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Anyone ever work for a managed service provider?

Right now i work as a service desk analyst, my job mainly entails password resets and restarting things

About a week ago i got an email on linkedin for a job as a help desk consultant

here is the job description


Key Areas of Responsibility:
  • Answer customer calls and provide Tier-1 support for technical issues
  • Enter tickets into the HUB trouble ticketing system
  • Assist Senior IT Consultants with various IT projects
  • Monitor and maintain client networks to ensure optimal performance, reliability, and security
  • Other duties as required
Qualifications:
  • Highly proficient in desktop IT technologies (Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS X, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Office, etc.)
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills
  • Exceptional customer service skills
  • Expert troubleshooting skills for complex technical issues
Technical Skills:
  • Windows Server - Installation, Configuration and Administration
  • Server 2003/2008
  • Small Business Server 2003/2008/2011
  • Active Directory (GPOs)
  • Microsoft Exchange - Installation, Configuration and Administration
  • Exchange 2003/2007/2010
  • Setting up new Exchange environments
  • Migrating users to a new Exchange server
  • Networking:
    • Setting up a firewall, configuring rules, site-to-site VPNs, etc. (Watchguard + SonicWall)
    • Solid understanding IP addressing and subnet masks
    • Solid understand of other basics like: DHCP, DNS,NAT
  • Experience with Kaseya (Highly Desirable), Hyper-V / VMWare, SQL Server and Mac

This job would be a huge step up in my career - anyways, main question if anyone has every worked for a managed service provider what kind of things should i expect when customers call in?

Thanks

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    petedudepetedude Member Posts: 1,510
    Expect:
    1. MSPs are cheap. They will pay market or slightly less, and will wring every penny out of their resources, including staff.
    2. If you're working billable hours on a support desk, don't expect much slack time. If you're getting billed in 15 min. increments, you have to hope you can wrap the next customer's issues in ten minutes so you can have five to catch up on E-mail.
    3. You will get every possible variety of client under the sun, ranging from people who don't even know what a mouse is to people who will argue with you about what the best server OS is if you let it start. Be patient, creative, and work with what you get.
    4. Expect to show up on time and (possibly) get yelled at if you're late.
    5. Now that I have the negatives out of the way. . . MSPs are usually small, congenial outfits. You will learn a lot, and polish a good number of the skills you already have.
    Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
    --Will Rogers
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    IristheangelIristheangel Mod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    You'll be overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated, and have little to no job security but you will learn a lot. If you have a decent amount of experience or know what you want to specialize in, I would continue shopping. If not, then go for it
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
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    gbdavidxgbdavidx Member Posts: 840
    I work for a hospital right now and its very easy for me, i'm always doing something, whether its answering emails or answering phone calls

    i dont have an issue with always working. i asked for 25 an hr, and they originally wanted to offer my at the max 47k (as thats what i currently make, hoping for a little more), so we'll see what they say,

    i was just curious as to what kind of calls id expect
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    netsysllcnetsysllc Member Posts: 479 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Petedude has some good points for the most part. I disagree on MSP's being cheap though, it is a matter of simple economics. I could go make more money in the corporate world for sure but that is an entirely different beast all together. I have a lot of benefits working for a small MSP, not to mention the owner is awesome.

    Benefits:
    1. You will learn things far and wide that you likely would never get from a corporate job, the skill set is going to be very wide
    2. Things change from minute to minute, you will be on your toes and never bored
    3. You will have the opportunity to build your customer service skills and people skills

    Downside:
    1. You will never be a specialist in any one thing.
    2. Possibility for long hours
    3. Fast paced environment that is numbers driven (billable hours per month)

    Expectations:
    1. Dealing with people who are upset and frustrated, IT is the bad guy when things do not work
    2. Everybody thinks their problem is an emergency
    3. You will learn about a large variety of software and applications
    4. 20% of issues are PEBCAK

    To succeed:
    1. Make learning a passion and keep up on new skill sets, it is easy to get stuck because you are always fixing
    2. Keep the customers happy, positive feedback to your employer will go a long way
    3. Keep your tickets up to date
    4. Learn the tools of the company, especially the ticketing system and remote management software.
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    gbdavidxgbdavidx Member Posts: 840
    So what do you guy's mean long hours? What exactly would i be doing? If i get a call and can't fix it in one day, i can go back tomorrow to continue to troubleshoot?

    I kind of like the idea of having access to everything, my current job role i do not as everything is segragated
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    gbdavidxgbdavidx Member Posts: 840
    It all sounds very exciting im just curious as to what calls ill be getting and how much time i can actually work on each call
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    ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I would take it. I did it for two years, and it was a great experience. In some ways it was horrible. Long hours, easily averaging over 50/week. MSPs are cheap because their customers are cheaper. Mine wasn't unreasonable with its staff, but they can only pay you so much before the margin is next to gone.

