Critical Thinking Habits for the New IT Professional

Posted by Mark Jennings - February 02, 2016 - Tech Trends

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What happens when your company's IT network breaks? Call the IT people, right? But what if you don’t have access to an IT department or company? Or, what if YOU are the new IT Manager receiving the call?

Today's business technology is often mission critical in the organizations where employees spend their time. From Word and Excel to critical business applications, information technology governs our work lives and is increasingly tied to business outcomes and profitability.So when that technology hits a wall, how do you problem solve critical IT concerns?

Regardless of experience, there are a number ways the IT professional can stay cool under pressure. Here's a few tips:

Be Analytical

When things go wrong, tech professionals start using their most important tool: critical thinking. While technology is complex, the issues that arise are often the result of small or simple errors or changes. You can learn from IT pros by adopting an analytical mind-set. Assess the issue and ask yourself questions that start with what you do know – “Email is out. OK, if it was the Internet, I shouldn’t be able to load Google. Nope, Google comes up just fine. So it’s not the Internet. What in the program would cause this? Did I change anything in settings recently?” Start by testing and assessing simple solutions and ruling them out early. Adopting an analytical mind-set will help you narrow the field of possible causes and, in direct result, of possible solutions. Even if you’re unable to positively identify or solve the issue, when you do call for reinforcements, you’ll be able to point them in the right direction.

Be Detail Oriented

No Attachment? Accidental reply all? Professionals who are successful in handling technology are detail oriented. Habits like double checking the attachments and reply fields in emails may not seem like much, but say much about a person’s ability to catch seemingly insignificant details, when assessing network or software problems.

Be Curious

Perhaps a complement to critical thinking is fostering a genuine curiosity. Successfully solving issues is born of a genuine curiosity of how things work and where problems stem from. Curiosity will keep successful IT professionals asking questions and testing solutions long after others have given up.

Be Agile

Agility is an ability to move from one problem to another and back without losing focus on the whole or getting bogged down in details. This isn’t to invalidate the attention to detail, but agility in a new technology worker is invaluable in maintaining perspective on how all those details fit together. It speaks to the inter connectivity of today’s technology and a realization that in the digital world, everything truly is connected and does affect each other.

Be Cool

There will be times when the only rational thing to do when working out a technology problem is to calmly unplug all the wires, take a hammer to keyboard, or utter profanity in the hopes of resolving the issue. Whether you’re starting out in an IT career or working in-house with a company, hold your tongue and keep your cool. Troubleshooting problems can be difficult and frustrating, but keeping your head will not only lead you to an answer sooner, it will earn you the respect of your peers, colleagues, boss, client and a host of other folks who wonder how you were able to make IT look so easy.

There are a number of things new IT professional should know. But all the technical training in the world won’t do a bit of good unless you can carry yourself with poise and approach difficult problems with a level head.

If you’ve ever worked with SymQuest, you’ll know that we place an enormous value on training and certification for all of our employees, regardless of their job title. That training is universally built upon a foundation of sound approach, professionalism and a desire to help our clients. If you're an IT newbie, or a seasoned engineer that is seeking a team to flank your network strategy, contact us today. We are here to help you look good. 

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about the author

Mark Jennings

Mark Jennings is SymQuest’s Area Vice President of IT Sales. Jennings works with SymQuest’s sales and service teams to educate customers on current best practices around data protection, disaster recovery, security, and overall technology planning.

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