Alicia – User Support Technicians

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AWIC interviewed different local professionals for an inside look into their work. You can learn more about User Support Technicians (NOC 2282) through a detailed Career Profile.

Alicia Cook is an IT Support Technician with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC).

What does a typical day look like for you?

I typically maintain IT assets to ensure everything is running smoothly. I also research and implement projects with the purpose of improving our company’s IT infrastructure.

What was the education and training needed for your job? Any additional training for your current position?

I have a 4-year bachelor of science in computer science. I started at the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre as a intern straight from university. I spent a lot of time training under our system administrator in order to become a full-time IT support technician.

Why and when did you choose this career? What have you learned since you started?

I chose this career during high school. I excelled in the computer science courses and knew a degree in this field would result in a career that would make me financially independent. I have learned that computer science is a wide reaching and multi-faceted field with career paths for any interest.

What skills do you have that make you great at your job?

I am analytical and good at problem solving. The vast majority of my job is solving issues that come up for servers, employees, etc. I am able to find solutions efficiently after diagnosing what occurred, and researching and implementing the best fix.

What is the biggest thing you have learned on the job?

It’s okay to ask questions. At first I felt awkward asking my coworkers questions, but as time went on I realized that asking questions is necessary to learn on the job. The more questions you ask, the more you learn and grow.

What is the best part of your job?

Continued learning through projects and training from my more experienced coworkers.

What is something challenging about your job?

Explaining complex processes to employees who do not have the same level of understanding. It can sometimes be frustrating, but helping others is a great feeling.

What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing the career?

This job is a perfect place to start if you are unsure of what field within computer science you would like to pursue. You will learn a little bit of everything which can help you find what topics you are most interested in.

How would you say COVID-19 has affected your day-today-work? (Job duties, commute, check-in process, etc.)

I have worked at home almost consistently since the first COVID-19 shut down. Not being around my coworkers has made checking in challenging, but has expanded my experience with remotely working on computer systems.

What has it been like to be an essential worker during a world-wide pandemic?

I appreciate my job being recognized as essential work.

Have you experienced loss or personal struggles since the beginning of the pandemic? How have you and your co-workers coped with working through the shut-down?

It is difficult to stay motivated when you are sequestered to your residence with no face-to-face interactions with others. I have also struggled with mentally stepping away from work since my work place and home are one in the same now. I realized quickly after the beginning of the pandemic that there is no substitute for being in the office.

Could you share how being an essential worker during the pandemic has made this more personally fulfilling career?

I have been lucky enough to be able to work remotely during the pandemic and so have many other employees. This has resulted in many more requests for assistance from employees. I find helping others and solving problems fulfilling.

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