MSP companies suck

AODITAODIT Member Posts: 39 ■■■□□□□□□□
My experience briefly working with one and interviewing with one has been dreadful. They want me to critically analyze and breakdown simple tasks like installing office or adding a printer. I'm the type of person who would rather not make a big deal out of simple tasks and not make it rocket science. I do these tasks without even thinking about it and always rely on my research skills if need be. Who can either relate to my experience or provide input as to MSP companies? Do I need them as I'm building IT experience or are there other avenues to take while building my career? Thank you !!!
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  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Security +, ITIL Foundation, MPT, EPO, ACAS, HTL behind youMod Posts: 2,746 Mod
    edited April 2019
    is that all you have where you live are MSP companies? 
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • LonerVampLonerVamp OSCP, GCFA, GWAPT, CISSP, OSWP, CCNA Cyber Ops, Sec+, Linux+, AWS SAA, CCSK Member Posts: 462 ■■■■■■■□□□
    So...did you tell them you don't know how to do the steps for those tasks or something? I mean, maybe they need someone who can do things consistently to a certain standard rather than winging it with your research skills?

    Security Engineer/Analyst/Geek, Red & Blue Teams
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  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    edited April 2019
    AODIT said:
    My experience briefly working with one and interviewing with one has been dreadful. They want me to critically analyze and breakdown simple tasks like installing office or adding a printer. I'm the type of person who would rather not make a big deal out of simple tasks and not make it rocket science. I do these tasks without even thinking about it and always rely on my research skills if need be. Who can either relate to my experience or provide input as to MSP companies? Do I need them as I'm building IT experience or are there other avenues to take while building my career? Thank you !!!
    It's not clear what you mean when you ask if you need MSP experience - do you mean working with an MSP or working for an MSP? If you live in the US, there's no defined career path that's required when it comes to technology or IT careers. While many people may choose similar paths, it doesn't mean that it's some sort of requirement. And no - you are not required to have worked at an MSP.

    As to your comments about MSP's "suck" based on being asked to critically analyze tasks during an interview, I am guessing that's from your lack of experience. One of the challenges that MSP's face are the unknowns at a customer site or if they are dealing with a new customer. Installing office or a printer may seem to be a trivial task on the surface for a consumer, but it can be a disruptive event if there are nuances which can cause an issue for a client. Such interview questions are typically intended to understand if a candidate has critical thinking and risk analysis insights vs knowing if an candidate has hard IT skills.

    A good MSP should require their staff to have strong critical thinking,  ability to interact with a customer, trouble-shooting analysis talent, and be process-oriented. Those are traits and skills that really do carry into being good at any IT or tech role.

    To share an example - I recently fired an MSP at one of my clients because their staff deployed a software upgrade without discussing the timeline and change window. It's a pretty rudimentary change and doesn't actually require any real IT skills. But the staffer at the MSP didn't ask when he could deploy the changes and who he should start with and also - how it should be tested. There was also no roll-back or communication plan which the client had as a standing requirement for the MSP. The change caused a bit of disruption in one office and negatively impacted about 10% of the staff for more than 2 hours which was entirely unacceptable for this particular business.

    Another example - I sometimes get projects to support infrastructure upgrades from one of the top 10 fintechs as a subcontractor even though I'm not an MSP. It's not really something that my business does but we do it because of who the fintech is. We recently got a request to support an MS Office upgrades. It's not because this fintech doesn't have the staff to do it or the skills (they have over 20K+ employees) - but its because they believe that the risk is high enough that they are willing to do the project at a loss and subcontract out secondary support for extra set of eyes during the planning and execution.

    It's never as simple as it seems and MSP's actually come across some very interesting and diverse set of problems. I would imagine that people that want to be in IT and are starting out - it can be good place to work since they potentially will get exposure to many different companies and business problems.

    Good luck in finding a job.


  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Member Posts: 2,502 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I'm not a big fan of MSP's either.....   For other reasons than hiring practices.
  • AODITAODIT Member Posts: 39 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thank you guys for your input. I meant working for an MSP and as far as not being able to critically analyze these tasks, I would compare that to critically analyzing how I put my shoes on. Adding a printer? Not only that in my humble  opinion IT is so broad there is so many different approaches to different issues and that's what I love about it. If you ask me how do you perform a data back up there's countless approaches on countless devices. Personally, I don't have time for individuals who are going to undermine my abilities, my cat can add a printer. 
  • NetworkingStudentNetworkingStudent Member Posts: 1,400 ■■■■■■■■□□
    AODIT said:
    Thank you guys for your input. I meant working for an MSP and as far as not being able to critically analyze these tasks, I would compare that to critically analyzing how I put my shoes on. Adding a printer? Not only that in my humble  opinion IT is so broad there is so many different approaches to different issues and that's what I love about it. If you ask me how do you perform a data back up there's countless approaches on countless devices. Personally, I don't have time for individuals who are going to undermine my abilities, my cat can add a printer. 
    I have to agree with Paul.  They’re asking these questions to see how you think.   How do you add a printer?  How do you backup data?

    you will see these type of questions in most IT interviews, not just at MSP companies.  

