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Is being on the IT frontline just too much of a risk?
30 May 2016
There are many titles that are used for the troops on the frontline of IT these days: Service Desk Analyst, Support Analyst, Helpdesk Analyst, Helpdesk Officer, Helpdesk Support, the list goes on and the combinations are endless…
Traditionally used as one of the main entry points into an IT career, first level support truly is the frontline trench in the warzone of IT. Panicked, worried and stressed customers relentlessly bombard the service desk troopers with a wide ranging selection of ammunition that must be met head on and dealt with immediately.
But with constant promises of promotions and higher rankings, are there really medals in sight for these fearless individuals once they serve their time?
Looking at a majority of the Sydney IT support market over the past 12 months, the answer is sadly no.
There are many organisations out there, of all shapes and sizes, that throw people into the trenches to deal with all their internal staff’s IT problems, and they leave them in the firing line until frankly they have nothing left to give. Once they have taken one too many bullets, they are quickly replaced and the turnover of staff is overwhelming.
This can be seen by the large volume of candidates that I meet that have become stagnant in first level troubleshooting roles and are begging to be offered more in terms of technical exposure and responsibility.
First level support truly is the frontline trench in the warzone of IT
Keeping young and enthusiastic individuals isolated in no-man's-land will decrease their morale, slow their up-skilling, test their patience and eventually erode the passion that they had for working in technology.
In the face of this, my message to 'the troops' is: Do not lose hope. The war is not lost.
The best companies out there use their helpdesk space as a breeding ground for technical talent and allow their frontline mercenaries to rise through the ranks into more senior positions; whether moving into the natural progression areas of second and third line support, or even offering horizontal opportunities in other areas of the business.
After reporting directly from the frontline, my advice to any willing candidate that is looking at enrolling into a first level support role would be do your research into the potential company and what career progression they have available.
Finally, to the more senior ranking staff - whether Service Desk Managers, Service Delivery Managers, IT Managers and so on - nurture and encourage your staff to gain experience while in the role and use the varied technical exposure that they will be receive as a tool for identifying which avenue of IT they want to pursue.
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