The Secret Life of Geeks
It’s not what you think!


Russ Levanway, CEO, Tektegrity

Very few businesses are operated without at least some use of computers. As support providers for the information technology (IT) industry, that’s good news for us here at TekTegrity. There are a lot more computers and networks to keep running. As a result, there is a high demand for employees in our industry.

It’s easy to assume the IT industry is fully staffed by full-on geeks, those highly skilled technical wizards who feel more comfortable behind a keyboard than in front of a client. It’s time to dispel that myth and give you a peek inside the IT support field.

While technical expertise is important, IT service providers aren’t in the business of making computers happy. We’re in the business of making the people who rely on computers happy. We’re here to make their jobs easier, their businesses more efficient, and their computer-induced frustrations infrequent.

Successful IT support techs have a combination of skills, but customer service is at the top of the list. IT providers are always looking for employees with good communication skills. They listen well and respond thoughtfully. Sought-after employees also understand business processes and approach each job with the goal of providing the most effective solution to their clients. They are able to understand the clients’ needs, explain the options, and help clients use their technology efficiently and comfortably.

Because IT support is a very broad field, there is room for both generalists and specialists. As the industry expands, specialization becomes a good option for many techs. While every member of the TekTegrity support staff has broad knowledge in a number of areas, many are professionally certified experts in certain areas of specialization.

IT support routinely makes the list of most stressful jobs, as well. Although maintenance and preventive measures help minimize it, disaster management will always be a part of the IT support industry. Changing or conflicting industry standards, product failures, software glitches, and vendor communication issues plague even the most proactive IT firms. Finding and keeping techs with that perfect combination of technical expertise and a friendly, service-first solution-focused attitude can be challenging. That challenge is creating great opportunities for qualified IT professionals.

IT companies that attract and retain talent know that having a vibrant company culture and great team camaraderie are key elements of recruitment success. What’s more, programs that help employees gain new skills, embrace a work-life balance, focus on wellness, avoid stress and injury, and share in the company’s success are attracting the most qualified candidates.

The industry, once stereotyped by popular culture as a bunch of pale, pear-shaped men surrounded by energy drink cans, sitting in front of glowing monitors through the night, has changed. In reality, it’s populated by men and women who do things like bike to work, leave in time to see their kids’ teams play, and enjoy evenings around the barbecue.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t sneaking peeks at their phones or tablets, or sitting down for some recreational computing, of course. They are, after all, still techies at heart.

(Tech tip: Are you a tech pro looking to improve your skills? Consider network security, virtualization, and cloud computing as areas of focus. Our interconnected world is making these skills even more highly sought-after. Also, expertise with popular software systems, such as those used in medical records management, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) are all good bets.)

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Russ Levanway is the CEO of TekTegrity, an IT Managed Services Provider serving the Central Coast and Central Valley. The organization’s Total Systems Management™ (TSM) service model provides preventative IT support at fixed monthly fee levels. For more information, visit www.tektegrity.com.