    Tell about a time you helped a frustrated customer?


    I remember i had had one interview where there was a question that went like this...

    I cannot print, how would you help me?

     




    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

    --Alexander Graham Bell,
    American inventor
  • Infosec_SamInfosec_Sam Security+, CCENT, ITIL Foundation, A+ Madison, WIAdmin Posts: 451 Admin
    I mean, you don't need to work for an MSP while you build your experience, but those jobs are plentiful and mostly easier to land. Your other option is to work for a company's internal IT department. At a smaller company, you'll probably find yourself wearing a lot of different hats - a little networking, some desktop support, and some server and security administration. In larger companies, roles will be very segmented, much like at an MSP. There are jobs out there for you if you're not into MSP work, you'll only need to look!
    Community Manager at Infosec!
    Who we are | What we do
  • AvgITGeekAvgITGeek 70-410, 70-411 Member Posts: 341 ■■■■□□□□□□
    edited April 2019
    The MSP I just worked for was a new kid on the block but we were really focused on getting everything documented so every employee could just about do each others jobs. We were all jacks of all trades, some stronger in IT disciplines than others. As @paul78 pointed out, every single one of our customers were different, some had print servers, some were only workgroup and add in the mix of scanning to local folders or to email from their MFP. Documentation was everything in order to get in, get the job done and leave a satisfied customer. I got more experience with different technologies and touched more servers, switches and firewalls than I did in the 15+ years I spent at my prior company.

    With my new company, I'm pushing for more documentation and cross training so if something goes south, someone else should be able to help out. They are all for it and they even implemented a change control document I suggested! We're a three person department with the two other guys taking care of server/network/end users and me the databases. That is kind of nice that we are such a small group and I can focus on the databases and SQL Server.
  • jamesindcjamesindc CCNA R&S, Sec+, Net+ Member Posts: 21 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I tried to get a Tier 1 job at a well-known MSP, but apparently I didn't answer their technical interview questions well enough.

    Kind of glad I didn't get a job with them because failing motivated me to pursue certifications that can get me better jobs than working Tier 1 at an MSP.
  • AvgITGeekAvgITGeek 70-410, 70-411 Member Posts: 341 ■■■■□□□□□□
    @jamesindc Where are you working now?
  • AODITAODIT Member Posts: 39 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yeah I went to school, I have an Associates Degree in Computer Information Systems and I have certifications. If you are going to question my abilities to add a printer or any other fundamental basic of low level IT your not the right fit for me. I'm a grown man looking for challenging ventures that are going to push my growth and career to the next level, not a company whose going to push me down and try to keep me down. Within my brief experiences with MSPs that's exactly what they have tried to do. 
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,774 ■■■■■■■■□□
    AODIT said:
     If you are going to question my abilities to add a printer or any other fundamental basic of low level IT your not the right fit for me.
    I'm gonna guess you have never done management. Having employees ready to step up and do what needs to be done is very valuable.

    If you didn't get a good feel for the company move on. Don't take it so personal that someone wants to know you understand your job.


  • LonerVampLonerVamp OSCP, GCFA, GWAPT, CISSP, OSWP, CCNA Cyber Ops, Sec+, Linux+, AWS SAA, CCSK Member Posts: 462 ■■■■■■■□□□
    edited April 2019
    As someone in IT security (both blue and red), the red side of me loves people who think certain tasks are below them, or they just wing it and "do it in their sleep." They're the ones who leave mistakes and exceptions to standards that allow me to get places I shouldn't, and keep me employed.

    The same will hold true for an MSP who has a client paying money to have certain things done right, not in any which way that you happen to know about. Sure, that printer may work, but if you're costing the MSP money because you're a cowboy, or god forbid, that customer uptime/productivity...then yeah, you're not the right fit for that job. But that doesn't mean MSP's all suck.

    I'm sorry that particular job was below you, but there are reasons for standards and adhering to proper procedures rather than "letting a cat do it."

