Before I came to Esri, my mental image of technical support was of a few brainy analysts hunkered down in front of bright monitors on top of cluttered desks, strewn with cables and soda cans, happily clicking away down dark corridors in dimly lit offices. I imagined this was a department of autonomous people who knew everything, and the only limiting reagent to helping clients was the amount of time required to explain, and then implement the solution. This is much the same way I view car mechanics; when I have a problem, just describing the funny noises my car makes should suffice for them to diagnose and get started on the repairs. Turns out, I’m wrong.
I started at Esri a few weeks ago. With the right technical baseline, they told me they can train anyone who has the curiosity and communication skills to make a good Support Analyst. I was assigned a mentor, a manager, a technical manager, and a few other people who would fill out the supporting cast. Their objectives were to get me used to the company culture and show me where to go for help. Collaboration is a huge part of Support culture, and no analyst is an island. I was not expected to know everything, but I was expected to be able to handle anything. Soon, I will begin as an active Support Analyst.
The cast of analysts I am joining in Support is one of the most diverse groups of people I have ever encountered in my professional life. They run the gamete in almost every possible category. Yet, even with so many differences, what unifies people here is an almost palpable sense of curiosity. You can feel it when you walk around the offices. The amount of knowledge people have here is staggering, but what people don’t know – what people have to research and learn and test and then translate into digestible words and instructions to help a user along their way — is truly astonishing. It would be impossible for any one analyst to know everything about every product and service that Esri supports, so what makes for a good Support analyst is the curiosity to want to learn, and the ability to help others understand.
My mentor, John, is a perfect example. He started working in Support on the Desktop team before moving over to SDK because he was fascinated by programming. With that strong desire to learn and to grow as an analyst, he quickly became a top-notch SDK Support Analyst and genuinely enjoys his work. Now he mentors new analysts in addition to his normal duties, his passion and curiosity make him a natural teacher. This is what motivates people like John, like the people found in Support. We do not offer pre-packaged answers to the infinite variety of potential issues our users face, but rather treat every user issue as a new opportunity to gain and to share knowledge. The Support Analyst has a fierce intellect combined with an insatiable appetite to learn and to help.
This is not meant as a commercial or advertisement, but I am a new analyst in training and interacting with dozens of people every day who are interested in the company and the products we support. Perhaps I come from a world where my professional interests were shared by a small minority of people, so I feel a little starry-eyed. Now, I find myself in Support, happily clicking away along breezy corridors in brightly lit offices, surrounded by a curious cast of characters, like me.
Noah S. – SDK Support Analyst