Information-Systems Operations and Administration
Another group of information-systems professionals is involved in the day-to-day operations and administration of IT. These people must keep the systems running and up-to-date so that the rest of the organization can make the most effective use of these resources.
A computer operator is a person who keeps large computers running. This person’s job is to oversee the mainframe computers and data centers in organizations. Some of their duties include keeping the operating systems up to date, ensuring available memory and disk storage, and overseeing the physical environment of the computer. Since mainframe computers increasingly have been replaced with servers, storage management systems, and other platforms, computer operators’ jobs have grown broader and include working with these specialized systems.
A database administrator (DBA) is the person who manages the databases for an organization. This person creates and maintains databases that are used as part of applications or the data warehouse. The DBA also consults with systems analysts and programmers on projects that require access to or the creation of databases.
Most mid-size to large organizations have their own information-technology help desk. The help desk is the first line of support for computer users in the company. Computer users who are having problems or need information can contact the help desk for assistance. Many times, a help-desk worker is a junior-level employee who does not necessarily know how to answer all of the questions that come his or her way. In these cases, help-desk analysts work with senior-level support analysts or have a computer knowledge base at their disposal to help them investigate the problem at hand. The help desk is a great place to break into working in IT because it exposes you to all of the different technologies within the company. A successful help-desk analyst should have good people and communications skills, as well as at least junior-level IT skills.
A computer trainer conducts classes to teach people specific computer skills. For example, if a new ERP system is being installed in an organization, one part of the implementation process is to teach all of the users how to use the new system. A trainer may work for a software company and be contracted to come in to conduct classes when needed; a trainer may work for a company that offers regular training sessions, or a trainer may be employed full time for an organization to handle all of their computer instruction needs. To be successful as a trainer, you need to be able to communicate technical concepts well and also have a lot of patience!