    Security Engineer/Analyst/Geek, Red & Blue Teams
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  • mgeoffriaumgeoffriau Member Posts: 162 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I've cleaned up a situation where 300+ office users all had multiple network printers added by someone "who just knew how to do it" and didn't bother to follow a common procedure, naming convention, etc. 

    I'm wondering if maybe working for an MSP might teach you some valuable lessons, if you're willing to learn them.
    CISSP || A+ || Network+ || Security+ || Project+ || Linux+ || Healthcare IT Technician || ITIL Foundation v3 || CEH || CHFI
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  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,294 ■■■■■■■■■□
    AODIT said:
    Yeah I went to school, I have an Associates Degree in Computer Information Systems and I have certifications. If you are going to question my abilities to add a printer or any other fundamental basic of low level IT your not the right fit for me. I'm a grown man looking for challenging ventures that are going to push my growth and career to the next level, not a company whose going to push me down and try to keep me down. Within my brief experiences with MSPs that's exactly what they have tried to do. 
    Yea, crazy that a company would make sure the person they are hiring knows how to do simple tasks.  The nerve of them!   /s

    If you get pissed over getting asked simple things at your job sounds like they dodged a bullet.   I believe interviews are largely to see what type of person you are and if you mesh well with them.    Like someone else mentioned they probably just wanted to see how you process things in your head and see how you described the process.   Not that they were looking for specifications or exact details.    But since you are a grown man with an Associates degree and some certs they were probably too intimidated by your status being way up there on the pedestal anyways.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Member Posts: 2,502 ■■■■■■■■■□
    edited April 2019
    AODIT said:
    Yeah I went to school, I have an Associates Degree in Computer Information Systems and I have certifications. If you are going to question my abilities to add a printer or any other fundamental basic of low level IT your not the right fit for me. I'm a grown man looking for challenging ventures that are going to push my growth and career to the next level, not a company whose going to push me down and try to keep me down. Within my brief experiences with MSPs that's exactly what they have tried to do. 
    Be thankful you identified this at the end of the day.  I'm  not here to judge, but one important lesson here.  Follow your own self not the opinions of other....   They don't have enough facts to make an informed decision for you.
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,294 ■■■■■■■■■□
    AODIT said:
    Yeah I went to school, I have an Associates Degree in Computer Information Systems and I have certifications. If you are going to question my abilities to add a printer or any other fundamental basic of low level IT your not the right fit for me. I'm a grown man looking for challenging ventures that are going to push my growth and career to the next level, not a company whose going to push me down and try to keep me down. Within my brief experiences with MSPs that's exactly what they have tried to do. 
    Be thankful you identified this at the end of the day.  I'm  not here to judge, but one important lesson here.  Follow your own self not the opinions of other....   They don't have enough facts to make an informed decision for you.
    I agree with this.  My only issue was based off the information presented so far was with how offended he got (and talked about how great he is), then judged the whole company and whole position he was interviewing for based off one single interview question.   Obviously could've been more as we weren't there and don't have a clue personally.   But just looks a tad narcissistic.   They asked him how he would setup a printer and in his words they were questioning his ability.... Come on now.  It is an interview.
  • jamesindcjamesindc CCNA R&S, Sec+, Net+ Member Posts: 21 ■■■□□□□□□□
    AvgITGeek said:
    @jamesindc Where are you working now?
    Doing Tier 1 work for a DoD contractor.  Currently, studying for CCNA certification which I scheduled to take in a month.  

    I  think MSPs are great places to get hands-on experience.  The MSP I interviewed with had a path towards moving up if you stayed and progressed.
  • AODITAODIT Member Posts: 39 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yup, thank you everyone of you for your input. Just to conclude my thoughts and feelings I'll make another statement regarding MSPs and my experience with them. They have over glamorized these small scale technical skills which I don't really enjoy doing that personally and just too much discussion and stories over little things. I wish I enjoyed talking about adding a printer or troubleshooting a wifi problem in great detail, sorry I'm good!!! 

    With that being said NetworkNewb your name says it all! JK... Yeah it wasn't just the question, it was the approach and the overall feel of the interview and the company. This guy had this small ass company and just came at me a little aggressive with some weird questions that were supposed to be testing me but yeah whatever.... NEXT!!  Thanks though newb! haha
  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    edited April 2019
    LOL. It fascinates me that OP draws a conclusion based on experience with a sample size of one. And has discounted an entire category of IT worth approximately 180Bn today with a CAGR or +9% by some estimates.  Wow!
  • AODITAODIT Member Posts: 39 ■■■□□□□□□□
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Member Posts: 2,502 ■■■■■■■■■□
    edited April 2019
    @AODIT

    This is a great opportunity to coach the hiring manager.  I would recommend sending him an email and telling him to ratchet back the aggressiveness.  I would even consider offering him different interview questions. Potentially you could get hired in a coaching engagement, sometimes these efforts can lead to good money.   Maybe even rating his company and the interview process.  Information is power......

