IT Employment

10 low-stress jobs for IT pros

If you love IT but the stress levels are wearing you down, you might consider one of these less-intense job roles.

It is hard to say that there are any truly low-stress or stress-free jobs in the IT industry. IT workers operate on tight deadlines, mistakes can take entire companies down (or worse), and there never seem to be enough people to do the job. To make it even harder, IT pros are often asked to work with and even take direction from people who really have no clue about the technical details. But it is still possible to have a job in the IT industry that reduces many or even most of these pain points. Here are 10 IT industry jobs with relatively low stress levels.

1: Computer sales

As far as IT jobs go, being a salesperson at a computer store is about as stress-free as it gets. Sure, you need to deal with customers who often have no idea what they are talking about but come armed with a bunch of misinformation from the Internet and from their friends. But you know what? Sales folks don't take their work home or have to deal with deadlines, and that alone makes a huge difference in the stress levels.

2: Desktop support technician

Desktop support can be tough, for sure. People's PCs are not working and you need to get them back up and running as quickly as possible. The good news is, you should have a supply of PCs ready to go to get the user back up and running quickly if the problem is bad, so you can fix the broken machine in the shop. And yes, you are often forced to support a wide variety of applications, many of which you rarely have to work with. At the same time, most of the problems you see are the same list of issues, like bad hard drives and broken mice. Most important for the stress levels, while someone's personal work (or a project) may get delayed until you fix the issue, systems administrators and network engineers have to fix problems that often affect entire departments, buildings full or people, or even the entire company.

3: Backups administrator

Believe it or not, some companies are big enough to have folks dedicated completely to managing backups. The beauty of this job is that while needing to restore from backup is a super-critical task, it is a rare issue. The majority of your day is spent doing routine tasks that are not under the gun on deadlines.

4: Configuration (or presales) engineer

If you've ever dealt with a company to spec out a server, you've worked with a configuration engineer. They come in a variety of flavors, but the common theme is that they are not the ones doing the actual implementation -- which is where the stress of timelines and things not going right come into play. Once the purchase order is authorized, the configuration engineer has moved on to the next client. Again, this is a customer-facing job. But your customers tend to be knowledgeable, which takes a lot of the stress away.

5: Computer lab support

When I was in college, we had many computer labs on campus, and one of the much-coveted on-campus jobs was to be one of the support folks for these labs. Many colleges still have computer labs, despite the proliferation of student-owned PCs. For me, this was the easiest, least stressful IT job ever. All I had to do was answer basic questions (like how to save a file), keep the printers full of paper and toner and jam-free, clean one or two computers per shift, and file a ticket if a computer broke. I wasn't there to troubleshoot. I'd just reboot the computer if it gave the user grief. The only stress from this job was the low paycheck.

6: Application architect

Of the wide variety of development jobs, I tend to see application architects as having the least amount of direct pressure on them in general. All development jobs are stressful in their own way, but architects' code usually doesn't deal with the troubles caused by actual users since the architects mostly write libraries that other developers use and guide the overall development of the application. Architects are often more separated from deadlines than other developers because the bulk of their work occurs at the front end of a project.

7: Build engineer

The build engineer is the person responsible for automating the processes and procedures for building software from source code to running code. Many times, they will fold in a lot of other work as well, such as creating unit tests (or setting up unit tests to be run), making setup kits, handling automatic deployment of code to test machines on a regular basis, and managing the source control system. Like the architect, this job seems to butt up against timelines the least and requires minimal contact with people outside IT. While it is a difficult job that requires knowledge of a large number of technologies, it is the kind of position where you are left in relative peace and quiet to do your work.

8: Installation technicians

The installation technician is the person who performs the initial installation and configuration of a piece of hardware, especially things like cable boxes and DSL modems. The beauty of this job is that while you are on a timeline and have a schedule, any major problems found at the client's site are justifiable grounds for delaying the installation and are generally understood by the customer. As a rule, any mission-critical installations are performed well in advance of their deadline, which keeps a lot of the stress levels down.