    Do it for two or three years, then move on. You will get so much experience that you'll likely get a good idea for where you want to go with the rest of your career. At the very least, you'll know where you don't want to go for the rest of your career.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
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    gbdavidxgbdavidx Member Posts: 840
    thanks yeah i told her i'd go a little lower on hourly, i dont mind the overtime and this will help pave my way into more of an IT career goal as i dont know what i really want to do
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    jibbajabbajibbajabba Member Posts: 4,317 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I was working for a small hosting company - 20 people - where the owner / director was a friend of mine for 10 or so years. There were a few good points mentioned - long hours. But that is simply based on the size of the team / company and not a general "thing" of MSPs.

    I was working in the Infrastructure department and only dealt with tier-2/3 of the support side of things - it basically ended with me, hence the long hours. Tier-1 escalated and it was to our (4 men team on a rota) to fix it - no matter what - 12hr datacenter trips included.

    Our tier-1 staff usually didn't have this. They had a 24/7/365 on-call rota but once that is done and they escalated - they went back to bed.

    So the long hours are really depending on the size of the team. If you got 25 people in your team for supporting 10 server and 20 people, then based on that you clearly have nothing to worry about. I am working in a 4-men team now again supporting 1000+ server and 600+ staff (same thing, tier2/3/4 - you name it) - so most of the work has to be done on weekends or late at night (work such as maintenance or simply tasks which can't be done intra-day). So long hours are clearly "part of the game" (got my blackberry before I even had a login to my PC).

    Re Cheap: Don't agree really, but that again depends on the size of the company I guess. In the hosting company I worked for I increased my salary by almost 100% over 4.5 years. But that is because I did not accept the issue someone described - not specializing for one thing.

    I made sure I am becoming the go-to-man for a particular technology - which made me "important" and "expensive" ...

    But there is one thing which is the same everywhere - tickets are taken into consideration at annual review time. How a company deals with it is different. But it is important nonetheless .. Best thing is you make sure you check how they'll affect your future. Is the quantity important - length of a call - different technologies etc. (how is "cherry picking" being punished) and so on.

    There is really just one thing I can suggest - do NOT cherry pick any tickets / issues, but just grab them, whether you know it or not - that is the only way to learn .. thrown into the deep end and all that .. don't be afraid to ask but show initiative.
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
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    jmritenourjmritenour Member Posts: 565
    My experience working for a MSP has been very similar to jibbajabba's. Maybe because they were both hosting services plays into that.

    You will definitely get to learn a LOT and get exposure to many different technologies. I definitely refined my Linux knowledge in 2 years at a MSP, and learned a bit about Solaris as well. I got to work with many different types of storage - EMC, NetApp, 3Par, a couple huge Hitachi SANs the size of a refrigerator, and many others. I got my first exposure to FC and fabrics - previously, I had only used iSCSI for storage due to cost, and only knew FC technology in theory.

    It is definitely very fast paced, and there is little down time most days, at least if business is healthy. When I was hourly, non-exempt, overtime was discouraged, but we had 24x7 coverage, so I'd hand things off to the next shift if I didn't have approval for OT to wrap up what I was working on. When I moved to engineering, however, and became non-exempt, then I was allowed to work all the 10, 12, or 14 hour days I wanted, since it didn't cost them anything. :) But even with a 12 hour day, a lot of times I felt like I wasn't getting anything accomplished. There was just entirely too much work for us to handle, and that is one problem I've seen with some MSPs - they will keep a relatively large staff of tier 1s that pretty much answer the phone and read from a script, because they are cheap. But they run lean on headcount in tier 2/3, because those are more skilled positions, and they've got to keep the profit margins up.

    Like jibbajabba, what worked for me was specializing in a particular technology (double whammy on virtualization and active directory for me) and being the go-to guy for it. It made my previous employer try VERY hard to retain me when I gave my notice as well.

    Overall, MSPs are a decent place to work, and I'd much rather do that than be part of an in house IT staff. I don't think I could bear working in a static, relatively unchanging environment at this point.
    "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible; suddenly, you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi
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    stlsmoorestlsmoore Member Posts: 515 ■■■□□□□□□□
    You'll be overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated, and have little to no job security but you will learn a lot. If you have a decent amount of experience or know what you want to specialize in, I would continue shopping. If not, then go for it

    Yup pretty much how it was for me but it was a great way to get my foot in the door into networking. It was a NOC that provided managed Voip services using primarly Call Manager 4 lol.
    My Cisco Blog Adventure: http://shawnmoorecisco.blogspot.com/

    Don't Forget to Add me on LinkedIn!
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawnrmoore
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I've done two stints with an MSP. 1 for 1.2 years and another for 6 months.

