“Support Expectations in the New Year”

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Providing IT support to an entire organization can often feel like a futile endeavor. Focusing on one ticket at a time as you receive multiple emails and instant messages — simultaneously — can be challenging. It can also be really frustrating when you are channeling your energies towards solving a vexing problem and end-users are continuously calling you — or knocking on the door.

In 2021 I have big goals and I know I will need some “headspace” to achieve them... I am sure I could find this headspace if I recalibrate my organization’s…

If You Have to Do It More Than Once, Automate It

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One common issue I have always had regardless of my position is being persistently swamped with repetitive tasks and never having enough time to focus on what is important. Certainly, information technology is supposed to be fast-paced and I am glad that I am never bored. At the same time, being overwhelmed by menial tasks is a path to burnout.

It is a challenging problem because menial tasks will always exist. No matter how smart you get with password policy, for example, there is always a human element to contend with… No matter how robust your computer image is, you…

IT Certifications are Expensive But They Don’t Have to Be

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Starting a career in IT can be a challenging prospect. It is common to graduate with a technology-related degree and still not have the qualifications necessary to get the job you want. In these situations, you are often not only required to have years of experience but also one or more certifications. The problem is that earning certifications in itself typically requires some amount of experience, in addition to training resources and money that you may not have if you don’t already have a lucrative position.

It is all a bit of a catch 22. You are trying to land…

The goal is to identify the problem before trying to solve it

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“Troubleshooting” is one of the most misunderstood words in tech. It is simulatenously one of the most commonly used and misused words. Yet, rigorous troubleshooting technique is probably the most invaluable skill you can develop if you want to build a successful career in tech.

The reason it is important to develop rigorous technique is it provides a framework that simplifies and enables quick root cause identification. It can also be applied programmatically to track down the culprit(s) of a problem — so it takes frustration and guesswork out of the equation. …

Techniques for becoming a more effective problem solver

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The troubling thing about problem solving is that problems have a way of redefining themselves by the time you have solved for them... By the time you have solved for “X”, “Y” gets added to the equation and throws everything completely out of balance.

For the last 7 years, I have been the IT guy for three different organizations. As the only IT person on-site daily for a series of box plants, a consulting firm and a County government, it is safe to say that I have dealt with a lot of problems across many contexts. …

Effective Support Requires Addressing Technical AND Human Needs

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Troubleshooting technical problems is a bit of an art form. Effective troubleshooting requires a balance of being thorough in diagnosing the root cause and providing expeditious service. It is a proportional amount of developed experience and sought after knowledge. It is weighing the human state of the end-user against the practical issues you face when addressing a problem. It is often very challenging work even for seasoned professionals but over time one can really gain appreciation for the fundamentals — that is what this story is about.

Recently, a family member asked me to troubleshoot his webcam, which had suddenly…

Soft Skills to Take Your Support Game to the Next Level

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So much of providing tech support is simply providing reassurance to the customer. They have to feel as if you want to fix the problem. They have to believe that you are able to fix the problem. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, they have to trust you enough to give you the space you need to fix the problem.

I have faced many challenging situations providing technical support over the phone, virtually, in person, and ultimately to people who were already very upset before they get ahold of me. …

Jon Sexton

Starting off providing tech support in call centers , I have worked my way up to IT Administrator for my county. In the process I have accumulated many stories.

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