9: Trainer

Trainers have a great job: They come in, present their materials, and leave before the real carnage occurs. Yes, trainers are there to educate, and it can be frustrating at times to be a teacher. And of course, speaking for much of the day -- and often on your feet for most of it -- can be difficult. Trainers may spend a fair amount of time traveling, too. But all the tensions that the typical IT staff has to deal with, like projects, crashes, end users, just are not there.

10: IT industry analyst

Without a doubt, one of the best jobs in the IT industry is that of industry analyst. These are the people who talk to industry leaders and then write reports filled with predictions of the IT future. Of course, like most folks, they do operate on a deadline. And to make things a bit more stressful, they tend to not be well respected by the rank-and-file IT workers. At the same time, though, they never have to actually implement anything. Even better, their mistakes do not result in dead servers, security breaches, or buggy applications. And by the time it is possible to find out whether their predictions were right, no one remembers them -- or if they do, the "uncertainty of the rapidly evolving industry" is a perfectly acceptable scapegoat for mistakes.

Additional reading

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

85 comments
John W.
John W.

Wait...REALLY??  Computer sales & Desktop support technician??  I worked in both those fields for a number of years (18+ combined) so THOSE I have extensive experience with.  Evidently the author of this article has never done at least those 2 jobs.  

Let's start with computer sales.  1 word for ANYTHING sales..."competition".  You have to be on top of your game DAILY to compete with other people who are on top of their game & trying to get that sale instead of you.  Anything sales is a "shark eat shark" world.  Nothing "low stress" about it at all.  If he thinks computer sales is low stress....he should give it a shot for just 1 month & base his salary on what he earns.  If he doesn't sell, his family doesn't eat.  Simple as that.  Yes, some salesman get a base salary but it's chump-change compared to what they make in bonuses & spiffs.


Desktop support technician.  OMG...where do I start with this?  You get to deal with people that have no patience, no knowledge of what they need to do, "I can't find the 'any' key.", and REALLY don't want to be on the phone with you.  And you must take their frustrated, verbal attack whilst wearing a smile on your face! "They can hear you smile over the phone!"  And heaven forbid if you don't fix their problem in the first 5 minutes of the phone call.  And if you can't remote in, that' even worse.

Shall I go on?  I can if you want.  Let me know.


The author needs to rewrite this article....or perhaps TechRepublic should do a better job of checking the content before they allow it to be posted.  The Editor here is to blame for this too.  How this slipped by them is beyond me.


Try again Justin James.  Swing & a miss!!

jose.noriega
jose.noriega

I wonder if the author had any real exposure to retail sales in general or computer sales in particular. There are sales goals to meet (and exceed! Aren't these deadlines?) new technologies that came up the same day (and a sales manager wants you to know them yesterday) and... did I state sales goals? If a sales person goes home and 'forgets about the day's job', he or she may come back the next day to a dismal sales scorecard and a manager breathing over their neck. Or may be, the sales person will not take a little time at home to self study and then get a customer the next day that wants a computer with 16 com ports to run a custom application and pressure the technicians to build it... from scratch. Now, whats your favorite computer sales person story?

yhalhtet
yhalhtet

I think you are not the IT developer right?? You are just writing down based on your own thoughts and opinions only. You should interview many IT developers before you start writing this topic. And Build Engineer job, it is the implementation job in the projects. It is also very important job in the IT industry. They have more stresses compared to the other jobs. If you think that architect and implemented engineers are non stressful, then I think you should interview the people in the industry. :)

yhalhtet
yhalhtet

Nope bro, it is not easy to become an application architect. Software architecture is different with the interface design. UI is the UI and architecture is the architecture. For e.g. if you open the Microsoft Word, you can use the interface right?? It is just an interface but there is an architecture as you can connect to other people documents via windows server right?? It is the architecture. Nope bro, application architecture is different. :)

