickets for 30 years, since they were still working off of 1960's era Code.
Eventually worked for several local EC's, and took the Education Direct Electrician's course. The combo of the certificate and work experience allowed me to challenge the EC license exam.