Support consultant/Systems analyst

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Name: Lachlan
Age: Late 20s
Works for: Infotech Management Pty Ltd

“Getting a degree in ICT was a good feeling. Suddenly I could choose to work anywhere I liked."

Whenever he gets the chance Lachlan heads outdoors, either fishing for trout, redfin and Murray cod in his own boat or taking a spin on his mountain bike. He keeps fit by going to the gym and plans to take up rugby league again, as soon as last season’s injuries heal!

Tell us what you do for work Lachlan?

I work for a small to medium business in Albury/Wodonga called Infotech. We offer everything required for small businesses in terms of ICT, providing hardware and software and specialising in accounting software. Infotech services everyone from solicitors to diesel mechanics. We work across the board.

Your job title is Support Consultant/Systems Analyst. What does that mean?

Basically it means I provide technical support. A customer will ring up with a computer problem and my job is to fix it, either remotely from my computer at work or by going on-site to them.

Computer network systems can become quite complex and require a lot of conceptual design. I do a lot of that design work. I also research and recommend the right products to fit the client’s needs as well as installing their hardware and software.

What does your job involve on a day-to-day basis?

It varies quite a lot. My customers are both local and based overseas. Sometimes my job requires me to be on the phone all hours of the day and night, to Jakarta, Singapore and other places. I see different customers and deal with different problems everyday.

No two problems are ever the same, but over time you learn to draw from your experience and arrive at the right solution more quickly. Often I am the first one to come across a specific problem, a problem that has never been documented before. It can be interesting and very rewarding to work through that stuff, to solve the problem.

What do you like about your job?

Definitely the variety. I can be installing a $100,000 server one week and the following week I can be fixing a $70 printer. No matter how big or small the job, there’s a sense of accomplishment when I solve a problem, especially one that no one else can.

I also enjoy designing networks and recommending products. I especially enjoy presenting my solutions to a board. I like offering up my own thoughts on how to solve a particular problem or how to support a business and ensure it runs effectively.

What skills did you need to get this job?

I have a Bachelor of Information Technology from Charles Sturt University. Although my job didn’t require me to hold a degree it certainly was an advantage. My uni course helped me have a greater conceptual understanding. It gave me a basic theory on why things work the way they do.

ICT. Where did it all begin for you?

In all honesty I wasn’t that interested in computers when I was younger. I didn’t do computer subjects in Years 11 and 12. It just wasn’t an overwhelming passion.

I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. I had a job organised in a different field but that fell through at the last minute, so I thought perhaps I ought to go to uni. I was accepted into an ICT course, which was completely different to what I had thought I would do. It was tough at first but I stuck it out and got my degree. That was an important goal for me. I really wanted prove to myself that I could work and achieve something.

Getting a degree in ICT was a good feeling. It opened up a lot of avenues. Suddenly I could choose to work anywhere I liked. I finished my last exams in December 2000 and had a job by January 2001.

How much time do you spend on your computer?

There’s a stigma that ICT types sit in a dark room on our own all day. I spend a good part of the day in front of my computer, but I’m also talking to lots of different people on the phone - anyone from learner users and business owners to other ICT workers, consultants and internal staff. I get out and do marketing for Infotech as well, meeting and greeting and introducing our company to others in town.

Is ICT it a good career in a place like Albury/Wodonga?

There’s plenty of ICT work to choose from here, whether it be in education or with ICT organisations. There are many marketing opportunities with the local wineries and we have big companies like Mars Group nearby, who always require in-house ICT. There are hundreds of positions calling for ICT in Albury/Wodonga. And with broadband here now, we can support companies anywhere in the world.

Do you think the money’s good?

Companies are always on the look out for ICT people with talent and experience. So the pressure is on the employer to ensure that the conditions are good to keep you. Our company also has a bonus structure in place as an extra incentive.

What advice would you give anyone considering a career in ICT?

Do some work experience. Search on Google for ICT organisations in your area and ring them up. Most companies would be happy to have someone around for a few days, just to take a look.

Secondly check out all your educational options. University certainly can help but it’s not the be all and end all. Some of the practical experience that TAFE courses give you can be very useful too.

Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (new window) (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).