Call Centers

mikeybikesmikeybikes MemberMember Posts: 86 ■■□□□□□□□□
How many of you started out working in tech support in a call center?

A friend of mine seems convinced this is how most IT folk get their starts. I don't really see it that way. Yes, I did spend six months in a call center, but it was really more of a job to fill a gap in employment.


  • paul78paul78 Senior Member Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I have never worked in a call-center providing primary tier-1 support. But that's just one data point - icon_wink.gif
  • SteveLordSteveLord Lord of IT World Member Posts: 1,717
    So because you never did, what he says isn't true? I would say a good chunk of TE members here started out at the helpdesk taking calls.
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  • Cisc0kiddCisc0kidd Senior Member Member Posts: 250
    I think if they start there they don't stay there long. The longer a person is in a call center the less likely the are to make the jump to IT.
  • NightShade1NightShade1 Product Manager Member Posts: 433 ■■■□□□□□□□
    mikeybikes wrote: »
    How many of you started out working in tech support in a call center?

    A friend of mine seems convinced this is how most IT folk get their starts. I don't really see it that way. Yes, I did spend six months in a call center, but it was really more of a job to fill a gap in employment.

    This is a common thing on my country but when i started looking job i refused to get in one.... a month later of looking around i got into an ISP as my first job
  • shodownshodown Senior Member Member Posts: 2,271
    I did it 3 times.

    Once for one year. Doing Tier 1 VOIP support.

    Then for 6 weeks doing Video support after I moved from home(worse job I ever had)

    3rd time was for 18 months doing Tier 3 support(hardest job technically I ever had) this is what put me in the position that I'm in now to do what I do. If you get into a call center that does high end support I would take it, but have a plan to get out after 12-24 months. When I say high end support I mean having calls with Cisco BU and writing up BUG examples on new software and working those through problem resolution. I worked with Cisco developers on CUCM, UCCX, and UC documenting bugs, getting problems fixed and testing out COP files to fix problems. This job was hell, but a lot of opportunity came from it, so if you can find something simular take it.
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  • pumbaa_gpumbaa_g Senior Member Member Posts: 353
    I started off as Customer Support, Sales then moved to Tech Support. Was horrible in sales!
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  • paul78paul78 Senior Member Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    SteveLord wrote: »
    So because you never did, what he says isn't true?
    Hence my point that it's just one data point.

    But I would counter that starting in a call center may be common for certain IT career paths, it may not be common for other IT career paths. I rarely run into programmers in IT that started in a call center.
  • JackaceJackace Senior Member Member Posts: 335
    General call center not so much, but if you meant more of a help desk or NOC call center then yes many people start there.
  • YFZbluYFZblu Senior Member Member Posts: 1,462 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Starting in a helpdesk call center can be an easy way in for IT hopefuls - I started in a call center environment doing Tier 1 support with no knowledge or certifications. The problem is getting out of the call center once you've nailed some certs or have achieved a higher level of understanding. For me it was difficult.
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Member Posts: 1,658 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I didn't start out in a call center offering tier 1 support... however, I did end up there after 2.5 years into my career when the bubble burst. I was on the floor for a week before I was pulled off, however, to provide tier 2 support, and later a team lead and tier 3 support.

    Things are different for many folks, but tier 1 support is a VERY common starting point... or a starting over point.
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  • N2ITN2IT Senior Member Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Paul makes a solid point. Depending on which type of IT professional you are referring to.

    Normally from my vantage point I have see the progression go as follows:

    IT Service Desk>Tier 2 or Deskside Support > System Admininstrator or Client Technologies (Tier 3 endpoint engineering)
    Intern Developer>Developer>Senior Developer> (From here I have seen all sorts of moves)
    NOC1>NOC2>Network Adminstration>Network Engineer

    My path went AS400 and Mainframe support (when I finally got into IT)>Service Desk>Project Coordinator Service Desk Level 2 (Dual Role on a Project)>Tier 2 Service Desk Support>Senior Team Lead (Management Position)>Software Support Tier 3>Lead Analyst(Back in Management)

    I do agree though a large majority of IT professional seekers start out on a service desk or NOC.

