The Day to Day Life of an IT Technician
Starting out in the world of IT Support can be exciting, but it can also be very daunting. For me, it was both. My first job in IT saw me working at a high school with only one other person (my boss), and despite having a degree in Computing, and a good knowledge of Windows, on my first day I left the office thinking 'I'm way out of my depth. These guys must think I'm no good'. I quickly learned, however, that I was wrong.
My first few weeks were a huge learning curve - I didn't know how to do basic tasks like mapping a network drive, imaging hard disks, adding computers to a domain - it was all new to me, but I stuck at it and have now been working in the field since 2008.
In my job at the high school we worked with slow equipment, old technology and a lot of dated software. We had to speed old computers up as best we could, do all the dirty work like threading network cables through ceilings and walls, and clean out filters on overhead projectors in the classrooms, and I loved it. Sounds odd, but because working in the school wasn't too busy, I had time to teach myself various technical tricks that made my job that bit easier, and in the eighteen months I worked there, I learned a lot.
As I was working in a high school, I was only paid in term time, so I eventually had to leave for full time employment, and moved into the NHS at a large hospital (and I still work there now, doing the same job). That was daunting.
Working in a larger organization meant that our work was much more structured, we had a help desk team who used a system used for logging, amending and closing every single task we completed. We were monitored on how many 'jobs' we closed, and the time it took to complete each job (although this varies from one workplace to another), and at times it could be very stressful (especially at times when there were low staff numbers in our department, and you have clinics on hold or cancelled, patients that can't be operated on due to doctors being unable to pull up information etc), but again I worked hard, continued to learn and thoroughly enjoyed working there.
Most of what I did back then in the NHS involved the following:
- Installing software
- Speeding up or replacing computers
- Repairing software faults and conflicts
- Patching in data sockets
- Repairing laser printers (again, something I'd never attempted).
In recent years, and with the introduction of new technologies, we now also do the following:
- Active Directory group creation
- Asset management
- Script writing
- Mobile device setup and maintenance (iPods, iPads etc)
- Supporting various software projects introduced by our projects team
As you can see from above, there are a great number of tasks that need to be done daily, and that's just technical support (we had separate data centre and networks teams). The fact is though, technical support is a fascinating field to work in. If you think something you are doing is boring or repetitive, then you can learn and learn until you can find a way to automate that task (e.g. deploying software using group policy instead if manually installing it), but don't expect even that to be straight forward. IT is full of unexpected problems.
Learning from mistakes is a massive part of IT, especially for the new starter, but if you are interested in IT as a career, then I wish you the best of luck, you will enjoy it.