Get To Know... Alan Hollis - Support Engineer
In insight / By Charlotte Tobulevicius / 25 April 2019
“My journey with Nasstar began in November 2015 but my career in IT started after I finished my degree in computer science. After university I worked as a technician at PC World, then at a PC manufacturer and then as a repair engineer for an insurance repair company, which ultimately prepared me for working at Nasstar. However, as a child I’d always had an interest in IT and computers.
My role when I joined was 1st line support engineer and throughout my time here I have seamlessly progressed to become a senior 1st line engineer, as well as an on-site support engineer. When I first joined the company, the only knowledge I had was what I had read on the website; so it was a huge learning curve for me, but then one day it all just clicked into place. I noticed that people were coming to me for help and I knew everybody’s name, it was at this point that I realised I knew more than I thought I did and finally felt like I’d settled in.
My current position is very varied, and no two days are ever the same thanks to the on-site part of my role where I get to travel to see customers at their offices. Having this role means I could be based here in the office or almost anywhere in the country on any given day; which is great for me as it enables me to see new places, meet new people and work with a variety of different personalities. You also never know what you’re going to get when you arrive at a client office; you could be there to fix an IT issue, but then the phone system goes down and you’ll need to jump on that.
I think that in my role I have really learnt to deal with people and hone my customer service skills, which is important when dealing with potentially frustrated customers whose IT might not be working as they would like it to be. I’ve learnt that finding common ground with a person allows me to humanise them and usually helps to diffuse a situation and get things working again.
Since joining Nasstar I have renewed my first aid certificate and completed a team leadership course which was great. This course helped me to understand the responsibilities that management has and the implications this can sometimes have; for example when they are under pressure from their seniors, it might mean that I don’t get an answer right away. Going on this course really improved communication and understanding between myself and management.
Thinking about future training, I would really like to go back to uni part-time to get my masters and PHD in IT. I’m quite ambitious and would love to know everything there is to know about IT. I’d also quite like to learn more about Microsoft Office 365 so I can further strengthen my skills in this area.
Working at Nasstar is great, but the people are what make it for me, from the users and local IT teams to my colleagues. I love being able to meet so many new people and work with a variety of personalities, whilst working on a variety of different projects both on the road and in the office. What’s great is that there are always opportunities available and the variance of my role really gives me more than I ever expected from an ‘office job’.
If I were to improve anything at Nasstar it would be simple things such as the physical environment, building size and car park, simply down to the fact that we’re continuing to expand and will soon be running out of space. It would also be great to have a few more bodies in the team to deal with the growing nature of the business.
When I’m not at work or on the road, I have a number of hobbies. I love going to the cinema and playing video games, but I’m also a member of a bowling team which is my main hobby. I love a good strike! However, perhaps my most interesting hobby is my love of extreme winter sports. Every year I visit Canada on holiday to stay with friends and partake in snow blading and sometimes even snow biking.
If I weren’t at Nasstar, I think my dream job would be to own and run a bowling alley, since this is such a big passion of mine. I’ve even looked into it before with a friend but don’t quite have the capital to get this going yet!
I’m always on the go, whether at work or home and I think my friends would describe me as friendly, passionate and smart… as well as an adrenaline junkie for my love of extreme sports! Aside from that, I’m also a very professional person and really hope to be in a support management role in five years’ time.
For any new people thinking about joining the team, my advice would be to be prepared for tough and easy days, expect the unexpected and always be friendly and patient. It’s important to remember that you’re not always talking to techies like us and so patience is a must.
Nasstar has undergone many changes in my time here, but my first impression still remains my current view of the company which is that it’s a professional and growing company with a great staff culture. The people really are what make the company great and for those thinking of applying for a role here, I’d definitely recommend an IT career with Nasstar.”