    At Powerfool (Good point about starting over point) If you never made it very far and you find yourself on hard times it could be just that a start over point.
  • kurosaki00kurosaki00 Pancakes and Lasagna Member Posts: 973
    I began as plain support
    I did worked in a call center but it was for phone problems, not really IT
  • PsoasmanPsoasman Senior Member Member Posts: 2,687 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I worked at a call center for a large telecom company for 4 months, before jumping into my current position. Some people had been there for years, intending to move out / up, but never did.
  • VAHokie56VAHokie56 You serious Clark? Member Posts: 783
    I sat in an awful call center for a little over a year...while it was a means to an ends I hated every second and I still look back with the knowledge I have learned and say "holy crap that place was miss-managed". Its an easy place to jump in but I saw a lot of fokes who I would consider "lifers" in there that just looked very maybe don't spend much time there.
    "A flute without holes, is not a flute. A donut without a hole, is a Danish" - Ty Webb
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  • DeemeetriDeemeetri Member Member Posts: 60 ■■□□□□□□□□
    guys maybe you can give me some advice... I worked for a call center supporting VOIP for about 4 years with a few IT help desk contracts in between until I was working in a call center about a month ago and I ABSOLUTELY HATED IT!! and i vowed to myself if I ever work for a call center again I'd hang myself first... kind of like "i'm not going back to prison, I'll kill myself first" lol as soon as I quit I started studying for my CCNA in hopes that it will open some doors for me in the IT field... I've been in the VoIP industry for a bit so i figured if i get my CCNA and then CCNA Voice it'll open some doors for me... what do you guys think??
  • VAHokie56VAHokie56 You serious Clark? Member Posts: 783
    Sounds like a good plan, with the voice certs you should do fine with that background. I know a lot of consulting companies here in Richmond that work with 200 to 1000 user customers doing voip integration that are always looking for people like that.
    "A flute without holes, is not a flute. A donut without a hole, is a Danish" - Ty Webb
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  • Repo ManRepo Man Senior Member Member Posts: 300
    I started at an ISP doing billing support, transferred to technical support, then used that experience to get a help desk job. Looking back it was a brutal job but the soft skills you learn at a job like that makes IT support seem easy in comparison.
  • AnonymouseAnonymouse Irate End User Member Posts: 509 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I started out in desktop support. Now I'm in a call center...
  • NemowolfNemowolf Senior Member Member Posts: 319 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I started in the Geek Squad, six months later i got my first coporate help desk/desktop support and am now peaked and need the bachelors to get ahead.
  • ptilsenptilsen Junior Starcraft Engineer Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    paul78 wrote: »
    I rarely run into programmers in IT that started in a call center.
    I will agree there (although I do know of a couple), but I took the the question (and tend to take most on this site) as directed at infrastructure. I would say most IT professionals who go onto systems and network administration roles start in call centers (helpdesk) or mixed helpdesk/desktop support roles.

    I don't know of any data that supports this theory, but my professional experiences and involvement here have led me to believe that that majority, if not the vast majority of IT infrastructure professionals get their start doing a job that is at least 50% phone support and lasts at least six months. I would also agree with assertions that people who stay in these roles for longer than three years become extremely unlikely to ever transition.

