Did you ever notice that in a multi-service oriented IT organization, that delivers new projects / products as well as provides IT support services to customers, more focus is normally given to delivery of products than providing high quality maintenance & support services? Well, if you have, then you are not the only one!
What I have seen at least in the Indian IT companies is the poor comparison given to the professionals working in the IT service support domain than to the professionals working in delivering new functionality to the customers. I suppose the roots of such unfair comparisons are in few myths that are present in the IT area.
- Call centre perception – Yeah, most of the people I spoke with did not have any idea when I asked and interviewed them about working in support projects. I asked them ‘What do you think working in support means for you?’ The quickest answer I got back is ‘I think it’s like working in a call centre, you need to be on phone all the time and answer customer queries. I am not interested in becoming a phone operator!’ Well, to a certain extent they are right. If you are providing support services from an off-site based location (Offshore or nearshore locations) then yes it does involve lots of speaking on phone. But if you look the way IT is working, speaking on phone, joining conference calls etc., has become just the way of work.
- You do not learn much when you work in support – This is the most common excuse given by professionals (at least young professionals) when they are asked to work on support projects. They feel that working in support does not offer them opportunities to enrich their skills in technical area. I certainly do not agree with this! In my view, working in the support function just gives you an opportunity to view at things differently and gives you a closer and practical look on how projects work on production platform and how a product is used in practice. You get to know the project and products from a close angle and you are always on the edge to keep the software / service working. Imagine how it would be like to have an outage on a banking site!
- You do not feel enough challenged while working in support – This is another common myth that makes house in the minds of fellow software professionals. They feel that working in support projects does not offer enough to challenge their intellectual wits. They feel that the work is repetitive and routine and thus they would get bored after some time in working in the project. I certainly do not think so! Ask this question to the people who support the online trading on bank website, or stock market website where even a minute’s outage may mean you lose millions of dollars in business. Is this not a challenge to keep them running?
- My professional growth will stagnate – Lots of people whom I interviewed for projects often complained to me that if they join the support project, their growth opportunity will be limited and they would get stereotyped for rest of their career. To the certain extent I agree with later part (i.e., stereotyped) but definitely do not agree with the first argument. The growth of the individual in an IT organization depends on how the person senses opportunity and makes use of it and not on what project he or she works on. After all, you are likely to get a better recognition if you save a bank site from falling over than writing a piece of software!
- My value amongst my peers will go down! – This is one of the silliest excuses I have ever come across; indeed I did come across this. The person who was telling me this was saying that he will feel inferior compared to a person working in a delivery and writing Java code. Fuf.. ! I did not have any answer for this, but all I would say is the inferiority is in the mind and depends on confidence of one rather than natural capability.
Interesting enough right? Let me know if you have come across any more myths about professionals saying no to work in support.
As earlier, pasting here a fantastic Dilbert comic strip that gives perfect example of how the world perceives of the Tech / Application support !