My name is Wes Howard and I have been working in and loving the IT for over 20 years. For me the various elements of IT are a natural fit. I originally was drawn to working with it because of my love of working with and building electronic devices. As technical services grew and became a driving force of change in business and leisure I found more challenges outside of just resolving the hardware. As businesses rely on information technology from everything from routine tasks such as payroll or maintaining a competitive edge through logistics systems the challenges that come from innovating, implementing, and maintaining these systems are exciting and provide me with a lot of professional pride.
After college I began working as a phone support for Internet Service Providers - back when modems and Windows 3.11 were the average technology level for household computers. The challenge of helping the end user navigate the troubleshooting process gave me a solid foundation in bringing technical knowledge and customer service together.
I then moved on to supporting more complex systems in more demanding environments. One of the jobs I had that I felt the most professional growth from was supporting the Point of Sale systems for McDonald's Restaurants. The systems used various combinations of Unix, OS/2 Warp, DR DOS, and proprietary operating systems, software, databases, and equipment in a hostile environment. The technical challenges and the needs of the client store to resolve the issue very quickly and prevent interruption to normal business helped me put everything I had learned or done to that point in a new light and I really felt a new phase in my abilities as a professional begin.
I then worked for Microsoft and Dell briefly in support roles before hanging out my own shingle and working as a freelance consultant and technician. I worked with business and personal clients helping them with everything from simple repair and virus removal to multi-machine installs and custom solutions. I had a chance to really experience the variety of ways that computer and information technology is used and how it integrates into a variety of business cultures.
In 2006 I went to work for a small company with large technical needs. I filled every role from Database Administer to telephone technician for as many as 300 people at a time. This was by far the most challenging job I have ever had. I not only had to administer all the servers and workstations, but also the predictive dialer which made over 1 million phone calls a month. I also was tasked with managing the customer contact databases and the SQL servers they were stored on. This meant working closely with sales and business management to come up with strategies on how the databases would be used for our core business needs. Database administration and development and Data analysis were by far the most critical tasks I faced. This was an amazing challenge that forever changed my thinking about technology services in the workplace and has shaped the rest of my career. Unfortunately the economy was not kind businesses built around leisure product sales such as this one, or I might have continued to test myself in this crucible for years to come.