Career Story: Computer Help Desk Manager On A College Campus

Computer Help Desk Manager On A College Campus

Job Title: Computer Help Desk Manager

Type of Company: I work in the technology services division of a university in Boston.

Education: BA, English Literature, Franciscan University of Steubenville (Steubenville, OH)

Previous Experience: I started as an administrative assistant for an elementary school fundraising department and learned how to fix computer hardware and software problems by working with the computer technicians that we hired to fix our systems. From there I became a database administrator for another fundraising group and got to know the manager of the computing group. I started doing database work for them, moved into managing student employees and then computer technicians.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for the customer service provided to the faculty, staff, and students of a college. Six computer technicians report to me. Our group helps the users choose and order equipment. We will then configure computers and mobile devices, like the iPhone and the Blackberry, for the individual user depending on the tasks he'll be performing. We usually need to transfer information from people's old computers to their new ones as well.

People will call us with questions throughout the day. They may ask us to fix a computer, how to set up a web site, or where to get thirty laptop computers for a group of visitors to use while on campus.

In addition to these run-of-the-mill tasks, we handle various projects many of which are linked to the cycle of the school year. For example, we offer orientation sessions for new students to gain access to our computer network, connect to the printers in our labs, and configure their email accounts. We are currently in the process of moving everyone over to a new email system. This involves meeting with them beforehand to let them know what to expect, training them on the new mail system, copying their data from the old system to the new system, and configuring their computers and mobile devices to connect to the new system. The goal is not only to provide the service, but to make the process as easy as possible for the end-user.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is learning how to use different computers, phones and applications. Supporting so many people, we get to see a real variety of products. The worst part is the work load. There are always more people calling for help while you are trying to get a project completed.

Job Tips:
1. Gain as much customer service experience as possible. It's critical to be able to listen to the entire issue before deciding what the problem is.

2. Play with computers. Go to libraries and schools to use as many different operating systems (ex. Windows, Macintosh, Linux) and applications as you can find. Many applications have online tutorials. Use a search engine like Google to ask questions.

3. Ask questions whenever you can. Look for opportunities to ask people what they are doing on computers and how they are doing it. What operating system are they using? What application? How do they like it? Did it take a long time to learn? Is it similar to anything else they've used?

Additional Thoughts: One strategy I wish I had taken early on, was to notice who I most wanted to be like professionally and have a candid conversation with them of how they got where they are. My current manager has a philosophy of being very deliberate in everything he does. This applies to his career choices, relationships and his speech. I am trying to develop this approach as well.

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