Transitioning from one job to another can be a nerve wracking experience, especially when combined with an introduction into unfamiliar territory. I had been working in IT for about five years. I’d worked my way through Level 1 phone support, onsite tech, mobile tech, and finally Help Desk Coordinator. I worked in that position for two years, and my next position took me into the IT field of security as a Network Monitor. Working at the Help Desk, I knew very little about our security. In the public sector, there are dedicated Network and Systems Administrators to do the behind the scenes miracles that cause networks to operate smoothly. As a Help Desk Coordinator, my duties were based more on day to day actions to quickly resolve end users’ immediate needs. A ticket was submitted to the Help Desk via email, and from there I would either assigned it to an onsite tech for hardware issues, or reached out to the client myself if it was systems related. My main focus was to make sure all tickets in the queue had been either assigned to a tech and the task started, or making sure I could close the ticket out with the client during first contact. There is a wealth of tools in the IT field allowing for remote connections so even if you can’t walk a client through the process, you can usually remote in and take over the process. Once completed, I would close the ticket out, or if it were out of scope for the Help Desk I would assign the task to the onsite tech, the Network Administrator, or the Systems Administrator.
The position of Network Monitor is comparable, but there are key differences. As a Help Desk Coordinator, tickets were the driving force. If there was no ticket, that meant nothing was wrong. In monitoring, tickets are valuable because they are the alerts and alarms that have been configured for your system. However, no tickets do not mean nothing is wrong. If you have no tickets, you would proactively go into your system to make sure that all the devices are logging the correct data in the correct location, or make sure an update didn’t crash the system, or just checking for any out of the ordinary activity. If everything checks out and it’s just a slow day for tickets, we perform a Daily Health Check for our clients. Meaning we log into the system, take a look at the monitors and alerts, make sure nothing critical needs to be addressed, and give a summary on the general environment. We do this to make contact with clients daily, because while not having to communicate on a regular basis due to everything functioning as expected is good, we still want them to know that we are actively monitoring their systems. When everything isn’t going as planned and we see unusual activity, we reach out to the client via phone or email, depending on the severity, and let them know what is happening and offer suggestions for the fix. As a monitoring team, we don’t fix it, but we let the client know when something needs their attention. At a Help Desk, the resolution is usually quick, within 20 minutes, and the ticket is closed and resolved. In the Monitoring field, the ticket could be left open for days but continuously updated until the situation is satisfied to client’s specifications.
All in all, the transition from Help Desk Coordinator to Network Monitor was not as difficult as I imagined it would be. I acquired (and am still acquiring) new skills and practices that will only benefit me in my IT career. I’ve also gained more confidence in myself as an IT professional. The task seemed daunting at first, but by learning what my job was and focusing on doing well, I’ve made the transition well. By being able to pull over standard practices through each IT position I’ve held, my foundation is solid and I expect the transition from Network Monitor to whatever lies ahead will be just as challenging and rewarding.