Michelle Winters was part of the team originally chosen to create the Cloud Support Administrator role. She came up in Email and Apps as a Customer Flow Technician, so she had a good background in DNS but little practical Administration knowledge. As we’ve said in previous posts, the CSA team is more about having the right passion than having all the right skills, and leadership immediately saw big passion in Michelle, paired with the desire to gain that technical knowledge.
“Being a CSA was really a new experience completely. It was a new department,” Michelle says. While the team leads figured out exactly how to structure and run the department, the CSAs were already expected to be learning. ”We were talking with customers who had done linux for 10 years. We were expected to know how to do what they did in six months.” The training timelines were accelerated to near fever-pitch, but the first class of CSAs was up for the challenge: the business needed them and customers were asking for exactly this kind of support.
The first class of CSAs took every opportunity they could to train each other up, watching out for one another, and making sure everyone was moving forward in their knowledge. All this, while still serving thousands of customers. ”When I was done with work, and was tired and took 100 chats in a day, I went home and opened my Linux+ book. Other techs made break fixes for us. We tested each other. We helped each other.”
The tradition of looking for people who learn quickly hasn’t changed on the CSA team, as both Daytona and Chris pointed out in our earlier posts. Michelle says that one thing that has changed is the amount of tools and formal training available. A year into the team’s life, there are a number of classes CSAs can enroll in through RU. Additionally, some of the first generation of CSAs have stuck around to become coaches and leaders themselves, passing on lessons learned. Others, like Michelle, have used the knowledge they gained as a CSA to move into other segments of the business.
Today, Michelle is a Cloud AM. She made the transition from an Email and Apps support position, to CSA to Cloud Account Manager in under two years. She’s responsible for the well being of a large group of customers, and she credits her time as a CSA with her success in dealing with their issues. ”There is a direct benefit. Now I have the technical skills and knowledge,” she says, adding that she can speak to specific concerns they have and keep up with the conversation when things get technical.
Michelle is a stellar Racker with an incredible arsenal of skills at her disposal. Her time as a CSA has only added to those talents and abilities. Think you have what it takes to be a CSA? Michelle claims you’ve got to be very, very responsible and be willing to put in the long hours and hard work needed. But, she adds, “If you want to learn linux of windows administration, CSA is definitely the way to go. Yes, it’s entry level but my god what you won’t learn. You’ll learn what being a server administrator is all about.”
Category: Rackers Tags: Career development, Cloud Administration, highlighter, Linux, Women in IT