Opportunities Abound

Working in the northwest quadrant of campus, deskside analyst William Campbell looks after Graduate Studies and most of the Sciences including the Dean’s Office, CCIS, BioSci and Math - each having a wide range of requests that often involve network, desktop or phone issues. “It’s never boring that’s for sure.”

With so many different departments/faculties, William says there is no shortage of opportunities, “… you can always find something else to do … if you express interest in something, they’ll find you a role, based on your skills and strengths. “It’s a great place to work for sure, lots of intangible perks.”

As a self-described people person, William says it is important to build relationships at the university, “you need to focus on building relationships … I’m a people person, I like to help people and work with them… when you connect with people, you see how passionate they are about what they do ... you can see their eyes light up when they speak about it ... it’s really good to understand not just the day-to-day challenges they have with their equipment, but other obstacles they have to contend with to get their work done.”

Changing Minds

Mike Fraser became interested in IT when he was in high school and working at Staples. IT later became a career choice when he registered for the Computer Network Administration (CNA) program at NAIT. Since completing the CNA program, Mike’s IT education has been “self-taught, self-learned, and working in the industry”. After working “for Apple as a Genius for about 5 years”, Mike joined IST as a Deskside Support Analyst.

As a member of Eric Cheung’s Deskside Support team, Mike helps support “all of the southwest” quadrant of campus. He does “a lot of stuff” including supporting Education’s Undergraduate Student Services and doing upgrades for University Wellness Services. Mike “likes being on call for [his] clients and being there for them”. He also likes having the freedom at IST to “do whatever schedule [he] wants or use whatever strategy [he] wants to get the goals all done”. Most of all, Mike is proud of being part of the changing of people’s “old mindset of IT” from “’oh, we’re going to call the IT guy that works in the basement that hates talking to us’” to knowing that the whole Deskside Support team, indeed the whole of IST, is focused on providing the very best IT support and customer service to all of its campus clients. 

Here to Help

When one phones into IST they may have the opportunity to speak to John Morris, one of the IT Support Analysts on the team. As a first point of contact for many requests, John oversees a diverse range of requests from individuals all across the university, “… staff, students, professors, emeritus professors and sometimes even parents …”. As a graduate of the university, he enjoys working on campus and has a natural connection to the environment, “… having been a student here, I like it here …”.

John feels in the right place at IST and finds it to be “… a really really different culture from previous jobs that I’ve had” and describes the department as one that is diligent when following up on requests and genuinely invested in each individual interaction. It fits well with John who is a pro at navigating people through inquiries and enjoys drafting reference materials all with the goal to offer the best assistance possible, “my natural inclination is to want to help”.

The Google Project

Ever since Zachary Irmen graduated with a Computing Science degree from the University of Alberta, he’s been in the IT field for fifteen years. As a Systems Analyst for the Infrastructure Applications Team, Zach spends most of his time developing, coding, and learning new programming languages. Currently, Zach’s focus is learning how to interact with Google. The project involves synchronizing account information between CCID’s and Google. Information surrounding new accounts, taking down old ones, and password changes all become propagated into Google.

Zach shares an office with three other colleagues who are all working on the Google project. His environment is “quite the change” from his previous jobs, however, he’s been adjusting and admits that sharing an office “helps you learn what else goes on in the group and problems [colleagues] deal with. I’ve learned a lot.” He also adds that “Everyone in that office I’m with right now is focused on this Google project that we’re doing right now. There’s plenty collaboration going on right there.” With many people working on the same project, the collaboration and discussion Zach and his team practice will be key to solving any problems they may face.

Communicating Success

Borislav Misita, a business analyst, is part of a small team within IST which is working on a big project: the Graduate Admissions. The Graduate Admissions project is intended to help streamline and speed up the application, review and admission process for graduate students. With a scheduled implementation for October 1st, 2015, the project will have a huge positive impact in not only departments offering graduate studying by accelerating admission adjudication time and getting high-quality applicants but also prospective graduate students. Prospective graduate students would be able to submit their application online, upload necessary supporting documentation, communicate with the departments online, monitor the application review progress, etc. Borislav’s goal is to help make the application process “more user-friendly” and “to speed it up”. Ultimately, he feels that the better process will allow the University “to be more competitive with other institutions”.

Borislav’s business and IT background—he has a degree in Economics and Computer Systems Technology as well as many years of experience as a business analyst—is an asset to his team and the project. His strength is communication as he “is more of a people person, likes communicating, talking to people rather than just coding”. And as the Graduate Admissions project involves many people from most of the University, great communication and people skills will be an essential part of its successful completion.