    Pros:

    Great experience
    Ability to look like the hero because you are usually solving a major problem
    Develop relationships in two organizations someimes more depending on how many customers their are (Personally for me 3)
    Show major value and get a really good reputation you can command a lot of money. If you are just ho hum then you can fall in a lower bill rate
    Ability to take on roles you would normally not get due to project growth. Example Op lead - service delivery lead - service desk manager in 5 months. That's extreme growth and the pay followed shortly after
    Understanding of financials and how the synch into the operation. You are usually concerned about utilization.

    Cons:

    Your bill rate is actually a lot less usually due to the fact you pick up hidden hours all the time driving your earnings down
    Really no job description, you can be uprooted at anytime and placed somewhere else. (This can be a pro or a con bu a risk needless to say)
    Unstabile, if the contract goes so do you. Usually there are 60 - 90 day provisions in the contract if the contract goes to term.
    If the work isn't there sometimes you have to send employees home. That can be a killer especially with no pay.


    Overall I think it's something that a young it professional can gain from. I really was able to use my ITIL knowledge to make a difference plus my experience. It really reinforced my knowledge and now when I go into an interview and they ask me questions about SOW, contracts, financials, operational and strategic management, etc I usually nail it.

    I essentially went from a service desk - coordinator (MSP) Op Lead - Service Deliver Lead - Service Desk Manager (My title with the customer is supervisor due to the environment, but if you call the company I work for I am a manager).

    That's a really big gain. And now I am moving onto another MSP and taking the role of a security manager. So as you can see it benefitted me greatly. Not to mention I got to work with an Accenture alum (30 years) who taught me sooooooooooooo much it's insane. I was floating around a 3 on a scale 1 - 10 and now I am a solid 6 coming up on 7 in the IT management world.

    I say go for it.
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    shodownshodown Member Posts: 2,271
    You'll be overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated, and have little to no job security but you will learn a lot. If you have a decent amount of experience or know what you want to specialize in, I would continue shopping. If not, then go for it


    My only difference was the job security. I was Tier 3 at the MSP I worked, nobody dared taked my job,lol. If you can get into the high tiered positions its can be worth it, I was over 100K doing mine, but it was hell for that almost 2 years.
    Currently Reading

    CUCM SRND 9x/10, UCCX SRND 10x, QOS SRND, SIP Trunking Guide, anything contact center related
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    f0rgiv3nf0rgiv3n Member Posts: 598 ■■■■□□□□□□
    You'll be overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated, and have little to no job security but you will learn a lot. If you have a decent amount of experience or know what you want to specialize in, I would continue shopping. If not, then go for it

    +1 Same experience for me.
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    ChickenNuggetzChickenNuggetz Member Posts: 284
    Pretty much everyone hit the nail on the head with what they stated. To add I'll give you my experiences thus far:

    CONS:
    The MSP I work for is not only small, less than 20, but is also a startup as its only a year or so old. The hours can be long and the pay is not so great (less than comparable roles at larger more established companies). Benefits are pretty crappy, I overpay in health benefits and there is no retirement or 401k matching through the company. I do have a solid 2 weeks of time off, but it encompasses both vacation and sick leave. I often feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants, very little oversight/mentoring, and generally under appreciated by senior staff. I work all the time. My first week on the job I pulled 70+ hours. I work weekends and nights often. I'm always on call.

    PROS:
    To put it succinctly: experience. I've gained an IMMENSE amount of experience in a lot of different technologies in the short time I've been with my company. I started out in IT in June of this year doing menial desktop support stuff. At the MSP, I've done it all from building servers in-house to building them in a data center. I've learned a ton about virtualization and systems administration. I'm learning a TON about Linux and I've even configured routers, switches and access points and have deployed them remotely and on-site. I've even helped to configure our management platform and built-out a knowledge base for internal use.


    What makes it all worth it? The experience, hands down. I feel with at least a solid years worth of experience at this gig plus the right certs to compliment the experience, I'll be in a MUCH better position to grab a job that I really really want that will pay me what I'm worth. As others have stated, if you already have the experience and know what you want to specialize towards, MSP jobs could probably be overlooked. But if youre still cutting your teeth in the IT world, it may not be a bad place to stop and pick up some great skills.
    :study: Currently Reading: Red Hat Certified Systems Administrator and Engineer by Ashgar Ghori

    Certifications: CCENT; CCNA: R&S; Security+

    Next up: RHCSA
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    antielvisantielvis Member Posts: 285 ■■■□□□□□□□
    OP

    I've worked for several MSP's. My experience covered the entire spectrum "is this a good workplace". The comments people have posted above pretty much sum it up.

