Career Story: Information Technology Specialist At A High School.

Information Technology Specialist At A High School.

Job Title: Information Technology Specialist

Type of Company: I work at a high school for a suburban school district in Massachusetts.

Education: BA, Computer Information Systems, Northern Michigan University

Previous Experience: I worked as a database manager for a conferencing company for 5 years. I then moved to a small insurance agency where I managed all of the computer and networking responsibilities.

Job Tasks: The primary function of my job is to provide computer support for teachers and staff in the school. This is done in two ways, through day-to-day activities and longer term projects.

The project includes purchasing and setting up desktop and laptop computers for teachers and student computer labs. It also includes the design, purchase and setup of network servers and wireless systems to connect the various computers in the building to the internet, databases, printing and files storage areas. It also includes managing all of the accounts for teachers, staff and students to use the computers. Evaluating new software is another important part of the job. You must work with the people who use the software to determine what will be the best alternative for them.

Most of the day-to-day tasks involve helping people figure out small issues: things like laptops not being able to connect to the wireless network, or people not being able to get to their e-mail or print stuff. There are also larger issues that happen, like network problems where the internet doesn't work or a computer lab can't connect to the network. The help can sometimes be done by giving someone instruction on how to fix a problem when it happens, by educating the people on how to use the computer better.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I would have to say that the best part of my job is being able to help people solve their issues. I often get praised by people for fixing a problem that I do not feel is too difficult, but for the user of the machine it was a major roadblock to getting their work done.

The worst part of the job is having good ideas but not being able to implement them because of budget issues or having to go through a long drawn-out process that forces you to miss an opportunity.

Job Tips: It is always important to listen to people when they come to you with an issue, even when you know what the answer is.

Many people are afraid to try new things on a computer because they are 'scared they will break it'. Try to get them to learn one small new thing each day. It will really help their technical confidence.

If you do your best, even if everything may not get fixed right away, people will appreciate and understand what you are doing to help them.

Additional Thoughts: Many people wouldn't realize this, but it is important for a computer support professional to have good interpersonal communication skills. It is helpful to be able to learn people's habits to understand how common computer issues happen. On numerous occasions I discovered an issue from talking to people in the morning and having several of them talk about a similar issue. I was then able to solve that issue before it affected everyone.

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