On-campus techies offer peace of mind to students - Metro US

On-campus techies offer peace of mind to students

Every Wednesday for the next month Metro’s Workology section will be featuring a variety of careers that you may not have thought of; jobs in which you stay in college or university after graduating. There are many jobs that make post-secondary institutions hum, here’s but one:

On campuses across Canada, computer and audio-visual technicians are often the go-to people for instant help and a lot of peace of mind.

For many of them, the full-time work provides a satisfying career supported by strong unions, reasonable work hours and a great work environment full of people who share a common bond.

Charlie Pollock, 31, did a psychology degree but always had a knack for fixing computers so when a full-time desktop support technician position opened up at the University of Calgary, he jumped at the chance to make it a job.

Now, four years later, he still loves the challenge of fixing computers and the thrill of the kill when he solves a tough case.

“It’s always changing, never the same. Every day you run into new problems — it’s kind of Sherlock Holmes-ey, you have to do research and take some time to deal with the tougher problems correctly,” Pollock said.

With a plethora of platforms, hardware and software abounding, Pollock says the greatest challenge is often just getting a grip on the specifics of individual situations for which sometimes even the Internet is stumped for answers.

Pollock says his work is less about fixing gadgets and more about people, since the whole point of keeping computers running is to help out the people who need them.

“Our job is largely customer service focused so you don’t want to burn any bridges or make anyone feel stupid. A lot of times people just don’t understand the technology, and that’s fine,” Pollock said.

Spencer Cantley, 30, has been a full-time audio-visual technician at Dalhousie University in Halifax for more than six years and is tasked with loaning and maintaining hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cameras, computers, lighting systems and projectors. For him it’s necessary to always stay in touch with what’s new, but he doesn’t consider it a chore since it forces him to continually learn new things about the technology he loves.

“I’m just constantly learning, and from an electronics standpoint, that’s exciting,” Cantley said, adding the best part of the job is meeting new people every school year.

“Every semester brings new people and I love meeting people. I also love that my job changes on a daily basis — it’s never the exact same thing on any given day,” Cantley said.

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