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When did you work in IT support at the Department of Chemistry?

I worked for Chemistry/Scott Polar between 2014 and 2017

What were your main duties?

My main role was working at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) as their onsite Computer Officer. Although the Institute technically belongs to Geography, proximity meant that it would receive more immediate support from the Chemistry department for its networking and general support needs. 

What did you most enjoy when you worked in the IT team?

This is very difficult to answer as I would say it was one of my most favourite roles.  From an IT perspective, I loved the diversity and autonomy of the role.  With the amazing support from the Chemistry IT Team, I was involved with very basic tasks such as computer rollout, to more complex tasks of writing wpkg packages for software upgrades. I also enjoyed the project management of the AV refit in the lecture theatre that our users were delighted with when finished.

From a personal perspective, the department is one of the most interesting to work in. The people are delightful and so knowledgeable about all things Polar.  I developed a love of the Polar regions that I never knew existed within me. This made going to work each day a real pleasure as you never knew what you were going to learn next. 

What did you find the greatest challenge?

There is a lot of work at the Institute and the role was only part time, so it could be difficult to keep on top of the load. But by introducing a new self-help wiki and a cupboard for IT consumables, we encouraged users to be more self-reliant in my absence.  This was reflected in the decrease of tickets, particularly when I was on annual leave, meaning the workload did not impact my colleagues in my absence. 

What did you learn working in the IT team?

The biggest benefit for me was the huge level of knowledge from the Chemistry IT Team.  Many processes are automated, but knowledge was still required to feed processes into that automation. Had I been on my own, I would have struggled, but the IT team have experience and knowledge from general advice on IT support, through to more complex infrastructure issues such as networking, software rollout and Windows Profile issues. It was a huge learning curve, and it has been useful to promote these ideas and strategies in other departments when I moved on. 

What are you up to now?

Since leaving Chemistry, I spent 2 years working for the Institute Support Service in the UIS. This was a huge benefit. I learned how the UIS operates and had some wonderful opportunities to network with people in the UIS. 
Those networks have been a real support to me when in 2020, I became Front Line IT Services Manager of the Human, Social and Political Sciences Faculty (HSPS).

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