dsfreedman
dsfreedman

What is attributed to trainers above is an injustice. In all of the projects I've worked on they were enterprise-wide deployment of systems. As a trainer on the project I was involved long-term from the ground up participating in those looooong, grueling and mentally exhausting project meetings. The results included being involved in QA, writing and editing of a multitude of documentation to be used in every facet, developing training - and if you've never done it don???t think it???s just showing up - a minimum for every hour spent in front of a class or on a webinar is over 50 hours of creating, editing, developing ancillary materials, designing appropriate tools, rehearsal, pre-planning, logistical concerns and then the actual stand up and deliver ??? and not just for a one day session ??? many are multiple days. Oh and the traveling to other corporate offices are staying in Comfort Inns & Super 8, not the Ritz-Carlton. Most trainers I know aren???t traveling in general, and if they do its not for just for a 1 day sessions. Trainers are what increases workplace performance so don't think it???s easy... now in the contents of this post, it isn't as stressful and full of tension as other IT staff might have, however let???s not downplay a trainers??? role in an IT structure.

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

Low stress? You've never done desktop support, have you? I disagree with much of the article, but this is one of the most stressful aspects of IT.

V.H. Scarpacci
V.H. Scarpacci

Two things I have noticed over the years; #1 is that when a person knows what they are doing the stress levels stay low. When someone is 'out of their element' then the stress starts to build. #2 is that some people are more subject to stress than others. Confidence, up bringing, genes, chemical balance, I don't know, but some are just stressed more than others.

its just me
its just me

Are you kidding me? I am currently a desktop support tech. We have turn around times, and high expectations from our customers, I work for the healthcare industry. Where are you getting your information from?

BitHammer
BitHammer

Technology commentators don't worry about whether or not it works, they just write up the facts. True, there are deadlines, but I'll bet that often the biggest stress is deciding which new whizbang gizmo to review.

docnorton
docnorton

Sorry Justin but I totally disagree with this article almost in its entirety. I have to add I find it rather rude, offensive, arrogant and ignorant of you to group all these IT roles together and label them as "Low Stress" and by doing so you seem to be dumbing down the majority of roles within the modern day IT department. I can see you work in "a multidisciplinary role that combines programming, network management, and system administration." - none of which appear in your "list". You also mention "systems administrators and network engineers have to fix problems that often affect entire departments, buildings full or people, or even the entire company." While this is true to an extent I can't stress how much the good old clich?? of "Teamwork" comes into play here. While sys admins tend to implement the final fix and get the glory and the brown nose that comes along with it; in my experience it was with thanks to the leg work of the support techs doing all the prior troubleshooting and testing. While it may be a case of "blissful ignorance", I think you will find the roles you listed have evolved and matured slightly since you have had any sort of exposure to them and you are doing a dis-service to those currently keeping the foundations of any IT infrastructure together. Oh and by the way - I have briefly been #1, 13 years in #'s 2,3,4,5,8, & 9 and currently I am #7. I can assure you the modern day build engineer is far from a Symantec Ghost tecchy... I hold several industry recognised accreditations and currently manage 4000 machines in our SCCM environment and we are in the process of migrating a further 4000 from acquired businesses. At the moment my direct manager is the IT director who reports to the CEO who reports directly to the Government Health Department and it's auditing bodies. My role is far from "low stress" when the OS config of future procurements lies directly on me and me alone. I would seriously consider rewriting this article but maybe mention how dynamic peoples roles have become in these times of economic cut backs and how people are responsible for far more than their job role may indicate.

mikemanx
mikemanx

I don't think you can have a job that is more or less stressful as it is reliant on the individual. What one person may find stressful another may find enjoyable. There are also the other factors people have mentioned - company, team, culture that influence stress levels as well. The key is probably to find the job that you personally find enjoyable or look at ways to reduce the stress in your current role. One example may be reducing the stress of supporting a new technology by becoming an expert on the subject by training/researching.

