Starting at an MSP (nervous, excited, feeling clueless)

manifest3rmanifest3r Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hey TE! I recently got a gig over at an MSP, I start in about a week, and I'm freaking out!

I've been in IT for only 3 years. The MSP I'm going to work for did some contract work with my present employer. They said I stood out, saying I was the only one who could give a straight answer.

In the past year I've been told 3 times from SysAdmins with years of experience that I've got a knack for IT, and I'm really good at it.

I guess I feel like I'm not that good at it. I've never setup a DC or Exchange server from scratch. I've setup a small VM from the ground up, I've setup MDT/WDS to reimage machines, and sure I can configure a Cisco iOS router to make it fully functional and make it do what I want (vlans, port forwarding, etc).

I feel like I've touched a few different pieces of technology, but I still don't KNOW the technology in depth. The MSP that hired me knows this, and they wanted to hire someone with a broader skillset they can help teach.

I've done my fair share of googling about MSP's (for better or for worse) and I definitely feel intimidated about the types of technologies I will be dealing with. I've honestly been looking forward to working for an MSP for the past year, and now that I have my opportunity, I'm afraid of screwing up. I can honestly say I've never felt this way about a job before. Yes, I'm excited, but I'm nervous at the same time. I don't know if my abilities are up to par, but I am damn sure I'm going to try my best!

My interviewer thought I had more than 3 years of experience in IT considering the range of technology I had covered, he was surprised.

Has anyone had similar experiences?

Comments

  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    Definitely don't sweat it, you're probably going to get some great experience at this gig. In my experience most of the field techs I've seen get really scared when they have to do anything with networking so you sound like you have the leg up there. I would definitely recommend practicing in your lab setting up a DC and getting as familiar as possible with basic jobs in an AD environment. If you're in with a good MSP they'll work on growing you and I would not be surprised if they push you for getting a number of certs. Just make sure to keep up on getting all of your billable time entered in a timely manner and the tickets as detailed as possible.

    Don't forget to have fun! Once you're through the first 30 you'll probably hit your stride by then but don't sweat it if it takes you 60 days.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • MeanDrunkR2D2MeanDrunkR2D2 MCSA: Server 2012, MCITP: EDA KCMember Posts: 897 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I myself am waiting to hear back on an MSP that I had interviewed with last week and spoke with the director and VP of IT for the company.. Smaller company, they they are relatively new to the industry and it's a position that I really am wanting as it's more of a Sys Admin position.
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Member Posts: 4,317 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Unless you lied about your skills I would also say, don't sweat it. Doesn't matter where you work, MSP or otherwise, you will likely always be overwhelmed for a few months. First you need to learn the internal systems, then you need to learn how they do things. For example, maybe you know how to enable IIS on a server, but now suddenly you need to do this via powershell. And so on. Of all jobs I have been doing, the MSP I think is, at least long term, one of the easier ones.

    Once you know all the systems inside out (where can I find those bloody passwords?) - know where everything is (Where's that damn IP list again), how how to deal with certain customers (Oh THAT obnoxious-guy-again-who-can't-even-remember-his-own-name), and how to fix the more common issues (already getting bored of IIS resets and Apache restarts and why does the guy keep pumping isos on his desktop), you start to relax and you "just" have to deal with politics / on-call and whatnot :p

    The hardest job so far for me - Consultant. You basically start from scratch every time you are at a new client-site / project, deal with new red-tape / politics all the time and may end up being thrown into the deep-end over and over again :D

    All part of the game .. but one thing is for sure - you can do it.

    Especially at the beginning, if you are working on a ticket system - take em all. Don't be selective. Don't just take the ones you can easily solve, take any random ticket (oldest / first on top etc.) and try to work on it.

    Don't be afraid to ask your colleagues. What I actually did the first time I worked for an MSP is asking my manager at which point I should give up trying (on a case by case basis) - What I mean with this - think SLAs. For example, if you take a ticket to fix an IIS issue, don't "try" for three hours if the customer has a 1-hour SLA. Maybe your manager says in this example that unless you can fix issue X in zz minutes, ask a colleague.
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Having worked at an MSP I can say you'll be fine. It will take about three months before you are useful and that really relates to having the required knowledge about your customer. The beauty of IT is it is fairly standardized so each network will be about the same. The hard part is remembering the username, passwords, and the gritty detail of each customer you support. That takes a few months, but eventually you'll get it. Good luck!
    WIP:
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  • manifest3rmanifest3r Member Posts: 14 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the reply guys! I'll definitely look into setting up a mock DC, that'll probably get some worries outta my head.

