Mike took me outside the building to a coffee shop. He asked me a bit about my background and then launched into an explanation of what was in store for me in the support division of SoftwareCompany.
What we do here is create application server software. This is a framework for developers to make programming easier. Like if you were going to build a car, you wouldn’t make every individual part, right? You’d order the parts — the engine, the windows, the stereo — and then you’d assemble them in a way that made sense for you. You’d customize the build to create your own model of vehicle. Well, we’re sort of like the suppliers in this picture. We provide the parts to the programmers, and they build their vehicles. It speeds up the whole process of software development because they don’t create everything from scratch.
In support, we identify issues with our software. So, to continue the analogy, a customer might call up and say that the engine we gave them is broken. How do you know that it’s really broken? You have to start troubleshooting. Support is all about troubleshooting. Asking questions to divide and conquer. Eliminate possible issues and zero in on the real root cause. Use deduction and logic to nail it.
There’s also a lot of soft skills and communication stuff because working with customers is not easy. Oh and there’s plenty of RTFMing.
Note: I had to ask what RTFM’ing was — it’s Reading-The-Fucking-Manual. He unconsciously spelled the acronym out when he said it, completely assuming I’d understand. This was my first introduction to corporate’s love of indecipherable jargon.
For this week, though, we’re going to take it slow. When we get back upstairs, we’ll do product installs and some basic examples.
At this point I was sweating. I wasn’t sure if it was the caffeine from the latte I just drank, or anxiety from realization that there was so much to learn and do ahead of me. Talking to customers. Fixing real problems for a real business, tied to real revenue. I felt the responsibility fall on my slight, nerdly frame.
It was heavy.