What is an IT Professional and How Should You Hire One?
If you run a business and use computers in any part of your operating process, then you need to have an IT professional available. Whether that person is on-call or on-site, you’re going to need someone to help when things go awry.
Today, information technology is used to record sales, pay bills, keep track of inventory, compute payroll, and much more. And when problems occur, you’re going to want a specialist that you can trust to solve them. Not just the first name you find in a Google search.
We understand that it can be a bit daunting to pick a reliable IT professional. Luckily, we’re here to help. Continue reading and we’ll walk you through what an IT specialist is and how to hire the right one for your business.
What is an IT Professional?
IT professionals help with all aspects of information technology. In this section, we’ll go through the different areas that an IT professional may be useful for your business.
Like it or not, software and hardware don’t always work the way that they’re supposed to. And a good portion of us don’t have the technical capabilities to isolate and solve the problems that are occurring. This is where IT professionals come in handy. And many of them are even available 24/7.
IT professionals who specialize in computer support know how to solve both common and complex computer issues. And most of the time, they can even handle the problem remotely.
If the problem doesn’t seem too complicated, they can likely fix it by walking an employee through the steps that need to be taken. A computer specialist that partners with your company may even be able to access your computer system remotely and fix it themselves.
However, an IT specialist can also come into the office to solve problems that are too difficult to do remotely. A competent IT technician can set up and install computing tech and also perform repairs.
They should also be able to train employees on how to operate new software and hardware. This includes sending and receiving emails, using printers, and operating word-processing systems.
Your company’s IT professional is responsible for keeping information and communications working smoothly. Your specialist should be the one who is choosing your office’s software and hardware and supervising the setup and installation.
Your network administrator should design your systems so that they are maximizing productivity while decreasing costs. They will also ensure that your employees’ technology is functioning properly. And they will maintain and fix any problems with the network and computer security systems.
Security has never been more important for companies. In fact, according to a recent survey by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, just 13% of business owners thought they were the subjects of cybersecurity attacks. Yet, after being shown a list of different types of attacks, that number jumped to 58%.
This survey doesn’t just underscore the importance of being protected, but also how easy it is to misunderstand cybersecurity. A competent IT technician, on the other hand, will know exactly what constitutes a cyberattack. They’ll be able to protect your company and also find if any breaches were incurred.
Cyberattacks can cost you big time. When you’re the victim of a data breach, hackers can steal your company’s bank information and also the bank information of your customers. This can further damage your balance sheet as no customers want to do business with a company with weak security.
When Equifax was hacked in 2017, the data of 147 million clients was compromised. And the company had to pay hundreds of millions in settlement costs. They’re still working to win back the trust of their customers.
A security specialist can design computer software so that your systems have firewalls and data encryption.
Many businesses are moving their data to the cloud. This makes access to important information more easily available while also saving physical space in the office.
Moving data to the cloud isn’t just dragging and dropping. You’ll have to have a specialist design, build, and plan your installation. Each business is unique and you’re going to need a technician who thoroughly understands your needs and how you operate.
Security and access are paramount for the successful use of cloud computing. The technician will have to give proper clearances to teams and individuals.
A computer is only as good as its software. And software is only as good as the person who develops it. This is one reason why having a reliable technician is so important.
A software developer will work with other IT professionals in order to make applications that will optimize your company’s productivity.
Most positions for IT professionals require that they at least have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar area. More complex positions can demand a master’s degree.
Cisco Certified Network Associate
A Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification will show an employer that the technician can install, set up, and use enterprise-level switches and routers. These specialists are skilled in finding and fixing common network issues.
Many systems administrators, network administrators, and network engineers have CCNA certifications.
Comp TIA A+ Technician
A technician with this certification can perform standard maintenance on personal and business laptops, computers, mobile devices, and operating systems. This is a fairly common and basic certification.
A technician with a Network+ certification can manage, design, and fix wired and wireless networks. They typically work as help-desk support.
How to Hire an IT Professional
As we can clearly see, hiring an IT services professional is crucial to successfully run a business. However, not just any specialist will do.
We’re dealing with sensitive information and operations that are vital to a functioning business. So you’re going to need someone who can both understand your business needs and then execute.
Know What You Need
Before searching for an IT professional, clearly define what it is you want from an IT specialist. Not all specialists are equal and the right technician for one industry or company may not be the best one for yours.
A new company that’s just starting out will likely have different needs than an established one that’s opening a second office.
Look in the Right Places
Knowing where to look for the right job candidate isn’t always easy. Because IT is an umbrella that covers a variety of jobs, you want your employment ads to be specific.
This way, the job candidates will know what you’re looking for. You can use standard employment websites or more niche sites that cater specifically to IT workers.
Networking and getting referrals is also a great way to find qualified candidates.
Look for Experience and Credentials
Your company’s IT specialist should be accredited with some kind of IT school or program. Research what program they were certified at and see if those certifications will translate to what your company requires.
Experience is also crucial when hiring a full-time technical professional. Having certifications is important but when emergencies come up, your technician is going to have to know how to react and they’re going to have to do it quickly. You’ll feel more comfortable with someone who has been through similar problems before.
Interview in Person
When you have several candidates that you like, set up in-person interviews. A good candidate should enjoy what they do and exhibit good communication skills. They’re going to have to clearly explain how systems work to your employees and you want to make sure they can do that.
They’re also likely going to have to talk with vendors at some point in time. An off-putting or rude technician can hurt your chances of negotiating for lower prices.
It’s a good idea to finish the interview with some kind of test. Ask the candidate to install and design software from scratch. They should do it as if they were doing it as a hired technician for your company.
You don’t want a technician who can simply design software. But that software needs to be suited for the longterm. It should be adaptable and upgradeable.
Understanding What an IT Professional Brings to Your Business
Retaining the services of an IT professional isn’t optional for operating a business. It’s a necessity.
This is why it’s so important to understand what an IT professional does and how their specialties can differ. When you’re looking to hire a technician, make sure you look for the appropriate qualities and ask questions relevant to your business.
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