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My First 5 Months as a Technical Services Placement

By Shiraz Siddiqui on Wed 31 March 2021 in Placement Blog

 My First 5 Months as a Tedhnical Services Placement

Hear from Shiraz to find out what it’s like to be part of our fast-moving Technical team!

Hey everyone, my name’s Shiraz and I’m currently studying Computer Network Engineering at the University of Derby. Now that I’m 5 months into my placement at ProspectSoft, (where has the time gone?!), I have a much better understanding of the ins and outs of my daily role compared to when I first started. Due to Covid-19, we haven’t had the traditional placement experience – but the team at ProspectSoft have made sure we’re still able to get as much as possible out of our placement!

Back when we started in November, we were office-based (socially distanced, of course) which was a great opportunity to get to know my fellow placements! Although everyone was just a Teams call away, we always had a permanent member of staff on hand to help us with any queries we had about our work, which made all the difference. However, as Covid cases in the UK began to rise rapidly, we soon had to move to remote working – like everything related to Covid-19, this transition happened quickly and caught us by surprise with the Government putting our area into Tier 4 overnight. 
Despite the short notice, ProspectSoft supplied us with any equipment we needed to work from home effectively and have continued to support us with any hurdles faced during our placement.

My job role can be easily summarised by something I was told on my first day; “Every time you feel like you have a better understanding of the work, there will always be something new that will catch you off guard, that you haven’t been told or can’t recall. When you truly have a complete understanding of the job it will be time to go back to Uni”. And every week that I learn something new or can’t recall something I’ve been told before, I think back to this and find it resonates even more. 

Back in March when I got the call to say I’d been chosen for this role I was so excited…but it was quickly followed by a sudden feeling of anxiety. I realised I needed to ensure everything was sorted in preparation of the job. Starting the role was very nerve-wracking for me as an international student – moving to a part of the UK that I’d never been to before, alongside familiarising myself with everything in time to start my placement was daunting to say the least. But it was made much easier by the team at ProspectSoft. They helped guide us along the way – from giving us top tips on securing accommodation, right through to the potential transport options for making our way into the office.

Prior to working at ProspectSoft, I’d previously worked as a Customer Centre Analyst for my University’s IT department, so I stepped into my role as a Customer Service Technician with some previous knowledge. At first, I thought I’d pick up the new role easily – but I soon realised I was very wrong! On paper, this job is similar to my previous one, but very different when you actually get stuck into it. My previous gig mainly involved handling IT queries, logging them and passing them onto the IT department. Whilst some of those tasks feature in this role, most of the time it’s me or someone in my team who deals with the issue at hand. And that’s what makes this job stand out – you’re actually doing the same work that a permanent employee in your position does – placements are given the same opportunities and responsibilities as permanent members of staff here which is amazing.

Back in December when we initially started to work from home, it felt very isolating as I felt we were still in the beginning phase of our roles. We all still had a lot to learn, and working on-site, having someone within arms-reach to ask questions of was something we found very helpful. I didn’t realise the full extent of working from home during the first few days, as we finished for Christmas just a couple of days after we started working remotely. During this time, I travelled back to my country for the Christmas holidays – but little did I know that during my stay, the UK lockdown would be more harshly imposed, causing me to stay back in my country. This was very daunting at first, as I had to figure out my whole work set-up and manage the complexities of working in a different time zone (4 hours ahead of the UK). But as always, ProspectSoft were very supportive and understanding of my situation. They accommodated me staying here, working 4,000 miles away from the office, which I’m still doing as we speak!

Even though I’m currently the furthest away from everyone, the team have still managed to make it feel like we’re all still close-knit. Our virtual office environment is available to anyone in the Support team – whether it’s to talk about a ticket they’re stuck on, an issue they’re facing or just to mention the squirrel outside their house (which won’t leave no matter how much they try to get rid of it). Any discussion – from tickets to squirrels – is welcome.

When I started my placement the role mainly required me to take calls, note them down and create a ticket. If it was an easy fix, the person who was on-site would explain how to fix the issue, or at least provide enough information for someone else to pick it up and resolve. To think that as placements, we’ve gone from that to now completing tickets independently is immense! This doesn’t indicate the toughness of the job, but it proves how quickly you can pick things up here and are given responsibility to do it on your own, which I feel indicates how much trust the company put into their placement students. At this stage of my placement, I’m undertaking work which requires me to handle customer servers and databases. Although this is complex, the support from the team around me has really helped. 

During training we learnt lots of information about the CRM, but even with all that information you can still feel like you know nothing when faced with a ticket. But you’ve got to remember that for any problem/query a customer throws at you, there’s always a way to get some information to help you solve it. Whether it be looking at similar tickets logged before, checking guides the team have written, or asking someone for advice. To put it simply, you get out what you put in!

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