Working IT

Industry insight from Eric – student alumni

As a former student, we approached Eric to share his insights into the IT industry as a graduate to his current role. You may be surprised with his insights and experiences.

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What was it like when you started your first IT role?

Finishing your education and entering the career world, it’s a whole new level. You take what you have learnt and apply it to your first job. That’s what will be in your mind, especially the first day (when you should be really focusing on who is who, what is what, all the online/paper-based company inductions and, most importantly, why I was hired and the objectives I need to deliver).

The reality is, entering the career world is an open ocean, so many different methodologies, so many different opportunities and different ways to deliver the same outcome.

I had the opportunity of completing a MCSA/E certification in 2004, and having the hands-on experience was great in the workforce. Certifications such as Active Directory, Group Policy, DNS DCPromo commands all help, however, inter-professional skills, business language, email etiquette and time management are all equally important.

You need to build up your experience and career. Dealing with different people at all levels (not just position/role levels) was the most challenging part of my growth.

What was your ballpark starting salary?

As a novice in the IT industry, I was on $38K including super.

What challenges, particularly from a communication (interpersonal skills) perspective, did you face?

You need to build up your experience and career. Dealing with different people at all levels (not just position/role levels) was the most challenging part of my growth.

Learning to apply different levels and styles of communication will be one of the biggest skills/tools you will need to get through the present and probably future business world.

When you deal with difficult customers, it’s one thing to sympathise, as that comes naturally, but what about their needs/delivery requirements? Managing open but controlled communication to make sure the delivery is in progress while going backwards and forwards with a disgruntled customer is a challenging juggle. My suggestion is don’t jump into the deep end straightaway; you will get wiped before you know it! Enter IT support roles to begin with to get an understanding of how different customers are. Challenge yourself when you need to move away from the IT support world and face the project/delivery world – yes, things won’t always go to plan but remember, communication will be the key.

What importance do you place on communication skills to help you from a technical aspect?

Your focal point should always be active listening. This will give you clarification; you will know what the best response will be. It will allow you to provide the right information and outstanding but simple customer service or technical role.

15 years on, what is your role and ballpark salary?

My journey began in 2005, as a Microsoft Windows systems support person. Enjoy your journey. As of May 2019, I am a Network Designer, specifically on Wi-Fi networks, and have had the opportunity to work on federal and state government bodies and interesting Wi-Fi projects. My current salary is $160,000 including super.

How have you grown personally and professionally?

For example, becoming a better writer, being able to express yourself and to have a critical mindset.

Be accountable; learn from your mistakes. We are only human, and you can only be a better person. Being a simple, honest and respected worker amongst your colleagues and peers will go a long way. They will remember you for who you are, and not for writing executable scripts, configuring BGP routes or Wi-Fi SSIDs. This will ensure your continued growth and IT opportunities.

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