My experience working in IT Support
When I was in my senior year of high school I was a part of the IT program for my school. I had pride in my job. I loved the freedom of going around the school and fixing computer problems teachers and staff had. It was a role that taught me a lot about what it takes to be a great manager of people, data, and resources.
When analyzing my experience, I noticed there were a few main traits and skills that I developed that helped me in my IT role. Problem solving is the first of these. My experience with problem solving in IT, boosted my responsibility and helped prepare me for any future management roles.
Not everyone knows how to solve a problem right away. It takes time. Sometimes problems may take hours or years to solve. Dedication to sticking to finishing someone’s issue is really what problem solving is. Many people may give up halfway through, because they assume,“I don’t know, I’m not an expert!”. The problem solving “experts” usually have dedication to what they do. Problem solving is dedication in disguise. Problem solving isn’t about how fast you fix an issue, but how long your solution lasts.
One time I fixed my English teacher’s desktop monitor that had color display issues. When they booted their computer up the next day, they had the same problem. I discovered that it was caused by faulty RAM installed on their motherboard. Although it took some time and dedication, I was able to solve their issue for good. Once completed, I was able to apply my new knowledge to future solutions. Good problem solving not only solved their issue then, but future issues. Learning to fix problems for good, and using that knowledge again and again was the key to my success.
Problem solving only worked once I knew the details of the problem. The only way I could find the details is if I was a great communicator. Being able to communicate effectively was a huge part of my problem solving method.
I realized through my IT experience, that not everyone knows the same lingo about their computer that I do. I talked to a lot of older men and women who aren’t used to troubleshooting their computer problems. Part of my job was informing my clients about the different parts of the computers and how they can solve simple problems for themselves. For more complex problems, I told them to call me anytime. Using my words to save time and help people solve problems for themselves made my job easier and others’ jobs easier.
I found that communication was the easiest part of the job, but the most difficult to use effectively. It takes a lot of practice to get good at asking the right questions to get to the root of the problem. Overtime, I got better at this.
However, troubleshooting problems wasn’t the only thing I did during my IT experience. I also did a lot of organization and data management.
Organization and Data Management
When school began, I had to document and distribute projectors for teachers classrooms. This was a multiple day task. My school is huge, with over 3,000 students and hundreds of teachers. Documenting who had what projector was a difficult part of my job. It was up to me to get the serial number of each projector and put it into a spreadsheet that was organized alongside the names of each teacher. That task taught me two things:
- The importance of documentation. For any organization to run well, there needs to be someone who is keeping track of all the resources so none go wasted, stolen, or destroyed.
- The importance of keeping good documentation. Occasionally, a projector might be with the wrong teacher, even though the spreadsheet says otherwise. Sometimes human error is involved and it’s up to me to create solutions.
Working on computers for a whole class period was hard, and surprisingly dusty work. However, my experiences gave me a better foothold on what real work is in an organization. I think that my improved abilities to solve problems, manage information, and communicate with people prepares me for my next stage in life. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m learning fast. What’s next?