PulseA day in the life of the ITS staff

Every facet of the university depends on members of the Information Technology Services (ITS) department. They are responsible for all hardware and software needs on campus: From equipping classrooms with proper technology to making sure that the whole campus has Wi-Fi, the ITS staff keeps us covered. But how do they actually spend their time? What does a day in the life of an ITS staff member look like? For Fred Zapata, senior director of...
Maggie LupoApril 4, 2018343 min
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Every facet of the university depends on members of the Information Technology Services (ITS) department. They are responsible for all hardware and software needs on campus: From equipping classrooms with proper technology to making sure that the whole campus has Wi-Fi, the ITS staff keeps us covered.

But how do they actually spend their time? What does a day in the life of an ITS staff member look like?

For Fred Zapata, senior director of the ITS Project Management office, it involves a lot of juggling. As a project manager, Zapata checks in on all of the projects in progress when he first gets to work at around 8:15 a.m.

“I come in in the morning and kind of get a status update of the projects that we have going, and update any of them online — we use a system called TeamDynamix to manage that — and just do any updates to the plans or projects, or gather any information that the team may need to work on the various projects,” Zapata said.

Then, Zapata talks to one of the other project managers to check in with them about the status of incoming projects.

“We usually touch base at least once a day, and usually in the morning,” Zapata said.

After that, Zapata has meetings, either internal ITS meetings or external meetings with potential contractors or other departments, for projects that are in the works around campus.

For example, one of the main projects that ITS has on deck right now involves the new construction and remodeling of Coates University Center. ITS has to make sure that the offices being relocated out of Coates will still have the connectivity and equipment they need in order to fully operate in their new locations.

Zapata cited the bookstore as an example. 

“We’re working with Barnes & Noble to make sure that everything they need in their new location, as it relates to technology, is up and running,” Zapata said.

This is just one of the many projects that Zapata and his team are dealing with right now.

“We probably have a total of 40 or 50 projects at some stage in the process, and they could be anywhere from network upgrades to software upgrades, to building construction things,” Zapata said.

Assuming he has no pressing technology emergencies to deal with, Zapata either has more meetings in the afternoon, or time to catch up on these many projects before he leaves around 5:30–6 p.m.

Not all ITS members get to leave at this hour, however. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, Ender Ergun, systems and business intelligence administrator, doesn’t leave until around 9 p.m.

He doesn’t mind, though, because during the evenings on these two days he gets to teach classes.

Every Wednesday evening, Ergun teaches a three-hour-long business analytics & technology (BAT) special topics class on databases, and every Thursday evening he teaches three one-hour sections of a Spreadsheet Modeling class.

“The database one I’m really excited for because it’s the first semester we’re offering it, so I was really happy when the school of business asked me if I wanted to teach a database course because that’s kind of my realm,” Ergun said.

Ergun’s foray into teaching has given him a different perspective on his job, because he’s gotten to see things from a faculty point of view.

“Sometimes there’s a disconnect between the administrative side of the school versus the faculty side of the school, so [my teaching experience] kind of bridges that gap,” Ergun said.

Ergun has also gotten to see things from a student perspective, as he was a Trinity graduate, class of 2011. He says that one of the unique aspects of his job is getting to see how Trinity has grown since he first got here, back in 2007.

“It’s pretty awesome to see how the campus has evolved, how the administration has evolved, how the courses have evolved,” Ergun said. “Like, there was no BAT program when I was a student — there was no CSI when I was a student. So, seeing Trinity grow is pretty astonishing.”

Ergun is also the mind behind the TU Life mobile app, which he’s proud of — he is working with ITS and others to try to figure out how to have the app utilized more. Overall, he’s happy with his job.

“I love working here,” Ergun said.

David Collier, program analyst, also enjoys what he does at ITS, especially when things go the way they’re supposed to. Even when they don’t, though, Collier says that he likes the feeling of accomplishment that comes from fixing a problem quickly and efficiently. He also enjoys the genuine feeling of respect that he and his colleagues have for their work.

“I’ve been here almost three years, and I think it’s apparent when you’re working in ITS that everyone here really cares about what they do and the systems they support and the people they support,” Collier said. “And everyone really wants to give good customer service to everybody they interact with.”

ITS is housed in the Halsell Center, though students having tech issues should contact the ITS Help Desk at helpdesk@trinity.edu.

 

Maggie Lupo

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