Help-desk experts field odd questions, keep their cool

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What did you just ask?

The IT help-desk gurus field all kinds of highly technical computer questions. But, imagine fielding a call like, “We need you to fix the microwave in the lunchroom.”

It’s the funnier side of being a help-desk expert. And, a request like, “I dropped my phone in the toilet. What should I do?” is not unusual at all.

In a survey developed by Robert Half Technology, a national staffing agency focused on IT professionals, 1,400 chief information officers from across the country were asked, what was the strangest or most unusual request that came into the help desk? The answers range from “How do I clean cat hair out of my computer fan?” to “Can you recommend a good hair dryer?”

“Typically when people have a problem, they don’t’ know where to go; why not go to technical problem solving person?” said Jason Moyes, Colorado Springs division director at Robert Half Technology.  “That is the mentality behind it – the help desk is an easy place to go.”

Beyond the entertainment value, the requests reveal that a person going into the IT field ought to have a good sense of humor and strong customer service skills, Moyes said.

“A good help-desk professional is trained to deal with this,” he said. “Their managers will spend time training them on customer service skills. That is a huge part.”

Information Technology jobs continue to be among the hottest career fields in the state and in the Springs. People who love creating software, managing information systems and keeping hackers away from invading computer systems, have one of the lowest unemployment rates of any profession — less than half the national average. For example, the unemployment rate for computer network architects is 0.5 percent and 3.6 percent for web developers.

“It’s definitely a great career – a good match for someone who likes to solve problems for people,” Moyes said.

But, they ought to be prepared for this:  “Can I turn on the coffee pot with my computer?”