My Education: BA, Business Management, Bryant University (Smithfield, RI) MS, Information Technology, Southern New Hampshire University (Manchester, NH)
My Prior Experience: I began as an associate support engineer, doing software support for a business application company. Before that I worked as a restaurant manager. Yes... I changed careers. It can be done!
My Company: My employer is a large software company. In fact it is one of the largest software companies in the world.
Job/Career Overview: In my current position I split my time between two things:
providing software support to our customers and working on ways to prevent further problems from arising.
I provide software support to people who use the software my company makes -- and not just to customers but to other support engineers. I have been doing my job for such a long time that I help other people troubleshoot the software when they're dealing with especially complex problems and need help. Teamwork is a key to success in almost every business.
But we are working on ways to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Lots of common software problems are, at bottom, compatibility issues and they could easily be avoided if users adhered to a checklist like the following:
These are simple examples but I think you get the idea. We want to provide a way to prevent problems so our customers will like our software better and encounter fewer problems.
All this requires me to work with many people from around the world. But being able to understand a problem and its impact on the customer is fundamental.
On a typical day, I'll be testing a new version of the software when someone interrupts me to alert me to a big problem that users need help with. I have to drop everything because customers cannot run their businesses if a problem with our software is bad enough.
If you like a challenge, are good at multi-tasking and also enjoy customer service software support is a good place to start an IT career.
More Insights: I changed careers 15 years after I graduated from college. To be honest I never was focused on what I wanted to do for a career. I wish I had started in the computer industry earlier. I did learn how to work with people in my first career in the restaurant business, so I guess that helped me to be a success at what I do now. When I tell people I was a restaurant manager they are surprised because they think I was in computers my whole life.
I rate this career 8 out of 10.
The worst part of the job is having to depend on people to get my job done, especially when those people are busy or not dependable.
The best is my very flexible schedule and the fact that each day is different.
Find an area of software that you really like and become very good at it. Strive to be the best at understanding how it works.
Always treat others the way that you would like to be treated.
Don't be afraid to try new software. If there is one thing that never changes in IT it is the fact that it always changes.