    Personally, I spent about two years at one, and would have been out quicker if that 1.5-2-year stretch hadn't been right at the start of the Great Recession. My advice is always to get in and out as fast as you can. It's generally not advised to leave jobs within two years, but that first one is the exception.
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  • stlsmoorestlsmoore Senior Member Member Posts: 515 ■■■□□□□□□□
    To get on to the Network side I had to get my foot in through a call center NOC. I was on the Tier I "team" that consisted of me, myself, and I supporting mainly the old CallManger 4.1 and Unity 4 stuff along with monitoring circuits.
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  • drkatdrkat Senior Member Banned Posts: 703
    Time for my $0.02 - Started off desktop support ended in a call center, problem is definitely getting out of the CC because when you apply out people see "call center/helpdesk" and always pigeon hole you into those roles. I was lucky enough to transition into a NOC whch allowed me to focus more on network / voice etc.. so depending on the call center it can work or it sucks.. I worked for a company in the helpdesk/call center whatever the hell you wanna call it and it was the most wretched job ever
  • BlowindoeBlowindoe Junior Member Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    most people do start out at a help desk/ desktop support role to gain experience in the field and then try and move into bigger and better things
  • WafflesAndRootbeerWafflesAndRootbeer Senior Member Member Posts: 555
    I would avoid it. The only thing it's good for is learning help desk ticket software because many organizational help desks do not actually do anything except read from script before deciding to pass the problem on to the actual technical people like me. I have yet to work any gig where the help desk is actual IT people and the closest I've seen to that are the remote techs who handle tickets remotely out of a call-center-like environment which still requires them to get work handed off from the help desk crew located elsewhere.
  • PishofPishof Senior Member Member Posts: 193
    I must have been lucky - never worked phone support. My first IT job jumped me straight into becoming a jack of all trades role. I immediately began working with Novell Netware, Zenworks, and Groupwise having never touched them before. Now I've transitioned into doing everything here from researching and project implementation to being the server administrator for AD and in charge of the WLANs. It's just always been my boss and I supporting an entire school district so there has always been plenty of varied tasks to accomplish.

    The issue now is I'm still being paid like it's an entry level job and there isn't much left to do other than implement 1-1 devices for students.
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  • lantechlantech Senior Member Member Posts: 329
    I first started at Bestbuy repair center for 3 months as my first "Computer" job. Never had to work in an actual store. Then I went to work in a call center for 9 months operated by MCI doing phone support for Packard Bell and then Hewlett Packard. I think I'm dating myself here.

    There were two things about that call center job. The soft skills was good to learn. Plus it really taught me good troubleshooting techniques that have served me well over the years. From there I went to being a field tech and then up to sys admin for awhile.

    I've worked a couple of other call centers to get back into IT and to hold me over until I found another job. Now I'm working in data centers doing a little bit of everything.
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  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Google Ninja Member Posts: 4,317 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I worked in Xerox' call center and there is one thing I know for sure : never EVER again ...

    BUT - it did get me started due to their internal learning centres ... 12 years ago I didn't know what a network is, started in Xerox and worked since as admin in HP / Symantec / Intel / world largest online casino / one of the largest hosting companies in the UK and now in one of the largest finance company in London / UK for global architecture and engineering ...

    So it certainly worked out for me (probably increased my salary by 400% since too)
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  • stiltnerstiltner Member Member Posts: 32 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'm working in one now.

    I've worked deskside and solo gigs.

    I enjoy it, mostly because its a work from home job.

    When I did deskside, I got paid a little more, but my costs were higher, and I didn't have

    Now I eat healthier (I've lost 10lbs since I switched jobs in Feb, I got off high blood pressure meds too)

    I enjoy my job, i work with some fantastic people, they're fun, energetic, enjoyable and equally skilled.
    Its a great environment, and I've been doing tech support for longer than some of you probably been alive.

    But most people are right, you either love it, or hate it. There's no in between. In the 6+ months I been
    where I am I've watched a lot of people come and go. Working from home takes discipline that a lot of people
    just do not have. They need to be managed because they can't self manage. Not beating them up, but
    it really does show through who can manage their work flow well and who can't.
  • CodeBloxCodeBlox Network Engineer Member Posts: 1,363 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I worked on the NMCI helpdesk for 11 months... I got some good experience while there but after six months that job drove me nuts and I really hated it. Calls in the queue every minute for 8 - 10 hour shifts really sucks! Do your time, work on some certs and get out of it! I'm not there anymore (thank god) but people tell me that some of the same people are still there (3 and 4 years doing tier 1 work). Shows a lack of aptitude, drive and desire if you ask me for someone to stay that long. On top of the crappy work conditions the wages were REALLY low.
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  • sieffsieff Senior Member Member Posts: 276
    I started at ISP in NOC environment. Lot of customized tools for troubleshooting, but no actual hands-on. Great experience, but wouldn't recommend doing it for over 3 years.
    "The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept were toiling upward in the night." from the poem: The Ladder of St. Augustine, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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