How to choose the right IT career path: Advice from IT leaders

IT Kit Presents: Career Growth in IT

Starting a career in IT can be fairly straightforward. You pick an area of focus, learn it, and eventually find someone to hire you to do that type of work. As you grow, though, the path forward can become much less clear.

Eventually, you have to ask yourself: “Should I continue working as an individual contributor and perfecting my technical skills, or is it time to move into IT management? It’s a tough question to answer. Being great with technology doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be great at managing people—or even enjoy doing it.

To help you make an informed decision when you come to a fork in the road of your IT career path, Spoke and IT Kit brought together four IT leaders for a panel discussion:

Private notes let you (quietly) resolve requests as a team

Notes are only visible to team members
Spoke’s mission is to make it easy to ask for and get help at work. So, we’re always balancing a lightweight experience for requesters, with a robust toolset for team members. This is especially relevant in a world of constant notifications and interruptions.
 
One recurring theme is how teams can collaborate without disrupting the requester.

The benefits of a ticketing system for HR teams

Measure employee engagement. Improve the employee experience. Find, hire, and onboard top talent. Design and manage your company’s benefits. And on top of that, manage the challenges—things like complying with various state and overseas regulations—created by ever-more distributed teams and the evolving makeup of the modern workforce.

These are just a few of the business-critical initiatives HR teams are responsible for, but few HR teams have the time they need to truly focus on these tasks. Why? They’re too tied up answering one-off questions and doing administrative work.

Richer service requests with Request Types and Forms

Spoke’s mission is to help employees get the support they need to do their best work. To do so, we enable employees to ask Spoke for help quickly and easily via Slack, email and web. In March, we launched Spoke to help small teams scale by offloading repetitive questions. Our initial product was a lightweight ticketing system with an integrated knowledge base. From the beginning, we’ve used A.I. to automatically answer common questions from your knowledge resources.

We built Spoke to be better than our competition. Here’s how.

Illustration of two people holding trophy

We’re building Spoke on a fundamental premise: we believe business software can be lightweight and delightful. Underlying that premise is a fact we talk about less, but is very important—other internal ticketing and knowledge base solutions are not lightweight and delightful.

There are myriad reasons why our competition falls short. Some ticketing systems were re-purposed from other use cases like customer success or engineering, resulting in a Frankenstein system that’s overly complex and unintuitive. Some knowledge base solutions compound the problems they seek to solve.

At Spoke, we haven’t just made a few changes to a system built for another group and rebranded it as an internal support tool. In fact, our tool is designed specifically—and exclusively—for internal support teams.

The outcome: Spoke is simpler and smarter than the competition.

Introducing the new Spoke brand

Before/after images of the logo

I’m very excited to announce the release of our new logo and brand today which we believe embodies how we see Spoke: Simple, friendly, and professional.

Why knowledge search is broken, and how to fix it

Illustration of a man fixing a search bar with tools

An employee asks “Where is the latest NDA?” Or “How do I set up a Python virtual environment on my office desktop? Or “What’s our favorite bakery for birthdays?”

You used to know all of the answers to those questions. And it was easy for other people to ask you for answers because everyone sat together in the same small office. But now your company has swelled to two hundred, expanded across the country. Today, you wish you had a penny for every time you’ve sent out the link to the travel reimbursement form.

So you decide it’s time to create a system that helps you share the company’s evolving internal knowledge—event calendars, legal documents, IT FAQs, org charts, HR policies, etc.—so that the employees who work in those domains aren’t constantly interrupted by questions.

If you’re thinking about using Slack as a help desk, you need Spoke.

Illustration of support team member sitting at a Slack-styled desk

If your company uses Slack for most of its internal communications, switching to a separate ticketing system to raise a request with your help desk is cumbersome. Even if your internal support teams don’t mind switching back and forth, the people they support probably do.

There’s an easier way. Using Slack as a help desk—with Spoke’s help—lets your coworkers raise support tickets without ever leaving their preferred communication tool. Spoke removes the overhead of managing two separate systems, lets you build a searchable knowledge base, and even answers questions for you automatically.

Starter Kit, Survival Guide: The people side of being the first IT hire

Being the first and/or only IT support technician at your company is hard for many reasons—from defining systems architecture to working within a tight budget. But some of those reasons have nothing to do with the tech. Instead, they have everything to do with the people. This guide will teach you how to form positive and collaborative working relationships with your coworkers, leaders, employees—and even other support professionals—as an early IT hire. You’ll learn how to:

  • connect with company leaders,
  • build positive relationships with the people you support,
  • get tips and support from external IT communities,
  • hire the right people, and
  • become an effective leader.

Marie Kondo your knowledge

A few years ago, a petite Japanese woman named Marie Kondo took YouTube by storm by evangelizing the concept that we should only hang on to items that “spark joy.” By letting go of old things that no longer spark joy, we can “live a life filled only with the items we truly cherish.” All of a sudden, my friends were hoarding shoe boxes and purging their lives of objects that no longer sparked joy. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” appeared on countless coffee tables and bookshelves and the entire movement was both beguiling and liberating.

Marie in one of her in-home visits, tackling one clutter at a time.

Marie in one of her in-home visits, tackling one clutter at a time.