My Education: AAS, Architectural Technology, Forsyth Community College
My Prior Experience: I started out as a CAD operator for a large company then moved into the data center as an operator. I went on to become a senior operator with supervisory responsibilities and ran the Help Desk for my location.
My Company: Telecommunications
Job/Career Overview: I was the single point of contact for all computer-related problems for my location in a very large telecommunications company. I resolved over 90% of the problems reported to me without any further assistance from the programming or systems administration staff. On a typical day I answered 40-80 phone calls and emails from any one of approximately 1500 people world-wide. I had to restart printers, reset passwords, change permissions on files for permitted access, in addition to supervising the data center operations and the staff of computer operators on three shifts. I used a regular desk telephone for my job and wore an alpha-numeric pager. If someone called my extension and the call went to voice mail, if I didn't get this message within 15 minutes, my pager would alert me once every 10 minutes until I retrieved the voice mail message from the system.
More Insights: I really dislike it when people refer to the job of help desk in derogatory terms, as I took great pride in my ability in that job and the difficulties in dealing with people, just being polite, considerate, understanding of their problems. I was surprised at the amount of psychology I had to use in addition to knowing technical aspects of information technology.
I rate this career 9 out of 10.
Best part of the job was the satisfaction I got from knowing I was doing a good job and got immediate feedback from my customers. The worst part was I could be literally and physically on-call for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You need to be knowledgeable in data center operations. It's a great help to have had experience in being a data center operator, and working with programmers and their programs, along with systems administrators. With time and trust, they will show you how to do the more routine and mundane tasks and allow you to take over, freeing them up to spend more time designing and dealing with the more pressing issues of their job. You have also be patient with other people, when dealing with your customers over the phone. They will not be patient always with you, as they have deadlines to meet.