    I definitely wasn't afraid to say "I don't know" or "no" during the interview...and they were okay with that. To me it really felt like they needed someone anxious to learn and ready to hit the ground running, and I'm definitely up for that. Thanks for the reassurance guys :)

    jibbajabba. I understand billing time, SLA's, etc. is all important.

    the_Grinch It'll definitely take some time for me to get to know how things work, I guess that's like that with every job.

    Thanks again :D
  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Member Posts: 2,008 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Feeling like you're out of your depth is normal with any increase in job role. There's always stuff you don't know. If you still feel that way after a few months you might have a problem. :p
    Currently reading:
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  • IT_Tech_in_CAIT_Tech_in_CA Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Worked for a MSP for about one month in the San Fran area. Hopefully your experience will be better than mine. It was very disorganized. They serviced a bunch of small companies that had no uniform infrastructure. Trying to remember just simple things like admin passwords was a pain.

    The thing that really bothered me was I was brought on to do tier 2/3 networking. Instead I got tickets (they called them cases) like remote into machines and spend hours on the phone cleaning viruses because users had no security policy in place. I never saw one network ticket. I was even expected to do secretary work! (That can be a whole other post)

    You had to support companies that had no domains, and used Google apps for their needs. Oh boy did that suck. You had to support people with exchange.. without exchange...

    On top of that they expect you to be on call 24/7.

    Eventually I just left and got another job. MSPs can be rough.
  • --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Worked for a MSP for about one month in the San Fran area. Hopefully your experience will be better than mine. It was very disorganized. They serviced a bunch of small companies that had no uniform infrastructure. Trying to remember just simple things like admin passwords was a pain.

    The thing that really bothered me was I was brought on to do tier 2/3 networking. Instead I got tickets (they called them cases) like remote into machines and spend hours on the phone cleaning viruses because users had no security policy in place. I never saw one network ticket. I was even expected to do secretary work! (That can be a whole other post)

    You had to support companies that had no domains, and used Google apps for their needs. Oh boy did that suck. You had to support people with exchange.. without exchange...

    On top of that they expect you to be on call 24/7.

    Eventually I just left and got another job. MSPs can be rough.

    MSPs can be nightmares and they can be dream jobs. Don't rule them out! We support many small businesses but have a strong framework that organizes all the info to make jumping between customers easy and we don't have an on call schedule.


  • IT_Tech_in_CAIT_Tech_in_CA Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I hear ya Chris. Your MSP sounds like the exception to the rule. You are right... some can be dream jobs. But I will say with 100% confidence that you will know right away whether you picked the nightmare scenario.
  • rsuttonrsutton Member Posts: 1,029 ■■■■■□□□□□
    --chris-- wrote: »
    and we don't have an on call schedule.

    How do you guys handle after-hours alerts? I manage a team of techs at a MSP and this is a thorn in my side.
  • BalantineBalantine Member Posts: 77 ■■□□□□□□□□
    The management team doubles the team's rate for taking after-hours work, and pays the engineers the regular rate. So we each individually make like 150.00 an hour for taking any after-hours or weekend emergencies. This goes into a pool of hours and gets paid out at year-end. We also keep a spreadsheet of what week each two people are on-call. As a result one can rack up a cool 1000.00 bucks per call.
    dulce bellum inexpertis
  • --chris----chris-- Member Posts: 1,518 ■■■■■□□□□□
    rsutton wrote: »
    How do you guys handle after-hours alerts? I manage a team of techs at a MSP and this is a thorn in my side.

    Right now we offer 24/7 rates but no one is paying for the service. 90% of our customers are 10 to 100 "professional offices" that have bankers hours. We do work after hours and on weekends but it's always planned out ahead of time and it's pretty uncommon. We support a lot of lawyers, brokerages, engineering & design, etc....the few that do have 24/7 employees just wait until the next day if something pops up (instead of paying the premium support rate).

    The downside to this is I will almost never get to apply my ccna studies beyond basic networking issues, troubleshoot multi-domain server systems or deal with more difficult "large business" issues.


  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Member Posts: 2,008 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Still nervous?
    Currently reading:
    IPSec VPN Design 44%
    Mastering VMWare vSphere 5​ 42.8%
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