The 2020 pandemic caused many Arkansans to branch out and try new jobs and hobbies. This series will help readers better understand a day in the life of certain career fields, based on an interview with someone in that field.
For this segment of “A Day In the Life,” Arkansas Money & Politics sits down with Blake Bingham, a network/software/system administrator. He’s been in the position for just under a year.
How did you end up working in this position?
A friend referred me. The health care industry had been taking its toll on me.
What does a normal day look like for you in this position?
This is not a simple question to answer. I can do anything from making cables, fixing cameras, tracing code for software, building computers, troubleshooting server issues, installing access points, database administration, supporting software for steel production equipment/machinery, etc. Some days are crazy, but every day is rewarding, and I could not ask for a better job. I feel very recognized for all the work I do.
What are some skills that someone might need to be good at this job?
You really have to be a jack of all trades and master of as much as possible in the IT world to do what I do. If you don’t know how to do something, you have to be willing and capable of either figuring out what to do or knowing who to ask. I think having a good sense of priority is important since I need to measure which issues are harming production most at any given time. I think it requires a lot of people skills too, because there is no better way to see how production is affected than to sit with the user and feel all their pains with them. Deconstructive thought is a must due to the nature of the job as well.
What are some life lessons or realizations about people or society or in general that you’ve had while in this position, if any?
Everyone is intelligent in their own way. I depend on people to teach me the bare bones of their job so I can try to improve or better support them.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in doing the kind of work that you do?
Dabble in a little of everything, and listen to people with the intent to learn about them. Small talk often reveals what they value, and from there, you can learn to connect and help them. I got this job because of my programming skills and my ability to learn. I have learned much of my networking skills at this job.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
At this company. This place is a real blessing incarnate.
Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share?
There are a lot of hard-working blue-collar guys that depend on IT. Just because they are not tech-savvy, does not mean that they are not intelligent individuals. These guys deal with several tons of steel, and we depend on them for our road system and city infrastructure. Every single one of these hardworking people has several skills and the minds of engineers regardless of their education and upbringing. I am lucky to know and support them.
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