One of the joys of travel is the unfamiliarity of your surroundings. There's nothing more adrenalizing than suddenly being catapulted into a strange new land where everyone is babbling at you in a language you don't know. Most travellers know that the best way of coping is by smiling a lot, pointing at new foods and activities you want to try and be willing to laugh and eat a lot. It's all part of the experience.
This culture shock is something many of us experience when trying to hire a tech guy for the first time too. But it's much more stressful than a vacation. After all, IT guys (and it's nearly always guys) are a strange, if charming species of people who seem to communicate in a language all their own. They speak jargon and talk in code. Even a look at their resume is a glimpse into another dimension. What on earth are MCSEs or MCSAs? Is wide ranging experience in LANs and SQL a good thing to have? Oh brave new world that has such people in it - said Shakespeare, and the only tech help he needed was a penknife.
The problem is, that in an emergency you don't want to have to learn a whole new culture. You want your IT fixed and fixed fast by someone you know has the experience to help you and the professionalism to do it well.
Well, as always, the team at Capstone IT are here to help you out. Read this blog which will help you navigate the tricky world of tech hire so you get the best possible service and a lovely loyal IT nerd of your own. And we're not being rude. We love and rely on our tech guys here at Capstone and wouldn't want them to change.
First of all, it's worth knowing that there are a heck of a lot of computer technicians out there looking for work - you can find thousands across New York, Buffalo and Rochester. But they are not all created equally. This is because, rather shockingly, the computer consultant and repair profession is not regulated and there are no industry standards in place. That doesn't mean everyone is a charlatan or snake oil merchant. Most technicians are skilled and hardworking people with a great deal of industry experience. So let's work out how to find these gems and get the best help possible.
Qualifications, experience and references
There are a lot of courses out there that allow technicians to achieve certification, some offered by educational institutes and some by vendors such as Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, Dell etc. The vendor specific ones may be highly useful if that's the help you need, but it's worth remembering that a techie with great Microsoft experience, may not be as helpful with your Macs.
There is a vendor neutral certification offered by CompTIA, but what you really want is someone who has a college or university IT degree - though this is more likely to be the guy running an IT company than the techie seeking work and advertizing in YELP. Check the meaning of certifications people claim to have by doing a little Googling and remember that in most cases, it's their experience that matters most.
Yes, a bit of paper are no real match for real world experience. You want to know how good they are at what they do, how long they've actually been managing IT and if they can give you references for other companies they worked at. Most professional technicians will provide references and it's worth taking some time out to call the people who gave them. Ask the references what work was done and whether it was done well and worth the price charged. People are usually happy to help, and it goes a long way towards hiring a person you could end up working with for many years.
What's their speciality?
IT is now such a wide area that you can't expect one IT engineer to know it all. As we've said, many will hold vendor specific certifications that show they are experienced in repairing Macs or Windows machines. It's worth taking some time to learn a few of the abbreviations. ACSP for example is an Apple Certified Support Professional, MCSE is a Microsoft Certified Professional, etc. Also ask what brands they have worked with or if they have partnerships with certain vendors. At the end of the day, you want someone who will be familiar with your setup.
How much they charge
As a business professional yourself, you know that you are going to have to pay more for a good job. Getting your overworked nephew to try and fix your computers, simply because you know he did a course at school won't get you the best results. Most technicians are qualified people who've worked hard to get where they are and would be insulted by you trying to lowball them. But then again, you don't want to get ripped off by someone who blinds you with jargon when all that's really needed is a basic repair. Ask in advance if it's an hourly fee, or a charge for the service. Also find out if travel time or callout charges are included. If you think you already know the source of a problem, it’s worth asking for the IT guy to troubleshoot it and then get back with an estimate of cost.
How is their documentation and follow up support?
A professional technician will track any changes they make on computers and devices they are fixing, so that you know what settings have been changed and can easily get back to working as you're used to. If your technician tells you that you'll get a full report at the end of every job that lists hardware installed or changes made, you know you're dealing with a professional.
A technician who is confident in their skills will also guarantee their work for a certain period of time and should be willing to make follow up visits if there are any more problems with their repair. Before you hire the technician, ask about follow up support and get any promises in writing.
If you follow these guidelines, you'll more than likely end up taking on a technician you can trust with your company's IT. What's more, the longer the relationship, the more you will get out of it, as they will come to know what you expect from your computers and what your goals are.
Why not take on a full time team?
And if all of this sounds like a hassle, you can always hand over your IT to experts like the team here at Capstone IT. For a low monthly fee, we can ensure your computers are working well, and we're able to carry out all manner of repairs if something does go wrong. The advantage of using a Managed Service Provider like us is that you can draw on a deeper pool of expertise than you'd get from a technician running a one-man business. We have a team who can fix Macs, PCs and anything in between, and we boast certifications in many different software platforms - and you get all this for a predictable monthly fee.
Sitima Fowler, CEO of Capstone IT says, "Finding good help is always hard. But when you're a busy business owner who's not tech savvy but needs fast and timely IT help, it can be a stressful and time consuming affair. We want to help - and whether you choose to work with our team for the longer term, or just want a fast response from an expert who speaks your language, we are always at your service."
Want to learn more about how Capstone IT can help with your computer and tech issues? Why not call up the Capstone team? We can answer all of your questions, and best of all we do so in jargon-free English. Contact us at [email protected] or call at 585-546-4120.