In our next Sector Spotlight on the IT and Communications industry we hear from Graeme Scollay who is Operations Manager at RM Computing.
After leaving school, Graeme worked at a BT call centre in Thurso which included various roles which led onto him pursuing a career in IT. He moved into a role on the IT Helpdesk for another business in Thurso, developing his skills and knowledge and progressing to a Team Leader role. Graeme returned to Orkney in 2017, joining RM Computing as IT Support Team Leader before progressing into his current role.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as Operations Manager?
The day always begins with a coffee and our morning team meeting. We use this as a platform to set out everyone’s tasks for the day and make sure that we all have a clear picture on how things will look for the morning – which, in the world of IT, is often rolled up into a ball and thrown out the window by 9.30am as phone calls and e-mails start come into the Helpdesk!
The lion’s share of my day is spent responding to incoming requests and resolving ongoing problems for the businesses we look after. Having said that, I have been known to put on the Sales hat on occasion and arrange quotes/purchases of new kit for our clients also.
Throughout the day, I try to ‘steer the ship’ so to speak in terms of our resourcing and making sure that, although our situation may deviate from our initial plan, that we still are making sure that we have engineers working on the required support/project jobs. I monitor our incoming ticket queue and make sure that all work is assigned and being progressed appropriately.
We also have a ’close of play’ meeting at the end of the day, just a quick 15 minute debrief with the team to see how the day has gone, what we have achieved and where we need to pick up from the next morning.
How did you end up in this role?
Like many, I worked a couple of years in a supermarket during my last years at school and then moved into full time work at the BT call centre in Thurso shortly after I left.
I worked there for around eight years covering a number of roles including an Online Advisor, a Team Leader/Coach and, after undertaking an internal BT Management Training Scheme, laterally a Substitute Team Manager. My time there was spent covering work across a variety of different desks including PSTN Faults, Billing and Broadband Technical.
During my time at there, as a technical-minded person, I decided that I would like to pursue a career in IT.
A job came up for a new IT Helpdesk that was opening in Thurso as part of operations for an Aberdeen based firm called Escape Business Technologies (now part of Cegal Group) which I applied for and, ultimately, got.
I worked there for eight years gaining valuable on the job experience and Microsoft qualifications giving me the opportunity to move into a senior role heading up the Helpdesk as Team Leader.
In 2017, myself and my family decided the time was right for a move back home to Orkney and I took on a role as the IT Support Team Leader here at RM and have since been promoted to Operations Manager for the company.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job, and our line of work in general, is presenting people with solutions to their issues. As someone inclined to enjoy problem solving, being given the opportunity to find a fix to an issue that someone has come to you with is very rewarding.
What is the worst thing about your job?
This sounds like a cliché but the fact that there simply aren’t enough hours in a day! The curse/blessing with working in IT is that there are ALWAYS improvements to be made on a client’s network so whether you are dealing with proactive or reactive work, there is plenty to keep you busy – and that’s before you even begin to get into looking after the team and other internal tasks!
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
Technical skills, problem solving, adaptability and perseverance are right up there, obviously.
I think most folk tend to believe that those of us that are technically minded are reclusive and holed away in dark basements when, in fact, communication skills are ranked highly in desirable qualities working in IT!
Being able to communicate clearly and concisely with both end users and the rest of the team is key when fact finding and relaying information through both channels.
What qualifications do you have?
I am a Microsoft Certified Professional having passed many desktop/server side exams through work, as well as various other workplace training courses through the years.
I also have Highers in English, Maths and Graphic Communication from High School.
Would you recommend this job to young people?
Absolutely. There are so many different types of opportunities within our fast-paced and ever-evolving industry that you are sure to find something that piques your interest.
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