What inspired you to join IT Services/Oxford University?
Before working for the University, I had been working in the hospitality industry. While working as a night manager I was keeping my eyes open for opportunities that would allow me to work more sociable hours; if I could avoid ‘shift work’ or working on weekends, that would be a bonus. It did not take long for me to spot a university role that I thought would suit me perfectly and had just the right blend of working hours. I applied to work at the Department of Chemistry as their Events and Conferences Manager and once I was offered the role, I never looked back.
What was your journey to the position you now hold?
I’m from Maidenhead and came to Oxford to study Human Biology and Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. After graduating I worked in hospitality for two years, spending a year working for an exclusive membership club near Chipping Norton, six months being the receptionist for a hotel with a Michelin starred restaurant and another six months as a night manager for a hotel close to Iffley Road.
I joined Oxford University's Chemistry Department as Conferences and Events Coordinator in 2017. Around two years later I applied to join the Central IT Service Desk where I helped support the entire University for nearly three years. In 2021, I made the move from the frontline of the Service Desk to the role of Azure and Dynamics Platform Senior Support Developer in the Dynamics 365 team.
What do you enjoy about working here?
IT Services is a department that has so much variety within it despite being quite focused in what it delivers. You can talk to most of the department about something technical and they’ll be able to follow along but there are also people passionate about running, knitting, video games, orchestra, photography etc. You name it, someone in the department is an expert on it. It’s a very positive environment.
On Service Desk, I never knew who would be on the phone from one moment to the next – it was all about problem solving at great pace. One minute I could be speaking to a retiree from Worcester College, the next it’s a student calling from the US, each with totally unique problems. In terms of the learning curve, I would say that Service Desk was all about knowing 5% of 300 different things. It’s incredibly satisfying when you feel able to confidently answer almost any IT query thrown at you, even if the answer is simply “turn it off and on again”!
In my new role I need 100% of the knowledge on five things (it’s way more than five, but you get my meaning). Customer service and communication is at the heart of both roles, but in every other way they are completely different. Although I am still learning, I’m always keen to develop my knowledge and challenge myself and so for me the move has been a real joy.
What advice would you give someone thinking about applying to work at IT Services or the University?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! I was so sure I was underqualified for this role; partly because of how differently it was graded compared to my last role, plus the fact I had been unsuccessful with several other internal applications at the equivalent salary grade. However, despite my lack of technical know-how, my manager saw that I was professionally a strong candidate and so was happy to under fill the role and invest in training me up in the short term. I would urge people to reach beyond what you think they are capable of.