Have you ever heard the saying, “Everything changes after college”? That is the expectation, change. From late nights of studying, attending classes daily, seeing the same friends throughout the week, all leading up to graduation. Following graduation, the typical scenario is: start a career, build new relationships with co-workers and see less of college friends due to life commitments and differing schedules. While this is typical, one very lucky group of guys never had to separate following graduation…or at least not for long. This is their story.
Information Technology is a field that is rapidly expanding and evolving. Many students who enroll in the IT program at West Virginia Junior College enjoy working with technology, figuring out how their personal systems operate or like to problem solve when devices malfunction. Justin Daggs, Dillon Meadows, Justin Nelson and Edward Holsclaw, III were no different. They began their educational journeys because they were passionate about technology and knew the potential growth in the IT field. Today these WVJC graduates are the University of Charleston IT Helpdesk Department.
Justin Nelson, a November 2013 alum, began his career with the University of Charleston in September 2013. In 2014 the department experienced a change in leadership. The following year after his graduation, Justin Daggs joined the team in August of 2014. Soon thereafter in October 2015 Edward “Eddie” Holsclaw, III and Dillon Meadows were welcomed to the team.
Previous work experiences do matter and Eddie is proof that transferable skills and experiences can lead to quick advancements in professional career positions. Throughout his time in college, Eddie maintained employment as a manager at an office supply store. When he applied for a helpdesk position with UC he did not realize he would be hired as the Helpdesk administrator.
Eddie’s management experience was beneficial to the department and while he had not worked for the university in an IT capacity before, they knew he had the skills and experience to lead the team. Not only is Eddie responsible for the daily productivity of the department, he heads projects, manages his co-workers’ schedules and is responsible for departmental ordering.
“I’m still learning so much in this role but managing these guys is easier and extremely helpful because they know me, and they trust me. We work very well together,” said Holsclaw.
Justin Nelson, having been there the longest of the group, is very helpful to the team. The gentlemen all spoke up and said when they have certain questions or if Eddie needs to know something that has not come up in his time as administrator, Nelson is a reliable co-worker to lend a hand or insight.
While at his desk, Nelson explained how their progress is tracked through ticketing systems and how the department is always operating…even from home. On a daily basis the department answers between 40-80 tickets, many of which they can fix but if not, they submit the issues to the individuals who can.
“We are always working, on campus or at home…it just depends. On weekends, we take turns being on-call. In the event something would happen or someone would need assistance we might have to remote-in or come to campus. On a daily basis we are throughout campus fixing issues in classrooms, the dorms, or in our department when students need us. Then we also work on and provide audiovisual support,” explained Nelson.
The team is also responsible for setting-up and running the audiovisuals needed for events the university hosts. The University of Charleston campus is very large and every weekend throughout the year events are held. These events range from seminars, galas, fundraising events, and even weddings. The Helpdesk department ensures all events have the best sound and visual displays possible and that everything goes to plan.
Following their college graduations, the team did not realize they would be attending college every day for their professional careers. And oddly, it’s as if they never left the classroom. They still get along and pull together to get tasks completed and ensure events are flawless. When you enter the Helpdesk department you instantly feel they genuinely love what they do. These guys want to help and enjoy coming to work every day.
“Every day work is fun to go to, we are all friends. Truthfully, I’ve never had a job that I could say I looked forward to waking up and going to everyday but this is it. I love what I do and I think we are a dynamic team,” said Daggs.
When asked to look back on their education and experiences and shed light on how it has helped them be in the positions they are today, the room erupted in comments. Justin Nelson said they use six-step methodology every single day and that Mr. Pinkerton’s teaching style really carried over to his professional career.
“The transition from college student to IT professional was easier than what I thought. College was tough but it was nice at the same time and it prepared all of us to be where we are today,” said Daggs.
They also offered advice to current IT students. As with all life experiences, at WVJC students take as much from their degrees as they put into their education. This means by attending classes as if it’s a job, not a choice. The Helpdesk department reflected on their classes and want current students to know a few things before graduating.
“Attitude is everything. Attending classes with a ‘can do’ attitude and having that work ethic instilled in us has carried over into our current positions,” said Meadows, “If it wasn’t for Mr. Pinkerton preparing us as technicians and showing us the professional expectations, who knows.”
Justin Daggs added, “To piggyback off of what Dillon said, a good attitude can get you far and knowing how to be a professional will too. We are IT professionals and we interact with people every day.”
The guys went on to mention how vital it is that current students pay close attention to their IT specific courses…even if they are challenging. They agree networking can be tough, but persevere and be on-point with hardware knowledge and office protocols.
Following an impressive tour of the university, Eddie closed the interview with a side note on professionalism and how key it is to always be tuned in to self-projection.
“People should really pay attention to Career Prep. What is being taught in that class is not a joke. Resume writing and knowing how to prepare for interviews is crucial to success. I mean, before we could be here we had to go through the process of interviewing.”
The University of Charleston Helpdesk Department is comprised of all WVJC Alumni. While this is in no way a typical scenario, it is a testament to always be prepared as a professional. Your paths with past classmates may cross again in your professional field. Will you be hiring them? Would they have a positive recollection of you?
If you are inspired by these alumni experiences or advice, call the Charleston campus today at 304.345.2820 to explore your future! The Information Technology program at WVJC is now enrolling!