Before pursuing a career in IT, why not learn from the people who’ve been there before? Kurt, our Senior IT Administrator shared some insights about what it means to work in this field which you might wish to know before kick starting this career.
What does it mean to be a Senior IT Administrator?
I would split our job into three major elements: issues, management of accounts, and projects. A typical day would usually start off by attending to minor morning user issues (like locked accounts, issues with laptops, internet connection problems, etc.) to make sure all users can start their working day without any tech-related problems. If you work in a team, you will then most probably discuss, plan, and prioritise any tasks to be completed on the day, such as dealing with suppliers, researching, and fixing issues.
The reality is that day-to-day tasks are always cropping up – both for users working at the office and for our many remote-working users. You need to make sure you’re flexible in your working style so that you can still manage to get your planned tasks sorted out whilst also ensuring to support all users with their queries (and beyond!).
At Hero Gaming, we give a lot of importance to employee onboarding. We focus on ensuring that new recruits find it easy to get used to working with the company laptop, the accounts we create for them, and all the software tools which they will use daily. The onboarding process, whether in the office or remotely, will need a lot of planning beforehand: buying and stocking of equipment, installing and configuring all software, creation of accounts, and allocating hardware. We also take care of offboarding employees whereby we make sure that all accounts used by the exiting employee are terminated or handed over to a team member while collecting all provided hardware. As already mentioned, being flexible and truly understanding what individuals need is crucial for this role as each employee has his/her own requirements, and we are always ready to cater for any request and try to find solutions for any problems that may arise. After all, ensuring that the user experience is a smooth one is our ultimate goal.
Are there any skills that enable one to succeed in this position?
Our team deals with all employees in the organisation, meaning that you’ll be liaising with a variety of personalities and different levels of technical skills. Therefore, building and maintaining an excellent working relationship with all users is non-negotiable. Having good communication skills and adapting to the communication style of the user is also key for this role. For starters, it is of utmost importance that you describe even the most basic IT task to users in simple terms, whether it’s a process or a task. Giving examples helps. It’s good to try to imagine how you would explain something if you are dealing with a 90-year-old who never experienced using a laptop before. A challenge on top of this is if you need to tend to an issue remotely – communication skills will become even more important in this case to make sure you can truly support that user.
Another important tip: research, research, research! You need to keep up with the latest technology, google any issues your organisation is currently facing, and always keep an open mind to new ways of doing things and alternative technical solutions.
Lastly, don’t just be glad it works! Be curious and make sure you know how and why a process works the way it does. Make time to explore your tools so you can truly use them to their potential.
What are the main challenges you will be faced with in this role?
Change is always one of the biggest challenges in this role. You will find colleagues who are reluctant to, for example, update their laptops to the latest firmware or unwilling to follow procedures, especially if it is something that can be automated or done in the background. Finding the perfect balance between urgency, timing, and importance of the change will therefore be crucial.
Knowledge is also key – you will enjoy it when a colleague knows how to use his/her tools. However, I find it more rewarding when I teach someone how to use a tool, meaning they were attentive and understood how to use a tool better. Hence, make sure you explain as clearly, simply and concisely as possible! Record tutorials, add screenshots, create how-to’s and demos to showcase your work and make it as interactive as possible.
Are there any perks that usually revolve around this role?
Being the IT guy and working with all aspects and departments of the company is already an awesome thing in our job! You will also be the first to test out cool gadgets and try out shiny new stuff 😊
As an added bonus, you will be setting the stage for your colleagues’ success in using IT to its full potential. At Hero Gaming, IT onboarding is considered one of the most important meetings on an employee’s first day at the job – so you have the advantage, you can start a fresh page with your colleagues (in terms of IT knowledge). They will ask you anything related to tech – sometimes even for suggestions. That is why you need to be on top of things, patient, understanding, and explain clearly what you want to achieve.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start in this career?
Getting a university degree is always beneficial to anyone who wants to start out in this field. However, I don’t think it is enough on its own – there are hundreds of (part-time) courses which are considered essential. You can focus on specific subjects such as networking, Cloud technologies or project management. You can also opt to learn a particular language such as Linux, HTML, PowerShell or C. The more you know, the better chances are of choosing the best career path for you.
Spend time on different software and OSs, learn how they work, discover their features and differences, and don’t be limited to one platform. In today’s IT world, you will be working with an array of (sometimes weird) technologies, and they all have their benefits and downfalls.
This will help you become the go-to guy for anything which switches on – be it a microphone, server, CCTV, light bulb, or anything in between!
Companies will want someone with knowledge, someone with charisma, and someone who appeals to the company culture. Be it a small or large company, make sure you’re not just a number and aim to gain as much knowledge as possible.
Open your mind to what influencers are buzzing about and join that buzz yourself! The more you do, the more you will love your career and your job will be a walk in the park!
”Kurt AbelaSenior IT Administrator