Not Your Average Techie
Sam Pudi loves working with computer systems. But, surprisingly, it is the real life relationships at the Skokie campus that he enjoys the most about his job.
I am very aware of the less-than-ideal reputation that computer guys have – a little awkward, perhaps shy or geeky, and uncomfortable in social settings. But I can attest that the stereotype doesn’t hold completely true in my computer lab. As a lab coordinator at the Skokie campus, I enjoy helping students, faculty, staff, and administrators with IT issues. We do a lot of troubleshooting, both in the lab and around campus, and being able to communicate effectively with the customer in a personable manner is very important. Interpersonal skills are necessary in this field – despite common misconceptions.
That’s something I try to instill in my student lab assistants. Even though someone has the computer skills to succeed, the social skills need to be there, too. I try to emphasize this to my staff because good customer service skills are valuable in any job role. Eventually the staff will have to deal with real people – not just hardware – and it is important that they know how. While not everyone is born a social butterfly, it is something one can develop and perfect over time.
Aside from teaching the lab assistants how to serve customers, I also provide information regarding software, hardware, and updates. I really enjoy mentoring the lab staff and seeing them advance, many times from a student employee to a part-time position in the lab. There is a strong sense of community at Oakton, and I am always proud to see my co-workers succeed.
Microcomputer Lab Coordinator, Skokie campus