What "Tier" help desk would I be considered?

ps.89ps.89 Member Posts: 45 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hi everyone,


I work for a small firm who hosts application servers for close to 500 small businesses and provides full IT support for two medium sized companies. We have five help desk technicians, but we don't actually have a true tiered system. We are all just "help desk technicians", although most of the "harder questions" get pushed to our two senior techs.


By the description of what I do at work, I'd like to get an opinion of what "tier" I could be considered.




Besides day-to-day customer support with such things like installing a printer driver or troubleshooting a basic computer issue, I also do the following:


-Active Directory management
  • Create/disable users
  • Create/disable contacts
  • Set memberships
  • Create/modify distro/security groups
-Exchange management
  • Create/disable mailboxes
  • Set aliases
  • Manage storage size
  • Manage flow settings (delivery options/delivery restrictions/forwarding)
-Office 365
  • Mostly ties into our AD, but I do assign licenses and such
-Conduct file restores through Microsoft Data Protection Manager
-Server upgrades for applications (IE, Silverlight update, Java update, etc.)
-Solely responsible for building out application servers for our clients
  • Build the new VM in vSphere
  • Install server applications
  • Assign web certificate in IIS Manager
  • Configure proxy server settings
  • Add CNAME record in DNS
  • Add the new server to SQL Server Management Studio
  • Install backups through MS Data Protection Manager
  • Create SFTP for data migration/decommission using Bitvise or WinSSHD
2020 Year Goals: CCNP Enterprise Core; finish a Python video course

Comments

  • LeBrokeLeBroke Member Posts: 490 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Short answer, but sounds like a tier 1.5-2 MSP tech in most places. I'd say 1-1.5, but a lot of places tier 1 means just taking calls and logging tickets, so this is beyond that.
  • UncleBUncleB Member Posts: 417
    I would say 1st line as it looks like the majority of the work is from a pre-defined process and doesn't need much in the way of troubleshooting skills.

    The reason I say this is that you don't have to work out what could have gone wrong and how to fix it in the situations you list - you just follow a procedure and do what the doc tells you to do. I appreciate in reality is it not always clear cut, but it all falls at a level that a new hire with little experience could be able to do after being walked through it once or twice (with the doc to help them).

    I would try to spend more time on the "difficult" cases and ask the senior guys how you could have investigated it to fix it at first point of contact and see if you can find one who will run you through it. Use this to find areas you need to learn more about and repeat the process to move up to 2nd line over time.

    thanks
    Iain
  • MooseboostMooseboost Senior Member Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Since you don't have a tier system, it would be hard to rank you because there is no gauge as what is viewed Tier 1 vs Tier 2.

    Tier structures vary from company to company. For example a Tier 3 technician as a Help Desk for a company may perform similar functions as the Tier 1 at a NOC somewhere depending on the experience and setup of the different teams.

    If we did have to rank you, I would say Tier 1. The reason being that you didn't mention what the other members of the help desk do compared to you - so I have to assume they have similar capabilities and knowledge. With that assumption the two senior techs would be Tier 2.
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  • ps.89ps.89 Member Posts: 45 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Ah, thanks for all the replies!

    For the most part, although I do some back-end work, much of it is a "process" once it's been learned.
    2020 Year Goals: CCNP Enterprise Core; finish a Python video course
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    The simple way I think about tiers is that tier 1 speaks direct with customers and escalates up, tier 2 has issues escalated to them from tier 1 and also escalates up, tier 3 is at the top of the pile, and if they can't solve it, it won't get solved.

    Parallel to this is that tier 1 usually works from nice clear procedures and escalates when the procedures tell them to. They just follow orders. Tier 2 has a little more flexibility and might also suggest changes to procedures. Tier three often works with only loose and abstract policy guidelines to guide them. They are also often the ones writing the policies that lower tiers follow.

    The other way to think about it is how much leeway are they given or how much are they trusted? Tier 3 might be allowed to change code. Tier 2 might be allowed to deviate from standard operating procedures to produce a resolution. Tier 1 aren't allowed to do anything unless they've been told.

    If you spend most of your time helping other techs, then you are probably tier 2. If you spend most of your time talking to customers, you're probably tier 1. If you spend most of your time saying "That's weird" or "That's interesting", and your answers to questions start with "It depends" then you're probably tier 3.
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  • ps.89ps.89 Member Posts: 45 ■■■□□□□□□□
    OctalDump wrote: »
    The simple way I think about tiers is that tier 1 speaks direct with customers and escalates up, tier 2 has issues escalated to them from tier 1 and also escalates up, tier 3 is at the top of the pile, and if they can't solve it, it won't get solved.

    Parallel to this is that tier 1 usually works from nice clear procedures and escalates when the procedures tell them to. They just follow orders. Tier 2 has a little more flexibility and might also suggest changes to procedures. Tier three often works with only loose and abstract policy guidelines to guide them. They are also often the ones writing the policies that lower tiers follow.