    I been around a while in IT and I think that my experience at an MSP was vital to getting me where I am today. For starters I was exposed to all types of technology which taught me how to get answers (Google). And it made me unafraid of walking into a hornets nest & sorting stuff out.

    Just as importantly, it taught me a great deal of other skills. I learned how to deal with nasty people. I learned how to deal with business owners of all types & how to be a "chameleon" to adapt to the client I was at. You really get a chance to master soft skills of all types & find opportunities. It also offers huge potential to go off on your own (which I did) and run and gun for some good coin. But, be warned, burn out is high and it's a TOUGH gig.

    I think that working at an MSP is very good for your career & less so for your stress levels (and waist size lol). Get in a few years and get out.
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    HypntickHypntick Member Posts: 1,451 ■■■■■■□□□□
    The experience is exactly the main selling point of any MSP job. As far as long hours, yep you'll get that, especially if you're one of the SME's or senior guys. However getting to be the SME or a senior guy, means the low pay aspect goes away. You're far to valuable to that MSP for them to underpay you. I'll say that it was most certainly a positive change from the corp. environment I was used to.
    WGU BS:IT Completed June 30th 2012.
    WGU MS:ISA Completed October 30th 2013.
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    One thing I failed to mention. If you are a SME or a champion / valued member it can become very nasty if you depart. (Just thought it was worth noting).
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    gbdavidxgbdavidx Member Posts: 840
    Thanks for all the reply's i think im gonna accept the job if i can get an interview with the lead guy (he is off due to the holidays) but i think they want to fill the position asap, sounds like I'll learn a lot!

    I really don't know what i want to do so I think this will help pave my feature!
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    jmritenourjmritenour Member Posts: 565
    N2IT wrote: »
    One thing I failed to mention. If you are a SME or a champion / valued member it can become very nasty if you depart. (Just thought it was worth noting).

    This can be true. My old employer tried very hard to keep me, and it pissed a lot of the higher ups off that I didn't accept their counter offer.
    "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible; suddenly, you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi
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    sieffsieff Member Posts: 276
    Is it ever a good idea to accept the counter?
    "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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    MrkaliMrkali Member Posts: 105
    I've yet to see a successful argument over the long term benefit of accepting a counter offer. It almost never ends well.
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    ptilsenptilsen Member Posts: 2,835 ■■■■■■■■■■
    sieff wrote: »
    Is it ever a good idea to accept the counter?

    No, especially not with a smaller MSP. They will be slow and restricted in their hiring, but this means they can be sure to focus 100% on making the next hire is someone who can replace you. I think the reality is you'd spend an uncomfortable year there before moving on anyway.
    Working B.S., Computer Science
    Complete: 55/120 credits SPAN 201, LIT 100, ETHS 200, AP Lang, MATH 120, WRIT 231, ICS 140, MATH 215, ECON 202, ECON 201, ICS 141, MATH 210, LING 111, ICS 240
    In progress: CLEP US GOV,
    Next up: MATH 211, ECON 352, ICS 340
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    jmritenour wrote: »
    This can be true. My old employer tried very hard to keep me, and it pissed a lot of the higher ups off that I didn't accept their counter offer.

    JM

    I am going through that right now. All the passive aggressiveness is getting sickening. 2 more days and I am out. They wanted me to work till the 4th, but my confirmed start date with my new company is the 3rd. I gave them 9 business days and they are throwing a fit.

    I'm out either way. Of course they pulled out all the cards. We will make it hard for you to make employment in this town and we would hate to ruffle the waters for your new employment.

    I took the high road but man it was hard, really freaking hard. I remained transparent with my new employer and they laughed and said bring it. I am very happy my new company (seems) to have my back.

    Regards
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    If you take a counter offer all you have done is provider more time for the employer to hire someone over the top of you. You are viewed as a flight risk and can longer be counted on.
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    WafflesAndRootbeerWafflesAndRootbeer Member Posts: 555
    sieff wrote: »
    Is it ever a good idea to accept the counter?

    Never. MSPs are cut-throat and a lot of the management/supervisors are sociopaths who will tell you one thing to keep you at bay while bringing an axe around to your neck so they can make it look like you were terminated for cause. Also, if they say something like "We'd like to extend your contract..", that means they are in the process of bringing someone else in to replace you and they need some time to put them through the process of being brought on. That happened to me EVERY single time I worked with an MSP. If an MSP signs you up for 90 days - the usual length for a potential new employee - and they don't hire you by day 70, you should be signed up somewhere else by day 80 and give your notice around the same time.
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    filkenjitsufilkenjitsu Member Posts: 564 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I work for a Cellular wireless telecommunications provider.
    CISSP, CCNA SP
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
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