Informational Interviews

JKelly

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I’ve recently embarked on my computer science degree as an older returning student. I decided to self study Linux and dig deeper into the languages for programming than my college offers. But, I have to interview someone who is in the job and find out a few things. The interview needs to happen in the next 4 weeks. Does anyone know any leads or companies in the USA that would be willing to do this? I would prefer online video chat as I am deaf and use speech to text apps to understand others. I speak very well as I am a late deafened adult. Or, I could just email the questions to someone after asking for the interview. I know everyone’s time is valuable and tight lately.

J
 


It's not entirely clear...

Do you need to interview a programmer, or do you need to interview a Linux admin?
 
It's not entirely clear...

Do you need to interview a programmer, or do you need to interview a Linux admin?
This is what my professor finally sent. I am starting at the A+ level and doing python scripting in another class. I am sorry I was not clear. Was getting the toddler niece ready to go back to my sister’s house and seeing the teen off to the bus while trying to gather my thoughts this morning. I would love to hear from a programmer but maybe a Linux admin would be better? It does not help that the professor seems to be absent minded for this online course. If you know of any leads to follow let me know. I am trying to get an email together to ask for an informational interview now.
J

Step 3 – Refine Your Purpose

The purpose of this interview is to learn more about topics related to PC Hardware and learn how this information is used in related jobs. As you think about this informational interview, you will need to select a more specific purpose. What exactly do you want to accomplish in your interview? Who would you like to interview? What aspects of IT are you interested in? Answer these questions by filling in sections #2 and #3 in your informational interview guide. Remember that the focus of this course is business applications. Your interview purpose should be focused and related to the topic of this course. Here are a few examples of a clear, strong informational interview purpose:

  • Identify the level of cross-platform (Mac/PC) knowledge needed for a tech support engineer at a software development company.
  • Learn what PC Hardware-related certifications stand out in a resume for an IT support specialist job at an accounting firm.
  • Learn the three most frequently used skills by tech support specialists at a large company.
 
Reading that, it seems more appropriate to interview a high-level support tech.

So, not someone who answers the helpline phone - but the person who those first-level techs hand off more challenging tasks. So, like a level 3 tech support person.

I don't think we have any of those, but those would be the best at answering those questions I should think.
 
Reading that, it seems more appropriate to interview a high-level support tech.

So, not someone who answers the helpline phone - but the person who those first-level techs hand off more challenging tasks. So, like a level 3 tech support person.

I don't think we have any of those, but those would be the best at answering those questions I should think.
Thank you so much! That actually makes sense! I will put that in linked In and see what spits back out at me.

J
 
I have a IT consulting company in Germany if that helps. I'm happy to help out if you want.
 
Those I can answer here, but keep in mind that my company is "a little different" from profit-focused-only companies. We do this casue we actually love linux lol.

  • Identify the level of cross-platform (Mac/PC) knowledge needed for a tech support engineer at a software development company.
Close to zero. My customers have windows, but by now with WSL2 I can force them to install ubuntu in a VM. They need this to run some tools written by us that manage hosting (ansible things). Some have osx, which is less annoying, and i can work on the command line on it, which is somewhat similar to Linux.

  • Learn what PC Hardware-related certifications stand out in a resume for an IT support specialist job at an accounting firm.

None. I often have people applying for jobs with like "look at my fancy univeristy degree and my 20 certifications" but they don't know how to restart nginx.
If you apply for an IT job for a startup, which you want because its mostly horrible to work for large companies in tech, show me:
  • your github
  • link to your forum accounts / your community work
  • what else you did in the past

I don't care at all about certificates.


Learn the three most frequently used skills by tech support specialists at a large company.
  • Well you have to stay calm under pressure. If the customer is loosing 5000 usd per minute because of downtime, it doesn't help to freak out.
  • You have to be able to build a relationship to the customer, imho. Depends on the job I suppose. People skills are kinda important.. Funny as admins usually don't have those x)
  • Know your command line ;)
 
@blunix
can I just add to your last paragraph, something I use to teach my front line staff,
NEVER lie to a customer, the truth may hurt at first, but you will gain more respect from them
 
@blunix
can I just add to your last paragraph, something I use to teach my front line staff,
NEVER lie to a customer, the truth may hurt at first, but you will gain more respect from them
I had my A+ and was earning my Net+ in 2003 and had a geek squad job. Back then I could still use hearing aids. This middle aged customer came in with a really dirty desktop. Was willing to pay for the cleaning of it. As his computer was slowing down. I asked all the questions but noticed he smelled strongly of smoke. I asked “Do you smoke next to the computer? Do you have the ashtray on the computer as I am seeing what looks like burn marks?” Yes and yes. I opened this tower and had to tell him while I can try to clean it this is a smoke tar layer on everything. He was told by the sales person that since his computer was enclosed that it would be ok to smoke around it. It took 30 minutes to explain cooling, air flow and how to carefully take care of the computer so he would have it for his home business longer than a year or so. He just looked at me and asked me if he paid me on the side away from geek squad if I could build a tower for him. Back then we still had computer conventions where you could buy the parts and build it yourself. He stated he was not spending anymore money at Best Buy due to the lies the sale staff was telling him. Come to find out he was buying a new one every 12-18 months. I miss that client. He passed away in 2020 from covid. But, he was my customer for those years.
 
During the recessions in the uk of 1990/1991, our competitors were panicking, cutting staff and closing branches [we only had the one] over that period I increased the sales staff and delivery staff and reduced the accountancy dept a little, at the end of it we came out with a higher turn over and better still a higher gross & net return, our competitors[ all run by accountants] could not get it into their thick heads cut prices and broken promises doesn't make you competitive, but telling the truth and if a mistake is made put it on the line.. and tell them sorry John the manufacture let us down, but we are on the case you will get a call tomorrow with the result, or sorry John we Fu** up, I will get it out to you by XXX hrs today/tomorrow or sorry John but your site failed to send in any schedules for this week, give me a couple of hours and I will see what I can do, but above all make sure you do what you said or go back and apologise why you can't and the best offer you can do for a result, through this we extended our customer base, most of whom stuck with us after the recession finished, Ok I was in materials supply, but the analogies are the same, never lie, always do your best, and always do what you say you will do. and I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours.
 
During the recessions in the uk of 1990/1991, our competitors were panicking, cutting staff and closing branches [we only had the one] over that period I increased the sales staff and delivery staff and reduced the accountancy dept a little, at the end of it we came out with a higher turn over and better still a higher gross & net return, our competitors[ all run by accountants] could not get it into their thick heads cut prices and broken promises doesn't make you competitive, but telling the truth and if a mistake is made put it on the line.. and tell them sorry John the manufacture let us down, but we are on the case you will get a call tomorrow with the result, or sorry John we Fu** up, I will get it out to you by XXX hrs today/tomorrow or sorry John but your site failed to send in any schedules for this week, give me a couple of hours and I will see what I can do, but above all make sure you do what you said or go back and apologise why you can't and the best offer you can do for a result, through this we extended our customer base, most of whom stuck with us after the recession finished, Ok I was in materials supply, but the analogies are the same, never lie, always do your best, and always do what you say you will do. and I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours.
My grandpa was a crusty old man from Mackan, Ireland. Always said, “be able to sign your name to your work. It’s the strength to take accountability that others fail in. Don’t do that. Even if all you are doing is sweeping floors.”
 

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