I imagine you would think a day in the life of someone in a job like myself, I’m officially a Helpdesk Administrator for a medium sized companies IT department (we call it MIS, I know sounds very high tech and it stands for Management Information System), tends to be like the famous I.T. Crowd and you wouldn’t be completely wrong. Some days we can have so much work to cover between myself and two other Helpdesk chaps that we can get swamped very quickly but there are other days where we really struggle to find something to do. On those quiet days, I end up either fiddling about with desktops by reformatting them so we can reuse them or tear them down for spare parts, and laptops which again either get reformatted or as I like to say re-purposed for a new user to receive. Occasionally a laptop is sadly too far gone to refurbish or rescue and it’ll be broken down for spares. In both cases tearing down the PCs involves taking RAM, batteries sometimes the odd hard drive and keyboards are all salvaged for future repairs.
Anyway enough of the boring jargon, you’re here to read about a day in the life of an IT Technician, I say relatively very loosely here as anything can happen in this job! So it’s a Monday, usually the most boring day of any week for most people but for me its the total opposite, and I managed to tackle the hectic morning traffic to get into the office. Coming into work on the Help desk is always filled either anticipation or intrigue every day as to what will break or need sorting out, it can range anywhere from someone’s computer failing to a client’s site details being set up for the companies services to handle. Anyway back on track, it’s Monday morning and oddly this is a very quiet morning so far it has got to 10am and nothing major has happened which is very good for a change.
So roll on half an hour or so later and we have an end user come down saying that their department’s multifunction printer aren’t working properly. Alex, one my colleagues on the desk, went upstairs to investigate and after resolving the issue found out why it had happened. It turns out the user had itchy hands and in order to alleviate the itch decided to open the printer! Just from that alone, you can actually see why my job tends to very unpredictable and very amusing at times, I mean where does itchy hands mean to open a printer up, anyway back to the day after this funny event happened I was given a project to fulfil. We hadn’t long had some extensive LAN works done and this resulted in our build room, where desktops and laptops are set up or repaired, gaining a switch cabinet along with a double patch panel of unknown voice ports. You can probably guess what my task ahead was, I had to source an old analogue desk phone and test all 96 ports for possible extension numbers.
As you can see from the pictures above it was easy enough and didn’t cause too much trouble although I did have to improvise a little on the analogue phone cabling, I also got to hide away in the build room for a little bit and the best bit it has air conditioning which is so nice when you work up a sweat bouncing backwards and forwards jotting details for each port down especially when there’s a patch lead to keep unplugging and plugging back in. So with the hard work done I translated the scribblings down into neat typed excel sheet and mailed it off to those who need the information then it was back to my desk for a quick cup of tea and to see what was next on the list.
Ah now my favourite moment of any day, sometimes it happens a few times a day, that phone call from reception to say we got mail! More specifically a couple of fancy new laptops for field replacements that are very tidy looking items of kit. First up is a very tidy looking Lenovo Yoga 460, its classed as an Ultrabook and I can see why! It has 10 points of touch capable screen as well a nice i5 as well a tidy little 256GB SSD. This thing booted in less than 5 seconds which mighty impressive! The 460 also has the dual touchpad area Lenovo sometimes use, where there’s a trackpad with left and right clicks along the bottom edge but across the top you have this replicated as actual buttons.
There was also a delivery of another Lenovo laptop, yes you might think we prefer them but our current standard laptops are nice shiny HP ProBook 450 G4’s, this time a Think-pad 11e. A nice small laptop with yet again a cheeky SSD but this time in 196GB flavour, this one due to the motherboard has space for 4GB of ram and sadly this generation doesn’t have the touchscreen. We have a previous model as the Department pool laptop and its almost like a transformer style tablet but this one can be used in Laptop mode or tablet mode. Again we have a big variety of what hardware we use and what types we issue. I quite like the Think-pad for its size but both these fancy and smart bits of kit are a bit heavier than you would expect.
So as the day progresses it hits lunchtime, between myself and the other guys on the desk we usually pick an earlier or later lunch. I grab my lunch and sneak off to play some pool to just have a general chill out but more importantly a break from the computer. As you would expect lunchtime always flies by, it only feels like I had left the desk five minutes ago and I’m already back again! Alex and Ashley go off for their lunches which leaves me holding the fort, fortunately, this time it is oddly quiet but hey I’m not complaining at all. Just before the guys got back I had been given a task, to go upstairs and patch a new analogue desk phone in for some the ladies who work together on the company’s service desk.
Patching in the phone was a little confusing at first due to the fact I had not realised I was patching a voice line not data, this came to as I had trained a cat5e cable from the voice port up the first cabinet then across and down to a network switch but its always good to learn from potential mistakes for future. As I was saying I cottoned onto my mistake and corrected myself, this was also good timing as I had found a much shorter cable to use as the two ports I needed to patch were less 10 inches or so apart, and patched the ports right and tidily I might add then off I trotted to check the phone had the right extension number to close the job off.
Once I had sorted the phone I made for the relative safety and comfort of my desk again, the good thing about where the department is located in the building is it’s slightly hidden away on the ground floor which also means we don’t get too many drop-ins to the department unless we have arranged or know it’s going to happen. Alex, Ashley and I sit in a pod of four desks I sit next Ashley with Alex opposite Ashley the desk opposite me is used as an impromptu hot desk for the department manager or as a temporary build area for when we get the occasional drop support requests. I have yet to mention my colleague Ashley, you’ve heard about Alex and his tech support exploits now it’s Ashley’s turn, who tends to be the best source for mobile phone and PDA assistance. We all cover each others work so we have general knowledge across the estate we support but some of us in the team have our niche skill or knowledge.
I was having some trouble with getting an older Windows 7 laptop to download and install updates properly and as Ashley has managed to work some magic in the past I passed it his way. It took a relatively short amount of time for him to get it working right again. For the fix involved having to stop any of the windows update related services and rebuild all the .dll files used and once that was done it should, in theory and according to Microsoft help articles, work as normal but alas it did not want to play game and in the end a reinstall of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 was what it took to get windows update functioning correctly again. Once I had given Ash my thanks for the assist I got to work and used my magic USB, it contains windows 10 in ISO bootable image format, to upgrade an older HP 4530s to windows 10 which fortunately was successful. My aim for this was to give an older laptop a new fresh lease of life and hopefully to be reissued to someone requiring a laptop for work.
You probably have a favourite time of day and that is usually the end of a working day when you get leave to go home, in my work I try to leave on time but sometimes there’s always that last-minute support call that needs help or mid install of a piece of software that someone needs. Sometimes it can even be a laptop or desktop that’s being built and I just want to get that last thing done and dusted so I can come in the next day and not think to myself “what did I do last with this or was it even this one I was working on”. When I do get out of the office its the chaotic rush hour traffic home I have to deal with before I leave the car park I get my phone hooked into my car and my music on, and then I’m ready to go home after what is usually a relatively successful day.
So that’s pretty much it I hope you enjoyed reading about a pretty average day in the life of a Tech support guy, thanks if you are still here, and please if you have any questions about what you have seen or read please feel free to ask away.
Always remember if IT tell you to switch it off and back on, trust them, it helps a lot!