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How to Handle Being a Non-Techie in the Tech Industry

How to Handle Being a Non-Techie in the Tech Industry

The story of an employee's adjustments to working in the technology industry and how she's survived all the tech lingo.

When I was hired at Diagram, I was a bit nervous, since I was entering into a technology-based business, and I wasn’t sure I was knowledgeable enough to work here. I thought, as the person at the front desk, I wasn’t going to be doing too much with the technology, but I was willing to learn.

Discussing this with my husband, I was reminded of when we were dating. He would tell me stories about having to update his parents’ rotary phone, showing them how to use a remote, and setting up their first VCR. I was shocked at how out of date his parents were in the late 80’s - early 90’s! I surely wasn’t like THAT. I know enough for this job; I own a computer and I check emails and shop online. I create Word documents and spreadsheets, I can download pictures, and I’m on Facebook. Surely I can handle working around a bunch of people that spew technology terms all day!

Then I started working at the office.

Make Friends Fast

I realized early on that if I made friends with the IT guys I would be okay. They might laugh at my questions, but if I could get them on my side, everything would be all right.

My first few days were rough. There were quite a few important questions: Why aren’t my “sent” emails listed in the sent folder? Why can’t I see the company calendar? Why won’t the Word window close, even though I’m clicking on the red box with the X in it? Surely these were easy for our IT department. They fixed my issues, and surprisingly, they didn’t even laugh at me!

As time progressed, I was exposed to more functions within the company.

All of a sudden I’m hearing words like Google Drive, Dropbox, Enterprise OS, blogging. It was like trying to interpret a foreign language! Servers, SQL, user interface. What are these people trying to say?! CMS functionality, Ektron taxonomy categories, widget. Seriously?!! I’m totally clueless!!!! What am I going to do?!

Do Our Clients Feel This Way Too?

I started wondering if our clients felt this way? Did they feel lost and overwhelmed and a bit embarrassed when they had to ask for help?

I’ve had to call companies for help when my laptop crashed or when something went haywire. I’ve had to contact service departments when our appliances at home went kaput. I’ve actually dealt with quite a few customer service departments. The one thing I’ve noticed is that the places that helped the most and that I preferred to talk to had a fantastic customer service department. One that would answer my questions without a snicker or attitude. One that would find someone that could help me, if the person I initially spoke to couldn’t. One that would laugh at my jokes and make me feel at ease even if I thought what I did wrong was something only I do.

As a member of Diagram's Client Services department, part of my job is to make sure our clients’ questions or concerns are answered. You may wonder, if I do not have a technical background, how do I accomplish that?

Ask Lots of Questions

Well, I was told by quite a few people in the office when I started that if I had questions, I could always ask for help. So that’s what I did. I put myself in the client’s shoes. I became the “customer”.

Every day I had questions, and every day I learned something new. I’ve gone to my supervisors, the hosting department, development department, IT, and even the partners. I’ve asked little questions, and I’ve asked for certain things to be explained in more detail. As things progressed at work, I noticed something: I was understanding the tech world a little more every day.

One other thing I noticed: every person I asked helped me. Talk about customer service! Regardless of their technology background or experience, regardless of their job title, they were willing to help. I always felt as if the questions I had were important. And that’s when I realized: surviving in a techie world is still all about people.

You can be concerned with being on the cutting edge of technology, using the latest and greatest, and having the best of the best, but in the end it comes down to servicing the customer. And that’s what we do! We offer our clients a great product, but in the end, you want to work with a company that can give you the customer service you deserve. We’re large enough to be able to give you the product that you need, but we’re small enough that our clients still know who they’re talking to when they call in.

But please, keep in mind, when you do call in: I’m still no expert by any means, but I know if you have a question, I can find the person in the office that can help answer it!

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