You arrive at your office, head abuzz with all the to-dos of the day, the week, the month. You sit down at your computer… and it’s frozen. You can’t receive emails. You can’t get online. You can’t access shared folders or applications.
Who do you call? Your agency’s IT professionals, of course.
What would we do without them? In truth, not a lot. That’s because technology has a way of working us over some days. And let’s face it, few of us—in truth, none of us—have the depth of skill, knowledge, and patience of our IT professionals.
Fortunately, we will all get a chance to show our true appreciation for federal agency administrators later this month, during the annual IT Professional’s Day. Every year, on the third Tuesday of September, the world gets a chance to thank IT pros of all stripes, from network administrators to storage managers to application developers, and everyone in between. It’s a chance to honor the heroes who keep our applications running, our systems secure and our network humming. You can even send clever e-cards!
In recognition of this year’s IT Professionals Day on September 19, SolarWinds conducted a survey of federal IT pros to get a glimpse into their lives. The intent was to compile some little-known facts about our IT professionals and gauge the impact these folks have on their agencies and colleagues. In doing so, we uncovered five things that make us appreciate public sector IT administrators more than ever.
They’re the unofficial office handymen. In addition to constantly managing and fixing agency computers, networks, and other IT-related items, survey respondents reported they invest about 10% of their time fixing equipment for which they have no real responsibility. This includes items found in agency break rooms and assorted office appliances (after all, that printer paper jam is not going to fix itself, right?), TVs, HVAC systems, and more. In addition to keeping you online, chances are you can thank your agency’s IT team for allowing you to catch the latest episode of The View in air-conditioned comfort while you make the coffee from the machine they just fixed.
They work a lot of hours to keep us online. Survey respondents also reported they do a lot of this work with little to no recompense. In fact, while 28% of IT pros report working more than 30 hours of overtime each month, 53% noted they get no compensation for doing so.
They worry so you do not have to. While we all depend on high-grade IT security and cloud-based applications, we typically do not spend a lot of time worrying about either of these things. But IT pros do! According to our survey, 93% of respondents worry about security breaches, while 35% worry about the cloud. They do this while also being concerned about potential budget cuts (67%). They probably do not sleep well at night.
They are always on call. Here’s another reason for broken sleep. IT professionals receive a lot of alerts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Unfortunately, they’re probably not the type of alerts anyone really wants. Indeed, about one-third of survey respondents said they receive more work-related texts and SMS from their IT monitoring systems than correspondence from friends and family.
And yet they truly do love their work. Despite all of this, 94% of IT survey respondents said they either “like” or “love” their work. Now that’s commitment.
Let’s face it. Where would we be without the constant support, monitoring, and service of our IT teams? Staring at a black screen? Tangled in a mass of cords we’d unplugged attempting to do our own form of reboot? Taking a bat to our monitors like a scene straight out of Office Space?
Mostly likely, all of the above. So let’s all take a moment on September 19 to simply say “thank you.” After all, our IT teams truly are the heroes who make every day work possible for the rest of us, and keep the federal government running.
Here’s to you, my IT friends!
Joe Kim is Executive Vice President, Engineering and Global Chief Technology Officer at SolarWinds.