Everyone should have to work in technical support first


I was on a recruiting trip to Texas last week with some other Microsoft employees.  We got to work out of the Microsoft Texas buildings in Las Colinas (in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for those of you not familiar with Texas).   Microsoft has a bunch of PSS in those buildings.  PSS, of course, is our Product Support Specialist team, and they answer the phone calls for technical support.  This was how I got started at Microsoft.  I worked in tech support for Windows 95 for a year.


I jokingly think everyone in the computer world should be forced to work in tech support for about a year before getting to design, test, code or sell software.  This way, if anyone ever says something like “But no one will ever  try to do that!” you can calmly reply, “Oh, yes, they will.  And I can even give you the names of the first three people that will try that, since I spoke with them just last week when they were trying to do exactly that.”


I liked MS Texas as well.  It was similar enough to Redmond that I knew I was at Microsoft, but different enough that I knew I was not at home. 


I’ll spare everyone the saga of the most memorable phone calls (except this one: I asked a fellow how big his hard drive was and he answered “About the size of my hand.”) and point out that all the funny stories you hear are true.  Working there gives you a new perspective on computers and users.  And even with that new outlook, you cannot make up stories any stranger than what actually occurs.


Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,


Comments (4)

  1. Kathy Jacobs says:

    I’ll second the idea that every computer professional should have to work support in one way or another before going on to other things. Besides helping those who code (test, document, etc.) understand what users are really like, it would also help everyone understand the value of a GOOD computer support person.

    Just my two cents!

  2. An ability all testers need is troubleshooting. When presented with a problem, testers need to be able

  3. Gayatri Das says:

    What are the works done by a tech support and what is the salary of a tech support employee?Describe with examples?

  4. JohnGuin says:

    As far as salary goes, the salary tool at usatoday.com (in the money section) has always seemed pretty accurate to me.

    the work done by tech support varies with what software you are supporting.  I worked with Windows 95, so I had to be ready for calls related to just about anything (modem doesn’t work, printer won’t print, can’t get the screen to resize, etc…).  I’d estimate about 10-20% of the calls could have been avoided if people had read the book, and another third could have been answered in many of the third party books available.