It’s safe to say that no company in existence today that has more than a couple of employees can exist without a knowledgeable IT support person or team. When you’re trying to run a website, create a solid technological structure, and keep things running even at the most stressful of times, a strong IT support team can make sure that things don’t go completely haywire at the worst time — or, if it does, that somebody is there to fix it.
The Verge is certainly no different, and so we asked one of the members of Vox Media’s IT team — Eric Arredondo, IT administrator — to tell us a bit about himself and his job.
Eric Arrendondo grew up in Los Angeles, a first-generation Latino American. He moved to New York City when he was 18 in order to attend art school and worked in technology retail before transitioning to Vox Media.
What do you do for Vox Media?
I am an IT administrator for our IT service desk team. I help manage and support the internal systems, applications, and hardware that keep the company operating. My team’s responsibilities cover a wide range of needs to support our various networks and departments, ranging from hardware asset management like the company computers to employee account creation or email support. Essentially, our work is to help everyone do their best work.
How has your job changed during the pandemic?
Our general mission has remained the same, for the most part, but supporting our company entirely remotely has brought up new challenges. We definitely ship a lot more than ever, supporting our company’s current work-from-home environment and trying our best to give the same level of service as we would in the office. We try to help supply any equipment necessary for users to get their work done and emulate the office experience at home as best as possible.
Interestingly enough, it’s sometimes the small things that used to take a few minutes to do in person that have proven to be the most challenging. For example, in the old times, I could just walk over to a user’s desk and assist right away, whereas now it’s much more hands-off, talking a user through troubleshooting over Slack or Zoom. Additionally, in the office, we can control the network that the team connects to and utilizes — it’s easier than dealing with each user’s own respective ISPs and router issues.
We’ve always been a pretty remote-friendly company, though, which helped my team with the transition to fully remote work. It’s definitely made us more efficient than ever, too.
What hardware tools do you and your colleagues use?
Generally, everything we need to do can be done via our computers, with most of our admin work being done via software or SAAS (software as a service) apps. I work on an M1-equipped MacBook Air, and while I have a desk with a monitor and such, I’ll generally work all over my apartment, sometimes from the backyard. I do have a loud mechanical keyboard, a Keychron K2, that sits at my desk with fun lights and a lot of key travel. It’s something I probably wouldn’t have put my office neighbors through, but at home, I’ll happily type on a loud, clicky keyboard.
I also use an Apple Magic Trackpad 2, as I prefer it to an external mouse, and use a Rain Design mStand360 to prop up my computer at my desk. I could probably do with a more supportive desk chair, but I sit in a Supreme director’s chair in my WFH office, mostly because I like how it looks.
My label printer, a Dymo LabelWriter 4XL, has also been getting a lot of use during the pandemic, in regards to the aforementioned shipments.
What software tools do you and your colleagues use?
Slack is probably the obvious one, along with Gmail and other Google Workspace services. Aside from using those tools ourselves, we also serve as admins in those environments with elevated management permissions, providing support and guidance to the various users and teams who use them.
We use Zendesk as our ticketing service, using it to manage all the various requests we get from across the company. Another tool we utilize is JAMF, a hardware management tool we have installed on all company computers, and that is useful for widespread asset management, pushing out software and policies, as well as installing our various security tools remotely.
If someone wanted to get into IT, how would you suggest they go about it?
I got my training, experience, and certifications originally from my retail work. But there are a lot of online resources that can help you get an idea of what modern companies expect from a technology perspective, and what skills can be developed, such as ITPro.tv, an online learning center for IT standards and certifications, as well as tutorial videos on Lynda (now called LinkedIn Learning) or even Youtube for specific applications.
The job is pretty evenly split between technical knowledge and customer service, so you also have to be really good at talking to people, being able to support and guide with both empathy and confidence.