My first official promotion was not everything that I thought it would be. The position was not very technical; in my opinion, most of the work was operational and related to the AS/400 system. During my training, it became very apparent to me that I would not want to stay in the role very long. However, I did realize that being on the day shift would allow me to make new contacts within the organization and showcase my work ethic and ability to learn quickly.

My schedule was Thursday through Monday since there was one other computer operator who worked Monday through Friday. The duties of the role were to answer AS/400 system messages, swap out backup tapes, and assist the Helpdesk staff with issues. It does not sound like much work to do, and honestly, the reason is that it was not. That has its drawbacks and benefits for someone like me. The disadvantages were that there was not much work to keep me busy, especially during the weekends. The advantages I found, became apparent after weeks on the job, which was time to study and learn skills to advance. The other benefit was being able to talk with and shadow coworkers in different positions during my weekday shift while there was double coverage.

I was able to meet and establish a relationship with some of the server administrators, network engineers, and desktop technicians. If there is one thing that you take away from this post is how important it is to build relationships and learn from others. This skill and I believe it is a skill, is one that should be continually worked on, improved, and evolved for different situations. Relationship building may come naturally, so some and seem very difficult to others. However, there is no denying the benefits that this can have on you and your career.

I was able to expand my world and knowledge just by speaking with coworkers and asking plenty of questions. I am incredibly grateful for those people taking the time to sit with me and answer all of the questions I had for them. Not only did it help me to learn more about how to support the applications, but it expanded my view of IT. All of a sudden, I became more aware of other areas of IT, of which I had no previous exposure to and piqued my interest. It was at this time that I became interested in both networking and servers, which aspired to move into an admin role in one of those two areas.

As much as I wanted to jump into one of the admin roles, I knew that there was still so much that I needed to learn. I picked up a few books that were recommended to me and tried to get up to speed. It didn’t take long for me to realize that most of what would be required was not something I was going to pick up quickly. I began to ask different questions, like how people came into the roles that they held, what did they recommend I do, or learn to get to where they are? Many mentioned they had previously been desktop technicians or had been doing server/network for many years prior.

Armed with this new information, I went to talk to the desktop technician manager about a position with his team. He mentioned that they would be hiring a new technician soon. So, I asked him what I would need to know or have to be considered a potential candidate for a chance to earn the position. He told me that he would be looking for someone that has or could obtain the CompTIA A+ certification, possessed technical knowledge, troubleshooting skills, and was an excellent communicator. Another question I asked was what the job would consist of on a day to day basis. My goal was to know what to prepare during the interview and the role.

Now that I had an idea of what it might take to get a technician position, it was time to start preparing if my application was accepted and got asked to interview for the job. I purchased a CompTIA A+ certification book to begin reading and plan to take the two exams required to obtain my A+ certification. I read the entire book, took the practice exams, and tried to prepare as much as possible to get the certification. Before I scheduled to take the test, the PC Technician position posted, and I submitted my application. Unlike the Computer Operator position, I would not be the only applicant. There were several external candidates along with two other coworkers who I worked with at the Helpdesk. I found out that my coworkers also knew that it would be helpful if they had an A+ certification, and they might be studying as well. It wouldn’t be the first time that I would have to compete for a position with people that I knew.

I was lucky enough to receive the call to come in for an interview with the PC Technician manager, and it turns out I was well prepared. All the studying that I had done helped me out and made me realize the importance of certifications and studying for them, but that importance wouldn’t last long, unfortunately. I was able to answer most of the technical questions during the interview and did not struggle with the situational or personality questions. I informed the manager that I was studying for the A+ exam and was planning on taking it soon.

It took a little while for a decision to get made. The manager informed me that he selected me as the candidate to fill the position. I was given an offer which, which I accepted without hesitation. That is a topic that I hope to talk about more in future posts — using the lessons that I’ve learned as I’ve moved up and around. I received instructions to keep the acceptance to myself until they had spoken to all of the other candidates. Management would then send an official announcement out to the IT organization.