    I do agree about them over emphasizing these skills.  I've ran into this before, obviously a different situation but seemingly similar.  They might as well ask you to explain how to fix the toilet or how do you chamois the car after you wash it......
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,548 Admin
    When you see very specific questions in a job interview this might be a clue as to the problems the organization has been experiencing with its employees or in hiring qualified candidates. In this case with the printer example, I would assume it is just an exercise allowing the candidate to demonstrate how technically detailed, thorough, and efficient their thought process is regarding a common task. Someone who would take exception at performing such a menial exercise in a job interview would be likely to also refuse to perform work given to them that they considered or beneath their skill level. As a hiring manager, I would never want to hire such a candidate that would pick-and-choose how they wanted to help the organization.
  • Johnhe0414Johnhe0414 A+, Network+, Security+, Project+ USA, CARegistered Users Posts: 156 ■■■■□□□□□□
    JDMurray said:
    When you see very specific questions in a job interview this might be a clue as to the problems the organization has been experiencing with its employees or in hiring qualified candidates. In this case with the printer example, I would assume it is just an exercise allowing the candidate to demonstrate how technically detailed, thorough, and efficient their thought process is regarding a common task. Someone who would take exception at performing such a menial exercise in a job interview would be likely to also refuse to perform work given to them that they considered or beneath their skill level. As a hiring manager, I would never want to hire such a candidate that would pick-and-choose how they wanted to help the organization.
    @JDMurray ...you nailed it.
    Current:  A+ | Network+ | Project+ |Security+
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  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Member Posts: 2,502 ■■■■■■■■■□
    edited April 2019
    JDMurray said:
    When you see very specific questions in a job interview this might be a clue as to the problems the organization has been experiencing with its employees or in hiring qualified candidates. In this case with the printer example, I would assume it is just an exercise allowing the candidate to demonstrate how technically detailed, thorough, and efficient their thought process is regarding a common task. Someone who would take exception at performing such a menial exercise in a job interview would be likely to also refuse to perform work given to them that they considered or beneath their skill level. As a hiring manager, I would never want to hire such a candidate that would pick-and-choose how they wanted to help the organization.
    Doesn't that go both ways?  I don't know the person who posted, but if you went in for a role you thought was much more "technical" and they started asking you basic IT task, it would be an indicator that the role wasn't good for you?  In fact wouldn't it be better to move on?  I think the OP did the right thing......

    One other thing to note, which bothered me a little.  As a hiring manager, I would never want to hire such a candidate that would pick-and-choose how they wanted to help the organization.  That is an awful approach in management.  The scoped defined in the job description should align with the task assigned to the individual.  I would hope you wouldn't ask a .net developer who is making 160,000 a year to help Lois in accounting troubleshoot Excel.....   If you did and I was your boss we would be having a chat.....  

    The lowest paid resource who can do the job should do the job........  Management 101


  • EANxEANx Member Posts: 1,078 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I would hope you wouldn't ask a .net developer who is making 160,000 a year to help Lois in accounting troubleshoot Excel.....   If you did and I was your boss we would be having a chat.....  

    The lowest paid resource who can do the job should do the job........  Management 101
    And sometimes that's the 160k developer.

    My team knows that we all chip in and that 98% of what they do will be what they were hired for but the other 2% will be what the organization needs. I'd rather pay a 160k developer for 5 minutes of a basic task than have a 60k resource sitting around for an hour waiting for the "right" person to come by and help. Finance 101
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Member Posts: 2,502 ■■■■■■■■■□
    edited April 2019
    EANx said:
    I would hope you wouldn't ask a .net developer who is making 160,000 a year to help Lois in accounting troubleshoot Excel.....   If you did and I was your boss we would be having a chat.....  

    The lowest paid resource who can do the job should do the job........  Management 101
    And sometimes that's the 160k developer.

    My team knows that we all chip in and that 98% of what they do will be what they were hired for but the other 2% will be what the organization needs. I'd rather pay a 160k developer for 5 minutes of a basic task than have a 60k resource sitting around for an hour waiting for the "right" person to come by and help. Finance 101
    Where did you come up with that arbitrary number?   How and why did you derive 98% and that's the only resource?  Sounds like you have a staffing issue and in that case you and I would be having a chat.....

