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My Experience Working as an It Deskside Engineer in Singapore

I have three years of experience with cryptocurrency and investments (but I am not a financial advisor).

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The different roles in IT

IT is a broad industry and there are many roles in IT. You could be a network engineer, you could be a systems administrator, or you could even be in tech support.

Despite the different roles in IT, they all have one common objective. To ensure a smooth workflow for the organisation, and they must work hand in hand to achieve the greatest user satisfaction.

For this article, I won't go into much detail about all the roles listed above. To read up more about the different job scopes of each role, feel free to refer to this article, where it covers almost everything.

https://www.newhorizons.com/article/7-it-roles-every-modern-company-needs-to-stay-competitive

What is a Deskside Engineer?

What I will cover today specifically is my experience working as a deskside engineer at one of the IT firms in Singapore. As usual, I will not provide the name of this company.

A Deskside Engineer is an engineer who supports the various devices being used by end-users. It can be desktops, printers, scanners and even specialised equipment used by that company. Deskside Engineers will cover both the hardware and software side of things, but in the company that I am working for, we do not repair any hardware defects. This is managed by another company, so on my side, we will just handle the software side of things.

What is the daily routine of a Deskside Engineer?

In the company that I am employed in, other than the fixed schedule of 8 am - 6 pm, we do not have any fixed tasks that have to be completed. For us, we work based on tickets. Some days you will receive plenty of tickets, whereas some days, you will receive barely any tickets.

Different sites will contain a different number of engineers to support the site. For the site I am located in, there were only 3 engineers who are supporting close to a thousand users. Like it or not, the 3 engineers here will have to work hand in hand to resolve the issues the users are experiencing. Some tickets can be easily resolved, whereas some can be a challenging issue.

Another thing to take note of, the end-users computers are managed by the company I am employed in, but the overall systems' infrastructure is managed by another company. This may create problems for us, as the systems' infrastructure team do not care what changes they pushed down to the end-users.

My colleagues and I also share a common office where we work on time-consuming issues. In our company, the users will just contact the helpdesk and the helpdesk will attempt to rectify their issue but in the event, they are not able to rectify it, they will create a ticket and assign it to any of the available engineers. Once we receive the tickets, we will then proceed to the user's location to rectify their issue. We do not have any walk-in service where users can just drop by and expect our engineers to fix it on the spot.

Priorities

For a busy day with multiple tickets, how do I decide which tickets to prioritise? There is no right or wrong answer to this, and it depends entirely on the way you work. For me, I prioritise based on location and the nature of the ticket. For instance, if I am attending to a ticket at level 7, I will prioritise those tickets who are at level 7 or close by. If there are 2 tickets at level 7, I will attend to the ticket which I deem as more severe. Severe tickets in my definition are those which prevents users from being able to get any job done.

Example: There are two users, A and B. User A reported issues with her laptop mouse not being able to work. User B reported an issue where her laptop is not able to power on. Guess which user will I be attending to first. The answer is user B. As user A is using a laptop, there is a higher chance that they can use the trackpad while waiting for a mouse replacement. Whereas user B is unable to do any work without a working laptop.

Oh yes, there are instances where the ticket includes words such as urgent. Well not trying to be rude or anything but these types of tickets normally fall under my least priority list. I mean, everybody's issue is urgent one way or another, you do not have to tell us your issue is more urgent than other users.

Schedule

8 am - 9 am: Report to the office and log in to check if there are already any tickets pending. At the same time, reading up or watch videos to get updates on my investments.

9 am - 1 pm: Attending to tickets. In the event there are no tickets present, I will be sitting in my office and improving the workflow of the computers.

1 pm - 2 pm: Lunch Break

2 pm - 4 pm: Attending to tickets or optimising the computer's workflow.

4 pm - 4.30 pm: Coffee Break

4.30 pm - 6 pm: Attending the last few tickets. In the event, there are no new tickets, by 530 pm I will have already left the office to not waste time.

Assisting Colleagues

As we share the same office, in the event there are laptops or desktops that are left unattended in our office, I will naturally go over to check what the issue is and to follow up with whatever issue that computer is facing. We have to optimise our teamwork in order to ensure minimal downtime for users.

Scripting or other additional tasks

For myself, during the period where there are not many tickets, I will take the time to think through the past issues that users were facing and try to come up with certain scripts which can help prevent such issues from happening again. Sure, this is not the most optimal solution, but as mentioned previously, the overall systems' infrastructure is managed by another company, and they will not really adapt to the problems users are facing, hence I will have to take time to think of better solutions to adapt to the changes made by that company.

Career Progression

When it comes to career progression, there is no fixed route that you may take. It really depends on what is your preference and also the company you are working for.

For the company that I am employed in, there are a few stages in the Deskside Engineer role that you may wish to aim for.

  1. Helpdesk
  2. IMAC (Install, Move, Add Change)
  3. Deskside Engineer
  4. Premium Support Engineer
  5. Assistant Team Lead
  6. Team Lead

These are the positions that we can aim for in the company that I am employed in. So, what comes next after being a Team Lead? Well, this is where you decide your career path. Are you okay with remaining as a Team Lead and aiming to become a Site Manager? Or do you wish to move on to be a Network Engineer or a Systems Administrator?

This is why I mention that there is no fixed route when it comes to working in IT. You get to choose your own path. As for me, I am aiming to move on to be a Systems Administrator so with my current job, I am using it as a stepping stone to get there. Of course, internally within my current company, I will be aiming to be a Team Lead first before switching over to another role.

Is this career path suitable for me?

This is a tough question in which only you can answer. Are you comfortable working independently and finding solutions to problems related to IT? Are you the kind of person that gets intimidated by the unknown? Because if you are someone that is easily intimidated by the unknown, then working in IT may not be a right fit as daily, you will face unheard of issues which you will have to dig out a solution.

If you are comfortable and like discovering new solutions to similar issues, then this career path is the right one for you.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Muhammad Shairazi

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