A Day in the Life of an IT Professional
Writing code, fixing network bugs, or collaborating with team members to release products on schedule… every day holds new challenges. Shadow an IT professional through a “typical” day.
The title of “IT professional” covers a diverse range of jobs. Software engineer, IT administrator, programmer, web designer, Java developer, network analyst — the list goes on. While the exact duties of an IT professional vary widely depending on his or her specific niche, most people working in IT today have one thing in common: a hard time explaining their jobs to non-tech folks.
“Every IT job has its own jargon. My coworkers’ eyes tend to glaze over when I try to explain a specific network problem or software failure,” says Max Pollard, a network analyst at a major telecommunications company in Jacksonville, Florida.
“Basically, my job is to ensure reliable communication services throughout the company,” he explains. His day-to-day tasks include maintaining telephone lines, voice mail systems and telephone switchboards, managing external network data links, and planning for any projected growth in network traffic. He is also responsible for ensuring the security of the network.
Like most IT professionals, Pollard often works long hours and must be prepared to shift priorities rapidly. However, the rewards of the job are more than enough compensation for him. “I love technology and I love making things run smoothly behind the scenes. People may not ‘get’ what I do, but they respect it,” he says.
Pollard shares a general overview of he does in the course of a typical day:
9:00 a.m. Read e-mails, check voicemails, and flag important messages. Skim through RSS feed reader to keep abreast of any interesting developments in the technology world. Create prioritized to-do list, including leftover tasks remaining from yesterday (or earlier).
11:00 a.m. Meet with colleagues, team members, or clients. Meetings may involve translating something technical to people who are unfamiliar with the jargon, or helping coworkers learn how to use company-specific technologies.
12:30 p.m. Grab lunch with colleagues or head out for a lunch meeting with vendors or clients.
1:30 p.m. The rest of the day depends on the specific projects and tasks at hard. Network analysts like Pollard may spend some time purchasing new development applications, updating protocols, adding network servers, or reallocating network resources. Pollard also tests the company’s firewalls to be sure internal communications are kept private and secure. Throughout the day, several colleagues approach him for help with connectivity issues or software trouble-shooting.
Pollard explains that other IT professionals, such as programmers, will spend the bulk of their day writing, rewriting, and editing code. They fix bugs and correct code submitted by other team members. Web designers may produce web sites, present design prototypes to clients, and collaborate with coders. Software engineers design and develop software systems based on the needs of users.
6:00 p.m. Go home. The workday may not end here, as deadlines or unexpected emergencies may keep an IT professional working into the wee hours.