    This was the comment:  As a hiring manager, I would never want to hire such a candidate that would pick-and-choose how they wanted to help the organization.  This was a blanket statement not set with any clauses or conditions...  

    The ask for your employees should be < 1% outside of their job requirements else you are failing....  Any good manager would set expectations prior too, and asking someone who was hired for X to perform Y is ridiculous.....   What if that individual doesn't know how to do it?  

    Only under extremely rare conditions should the scope of the employee breach the job description.  This is basics man....   I really hope you don't manage like this....

    Let's not move the field goals, but with you it's quite common.....


  • EANxEANx Member Posts: 1,078 ■■■■■■■■□□
    EANx said:
    I would hope you wouldn't ask a .net developer who is making 160,000 a year to help Lois in accounting troubleshoot Excel.....   If you did and I was your boss we would be having a chat.....  

    The lowest paid resource who can do the job should do the job........  Management 101
    And sometimes that's the 160k developer.

    My team knows that we all chip in and that 98% of what they do will be what they were hired for but the other 2% will be what the organization needs. I'd rather pay a 160k developer for 5 minutes of a basic task than have a 60k resource sitting around for an hour waiting for the "right" person to come by and help. Finance 101
    Where did you come up with that arbitrary number?   How and why did you derive 98% and that's the only resource?  Sounds like you have a staffing issue and in that case you and I would be having a chat.....

    This was the comment:  As a hiring manager, I would never want to hire such a candidate that would pick-and-choose how they wanted to help the organization.  This was a blanket statement not set with any clauses or conditions...  

    Let's not move the field goals, but with you it's quite common.....

    It's called a discussion forum for a reason, for a discussion. Not a "only talk about the exact words DatabaseHead wants to discuss."

    I have a full staff of team players, some making over 200k, not individuals that are too good to do the work that needs to be done.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead CSM, ITIL x3, Teradata Assc, MS SQL Server, Project +, Server +, A+, N+, MS Project, CAPM, RMP Member Posts: 2,502 ■■■■■■■■■□
    edited April 2019
    EANx said:
    EANx said:
    I would hope you wouldn't ask a .net developer who is making 160,000 a year to help Lois in accounting troubleshoot Excel.....   If you did and I was your boss we would be having a chat.....  

    The lowest paid resource who can do the job should do the job........  Management 101
    And sometimes that's the 160k developer.

    My team knows that we all chip in and that 98% of what they do will be what they were hired for but the other 2% will be what the organization needs. I'd rather pay a 160k developer for 5 minutes of a basic task than have a 60k resource sitting around for an hour waiting for the "right" person to come by and help. Finance 101
    Where did you come up with that arbitrary number?   How and why did you derive 98% and that's the only resource?  Sounds like you have a staffing issue and in that case you and I would be having a chat.....

    This was the comment:  As a hiring manager, I would never want to hire such a candidate that would pick-and-choose how they wanted to help the organization.  This was a blanket statement not set with any clauses or conditions...  

    Let's not move the field goals, but with you it's quite common.....

    It's called a discussion forum for a reason, for a discussion. Not a "only talk about the exact words DatabaseHead wants to discuss."

    I have a full staff of team players, some making over 200k, not individuals that are too good to do the work that needs to be done.
    I'm just saying you don't get to tell an employee to do whatever the heck you want because it's perceived as for the greater good of the company; if you do choose wisely.   If when you hired these 200k resources you told them they would have to clean toilets and change printer cartridges then fine that's within scope.  But it's complete BS to expect someone to go outside their role on any kind of regular occurrence.  Even if that occurrence is 2%, that's still too much.  If you want to have a talk with that employee setting expectations for additional roles responsibility then fine manage that way, WHICH IS THE CORRECT WAY.

    Good grief is this really what management has come too?  


  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,774 ■■■■■■■■□□
    There is more then one thing going on in this thread. At it's core it is about the original posters desire for a job. If he is gainfully employed and satisfied then I suggest moving on from this interview is absolutely acceptable. Possibly the best choice that could be made.

    However there is some hesitation because he continues by asking if he is going to need this type of company to build his career. This gives us a sense that he is still fairly new and has ambitions. Now we know he is confident because he is not going to follow some procedure when he is fully capable of winging it. What we don't know is where he stands in his career and his abilities. I think it is a great thing to be able to pass on work that does not fit your needs as long as you are finding other work that does. So I suggest finishing any interview the best you can and simply declining the position if you are uncomfortable with it.
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