Computer Lab Specialist

Jean Cullen

Tell us about your work---what do you do? I manage the computer labs for the Language and Reading departments at a college. Other disciplines that I assist include Art, Nutrition, ESL, and Macintosh Design. I help schedule classes for each semester, coordinate with the faculty about special classes and I am also in charge of the drop in hours. I install software applications and have knowledge of software operation . I also lead orientation to classes regarding software and lab policies, as well as troubleshoot any hardware problems. What skills are needed? Communication and customer service skills are a must. You have to be able to remain calm in stressful situations. You have to maintain a positive attitude with and for the students. What was your major? English How did you get started in your career? I was a Learning Resources Manager for several years. In 1983, the campus provided 12 Apple II computers to the Resource Center. I than became the Computer Lab Specialist over time. What experience do you need in this job? You really need to understand the operations of the computers and be able to run the software programs. My job requires an AA degree and four years experience with software applications . Describe your "typical" workday: It almost always involves troubleshooting software and hardware problems. I also provide assistance to the students in the lab. I apprise my boss of any new or difficult requests that have been made. I supervise approximately ten student technicians and provide the faculty with any necessary student reports. What is the hardest aspect of your job? When I have to handle five or six problems at a time, it can be difficult. Especially when either the student or the instructor feels that he/she is the center of the universe. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? When the "light goes on" and students realize they have learned something new or have a sense of accomplishment. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field?