    The other way to think about it is how much leeway are they given or how much are they trusted? Tier 3 might be allowed to change code. Tier 2 might be allowed to deviate from standard operating procedures to produce a resolution. Tier 1 aren't allowed to do anything unless they've been told.

    If you spend most of your time helping other techs, then you are probably tier 2. If you spend most of your time talking to customers, you're probably tier 1. If you spend most of your time saying "That's weird" or "That's interesting", and your answers to questions start with "It depends" then you're probably tier 3.


    Ah, this makes a lot of sense! Thanks for this. I guess I was under the impression that I was tier 2 because I do a lot of back-end things. From your definition, I would probably be between 1 and 2, so 1.5 perhaps. I do speak directly with customers, but the newer techs often come to me first with their questions.
    2020 Year Goals: CCNP Enterprise Core; finish a Python video course
  • ps.89ps.89 Member Posts: 45 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Wanted to bring this thread back to life as it's been nearly 9 months and I'm still at the same pay, although my duties continue to increase.


    So at the MSP I work for, I am the go to guy for the servers that we build. I am the only person who builds our client's servers, although our tier 2 tech knows how as well and helps me whenever I have too many servers that need to be built (each new client we bring it gets their own dedicated VM built out within 2-3 days of signing their contract).


    I know the ins and outs of what I do. A few weeks ago, I accidentally rebooted a client's VM while it was in the middle of running Windows updates. Upon rebooting it, it was stuck on "bootmgr is missing". I tried attaching a Windows recovery ISO to it, but wasn't able to get it working. Brought it up to our system admin and he told me that it was shot and that it would need to be rebuilt. In three hours, I was able to build out a new VM, recover all the client's data from our backups, and restore the SQL database all on my own because I understand the inner workings of each system and how they integrate with each other.


    We're slowly migrating all our clients from our servers into the Azure cloud. Although I am not proficient at it yet, I was chosen to learn how to build out a client within the Azure cloud. I built out my first machine within Azure yesterday. I created the client's Azure tenancy, created users, assigned O365 licenses, and even configured Multi-Factor-Authentication. It isn't too different from what I'm already doing now, but actually a lot easier since a lot of it has been automated due to using Powershell scripts.


    We only have four "Tier 1" technicians and although I am the only one out of them that does server builds, we all get paid the same. In the scenario where the server had to be rebuilt, no one else on the help desk would've knew how to get our client back up because they don't have the knowledge and experience with our systems like I do.


    So to go back to my previous statement, what "tier" of help desk would you consider me? Please note that on top of my "system admin" duties, I still work on the help desk call center doing Tier 1 duties like basic computer troubleshooting and light admin work in Active Directory and Exchange.


    Another question: I am 6 months away from graduating with my Bachelor's in Network Administration. What type of positions do you think I should now be applying for?
    2020 Year Goals: CCNP Enterprise Core; finish a Python video course
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    Reading your post I was thinking "Time to start looking for a new job", but then at your last line, I realise that you are doing that. System admin, system engineer, deployment engineer, virtualisation admin are all possibilities.

    MSP's are a good place to learn when you are starting out, since you usually get variety, and there's often a chance to go deep into some techs (50 clients using the same system, you often get to know a lot more about its quirks than if you were working for one company with that system). So it might be worth considering moving to another MSP, or even renegotiating you pay and benefits with your current employer once you have a better offer somewhere else.

    But from the experience you describe, and your soon to have Bachelor's, I think you're in a good position to really look for roles with "administrator" or "engineer" in the title.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
  • EANxEANx Member Posts: 1,078 ■■■■■■■■□□
    You're a senior tier 1 guy acting as a tier 2, seems like you're the go-to guy for the group. Definitely look for something outside the help desk.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Teradata Assc 16, CSM, MS Access 2016, 2019 Member Posts: 2,571 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Tier 3 IMO

    Most tier 1's catch and dispatch held to tight handle times etc AKA Password Reset Ninja. Tier 2 more of a call back role working through some documentation rebooting servers, restarting services etc. Level 3 is on line what you are doing IMO. Actually maintaining some of the infrastructure.

    I agree with the others, might be time to move on.
  • CptFalconCptFalcon Member Posts: 19 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Tier 3 IMO

    Most tier 1's catch and dispatch held to tight handle times etc AKA Password Reset Ninja. Tier 2 more of a call back role working through some documentation rebooting servers, restarting services etc. Level 3 is on line what you are doing IMO. Actually maintaining some of the infrastructure.

    I agree with the others, might be time to move on.

    To add more to this, you are already doing System Admin level type work. Time to move on, and don't accept counteroffers from your present employer. If you do, they know that they have you locked in.
  • TrucidoTrucido Member Posts: 250 ■■□□□□□□□□
    LeBroke wrote: »
    Short answer, but sounds like a tier 1.5-2 MSP tech in most places. I'd say 1-1.5, but a lot of places tier 1 means just taking calls and logging tickets, so this is beyond that.

    Can confirm.
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