UW Information Technology

Lynn, Computer Support Specialist


What the title really means

Monitoring and troubleshooting network systems

The job

I work in Computer Operations, where nine of us work different shifts to monitor the computer and environmental systems in the UW data centers 24/7. When I see an alarm on our monitoring systems that something is not working right, I go into action. If I need additional support, I escalate the situation to an incident or urgent request. My role is to be the liaison between the engineers, developers and customers to ensure open communication and timely follow-up

My group also provides help desk support on weekends and off-hours, or any other time when our main 221-5000 help number is overloaded with calls. The help I provide to our students, faculty and staff varies widely, from a simple password reset to explaining an application or tool constraints.

A typical day

Monitoring, troubleshooting, triaging—it’s a variety. You never know what a day is going to be like.

A few years ago, on New Year’s Day, I was working by myself when one of the environmental systems in the data center went haywire. It was one of those unexpected things we deal with. Although it was difficult because it was a holiday, I was able to reach our on-call support and ensure the incident was resolved. You just never know what to expect when you come into work.

Career tool box essentials

Being alert, attentive to details and proactive—to follow the records and ensure the incident is making progress and being addressed so nothing gets dropped—are key. Making decisions quickly is important.

You have to be willing to learn—including how to use tools for monitoring, identity and access, service management and more—and to follow instructions and procedures for escalation and execution.

Documentation skills are especially essential for me since I only work two days a week and others need to be able to keep up with what happened on my shift.

I love the UW because

I like the people and I like the work that I do, but mostly I like that every day is a learning opportunity. At the end of the day I can look back and reflect on new experiences.

It’s also rewarding knowing that the work is appreciated. Our customers often express thanks when we restore service or help them troubleshoot issues.

Life/work balance, you say?

I really enjoy playing volleyball, tennis and basketball. Volleyball is fun because our whole family enjoys the sport. My husband and I have been playing together ever since we met and play in a recreational league. And both of my daughters played volleyball.

I also love Zumba. It’s a high-impact combination of salsa, dance and aerobic exercise, and it’s got an uplifting beat!

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