Aug 9, 2010

What Makes a Good I.T. Technician?

Normally I write about cool free software I find, interesting tech news I hear about, cool electronics, and just about anything geeky. Every once in a while I will write a sort of editorial piece talking about poor custer service, crappy products, or whatever else I can come up with. Today, I got to thinking about what I consider to be a good I.T. Technician. Now this goes from Help Desk, all the way up to CIO/CTO level. If the person has any experience twisting a screw driver, or reviewing event logs, this applies.

Now I haven't been in I.T. as long as some of you. I still consider myself to be rather green. I've only been working with computers and software for about 6 years, but during that time I've worked with all kinds of I.T. guys. In my mind, there are four basic types of technicians. Let me go down the list.

  • Technical Bullshitter - This is the guy that knows just enough technical jargon and terminology to seem like they know what they are doing, but really don't know their ass from their elbow. These guys easily make it through an interview with H.R. and non-technical upper management. The best way to weed these guys out before hiring them is by running them through a panel interview with their peers.

  • One Trick Pony - This person may be very good at what they do. They may know the Cisco IOS like the back of their hand. Perhaps they are a master at EMC SANs. Maybe they are really, really good at Windows only. Maybe they are really good at a select group of products, and that is all they know. These people are best kept in one I.T. department for 20 or 30 years, because the moment they go elsewhere, they begin to breakdown when the new environment isn't what they are used to. To them, their way is the ONLY good way because that is how they have always done things.

  • Overly Cautious - I will never argue with anyone who wants to take a few extra minutes to make sure the change they are making is the right one, or won't break anything. I also always recommend taking a backup of whatever it is you are working on prior to making a change in case something goes wrong. That is all reasonable. What I think is a little over the top is the person who will NOT act in fear that they will break something. They will let users be down for days without trying anything because they don't want to be the person that screws it up more. Maybe you have worked with people like that. Maybe you have had to jump in to save they day because they were too chicken shit to do anything.

  • Jack of All Trades - This guy can literally make anything work. If they normally work on Windows, and you hand them a Mac to fix it may take them a while, but they will figure it out. This person wants to learn a little bit of Linux, Windows, Unix, and anything else they can get their hands on so they have a full arsenal of weapons they can bring to the fight. This person can make things happen with little to no budget, or with unlimited resources because they aren't afraid to work with open source, or non-standard technologies. They use whatever they can to make things work. This person can think quickly on their feet and adapt to just about any situation.
In my opinion the best I.T. people fall in the last category. When I am sitting on panel interviews weeding out the technical bullshitters, I am actually looking for the Jack of All Trades. If I am working in a Microsoft shop, I may throw out some Linux questions to see how the person reacts. If they can dodge my bullets and come out okay, I will usually give them my nod of approval.

Every day at work I strive to be the Jack of All Trades. I try to learn as much as I can about all types of technology. The reason being is that if you don't close your mind you will see that there are millions of alternatives to help you get your job done. An education from an online IT program can provide you the foundation of technical know-how, but you still need to continue learning to excel at your job. I also am not affraid to try things to see if I can fix things. Being cautious is great, but being straight up scared to act is no way to be in I.T..

No matter what category you may fall in, really good I.T. comes from the ability to research. There are I.T. guys that are quick to hand problems off to other people, or other departments without first trying to qualify the problem, and do a little Google searching to see if they can fix it themselves. If you run into a problem you have never seen before, and your first reaction is to open up Google and start searching, then you are probably a pretty good at I.T.. If you see a problem, and immediately take it to someone else on your team, or in your department because you are "out of ideas" then you need to discover Google.

What kind of I.T. Tech are you? Maybe you can think of some other catergories I missed. Perhaps your co-workers fall into one of these categories. Some of you may even disagree. Let me know what you think makes a good I.T. Technician in the comments!

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | stopping spam