After many years of working in technology, I’m spilling the beans on what your IT (information technology) person is probably thinking. Here are 10 things you might want to know about your friendly office computer geek.
This post may contain affiliate links; please read my disclosure here.
That’s Not the Dumbest Question I’ve Ever Heard
The longer someone has worked in IT, the less likely it is that you can possibly ask the dumbest question she’s ever heard. To me, nothing is really a dumb question. If you need to know something, you should ask the question without worrying about what I’ll think of it.
What does annoy me a bit is when you ask me a question that I just answered in an email that I sent to everyone the other day. If you get an email from the IT department, you should probably read it. I generally send emails to the office only when the information is important, not because I just like to spend time composing an email.
You Might Have Bad Computer Karma
I can’t usually explain it, but sometimes a person will go through a time period when his computer and/or smartphone will have one weird problem after another. I call it “bad computer karma” for lack of a better term.
Don’t feel bad about it – you’re not the first and you won’t be the last person to experience a run of bad technology luck. Usually, the run of bad computer karma will end after a few painful weeks. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a great computer geek to help you along and fix all the problems that come about.
Restarting Your Computer Really Does Fix Problems Sometimes
We’re not making this up. Restarting your computer, phone, or tablet often does fix problems. It’s a good place to start.
There might be a program hung up in the background, using too much memory or otherwise misbehaving. Restarting a computer is kind of like wiping down a marker board with a wet cloth rather than using the dry eraser.
For Windows computers, I recommend restarting once a week in most cases. Some people need to restart once a day if they use certain software applications. If you just prefer to restart every day, that’s fine, too.
Google Is Our Friend
We can’t possibly know every solution to every possible problem. If we haven’t seen a similar issue before, we’ll research it on Google.
For problems we have seen before, many techies keep notes so that we don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. It’s one of the reasons we find help desk software helpful, but I keep my own notes outside of the help desk system, too.
Surprise! We like it when people are nice to us. I try really hard to provide exceptional service to everyone. I really do. But I admit that there are people for whom I will go out of my way to help, even with their personal computer problems.
Some of my coworkers have become friends of mine, and I fix their personal computer problems on my own time, outside of working hours.
Email Isn’t the Most Reliable or Secure Way to Communicate
Email seems like a seamless, flawless way of communicating, with messages appearing in your inbox within minutes of the sender clicking “Send.”
Actually, each email message goes through several places before it lands in your inbox.
Think about how a piece of postal snail mail goes from your mailbox to the mail truck, then to the local post office, then on a truck again, then to a regional post office, then on a truck again, then on an airplane, and so forth. That piece of mail might have been in five or more different places before it reaches its destination.
With email, your message goes from your computer to a mail server. Then it might go through some other servers looking for the right mail server where it can find the recipient’s address. Once it hits the correct system, it might get stuck in a spam filter, either internally or at the internet service provider.
If the message gets as far as the recipient’s email box, it might get stuck in the junk mail or spam filter in Outlook. Somewhere along the way, a hacker might also intercept the email and read its contents.
We’re Not Magicians
I’m good at fixing computer problems for the same reason Michael Jordan excels on the basketball court and Keith Richards plays guitar well. Practice.
I’ve been fixing computer problems for a long time. What looks like magic is really just experience.
We’re Not Interchangeable
Some IT professionals can write programs and fix computers, but most can’t do both. I can’t write programs. My expertise is on the administration and problem-solving side.
Programmers are usually more computer literate than average users, but most of them will occasionally need an IT support tech to fix their computer problems.
In addition, IT workers often have specialties, and even in small IT departments, some staff members are better at certain tasks than others. Nobody is good at everything and knows how to do every possible task that could possibly come up.
All of Us Don’t Have Computer Science Degrees
Many people in the IT industry – myself included – don’t have technology degrees. Keep in mind that tech isn’t a terribly old field. When I went to college, I couldn’t have majored in anything that would have prepared me for what I do now.
When I was in college, computer science majors learned to write programs, not fix computers. Few people had home computers back then. Only a small percentage of offices had them.
Younger people entering IT professions today might be more likely to have tech degrees because they have that option available. Those who’ve spent many years working in the field probably took technology classes outside of college and learned on the job.
You Might Be Causing Your Own Computer Problems
Most of us are too nice to say it, but you could be your own worst technology enemy, particularly when it comes to computer security and avoiding malware.
If you still indiscriminately click on email links and open file attachments, I’m talking to you. Same goes for clicking on unexpected pop-ups and mindlessly clicking Yes to anything that wants to install itself on your computer.
Windows shows those warnings for a reason – to keep malicious software (malware) from installing itself without your knowledge. It’s probably company policy that you call your IT department before allowing any software to install on your office computer. When in doubt as to whether an email is legitimate, check with your IT department or call (don’t email) the purported sender of the message.
If you enjoyed this post, could you please like it on Facebook?