etherfix
etherfix

Justin. Your remarks relating to identified low stress jobs tend to indicate exactly why the job is stressful. Stress derives not only from deadlines but also a lack of available resources, management by people who do not understand the issues and a sure knowledge that an unaccounted for issue will occur usually at a critical juncture in the process. I do not accept that a desktop technician's job is low stress. The employer will find available resources for a department or company wide issue but for 1 user you are strictly on your own, and if you have done the job you would have found there is a remarkable lack of "same issues" repeating. And there is no such thing as an "acceptable excuse". It's your can and you carry it. However, I really take issue with you listing computer sales as low stress. You state that you have identified low stress jobs for "IT Pros" but what you have described is the role of a shop assistant. An IT Pro's sales job is corporate sales and account management and is responsible for a very high burn out rate. The pressure comes from continually having to meet targets and quotas, all night and weekend sessions responding to RFTs and RFPs, aggressive sales management and a variety of other issues including communicating meaningfully with technical heavy weights and prospective clients operating to their own hidden agenda. Of the other jobs I have worked in, I would tend to agree with your comments concerning training and installations. How would you sleep as a security manager?

cwhite5
cwhite5

... in my 30+ years in the industry I can attest that I've experienced that ALL these roles have considerable stress depending upon the project and the organization. "Sales people don't take their work home or have deadlines" - HAH !!!

mmnguyen07
mmnguyen07

I'm sorry -- I can't say I agree with any of these top 10 "low-stress" IT jobs. And when I saw desktop support technician on the list, I laughed. Maniacally. Because years as said desktop support technician were anything but stress free, not to mention unappreciated by just about everyone including other IT staff AND was generally low paying.

mickgibson04
mickgibson04

When I was in IT, I did all of 10 except I was buying, and then all the problems and kept the President's computer running.

olegb
olegb

well, as expected "10 low-stress... ", "5 best...", "100 worst..." titles are in general ... just ADD writing. Too predictable and too fallible to argue with. How stressful your job is in large depends on ... you. Starting from the interview, we do match co-workers, bosses, business culture etc to our desire, and once in the office we do tend to perform and to stress ourselves to our own extremes. I came across plethora of professionals who performed the same duty with opposing stress levels. A stress.. is nothing more than our own perception of internal or external conflicts. 1000s year ago, threats were life-threatening - enemy, wild beast, feminine; today, more self-imposed - quarterly review, compensation level, promotions, competition. In absence of primary stress triggers - life, death, hunger; we moved into more refine domain. You can step out of it... don't play blame games. OB

gsalomon
gsalomon

Having at many times been the first two and refused to be the third, I feel that I have legitimate input on the subject. In reverse order; presenter....least stressful....you walk in....do a canned presentation or two and leave. Regretfully, most IT trainers are Presenters in a suit. But they are on the plane leaving everyone scratching their heads. Trainer, good solid work and for the most part the people that are there in the class, need to be, want to be, do the work and pay attention. AND, at least in my case, I had the very good fortune of working for companies that provided background support that, if things blew up, you could still continue to do your work while others figured out what happened. Educator; two categories....for profit....real college. I have done both. You want stress....teach at a for profit....that is if you give a hoot. Everything is on the cheap, there is no technical support to speak of ...yet they lock out IT trainers in the for profit because..well I do not really know. So you are stuck frustrated cause you have to wait for someone to show up (for a week or more) that you likely can fix in 5 minutes. Also, added to that, many of the students are ill-equipped to be IT techs....you gather the records ....write up a recommendation to release them....admin comes back and says no....give them another chance. Education; College, Jr. College; students are generally more in tune with what has to be done. You, as in instructor can actually set up labs that work and then, have interns take care of the "tiny bits". While you focus on more important things. Probably most importantly, if a student is cutting it....or is cutting class to much...you have the ability to say; bye-bye.....and can then focus on the students that truely want to learn. Just my 5 cents, G

dygi
dygi

In my case, I used to be a CIO of a large corporation with lots of responsibilities and a salary not bad. Then one day not a long time ago, I abandon all that pressure and now I have a service store (like the geek squad) for home and small business that mainly need a backup, a virus problem, a OS tune-up or a HD change, all this actually simple tasks. The salary is not the same but the quality of life really improves. (Is not the same problem to have the payroll of 7,000 employes halted than the homework of a 10 year old kid.)

fhrivers
fhrivers

If the pay was decent in those positions, all of us would be doing it. But for the rest of us, having to wake up at 2:00 AM because a server alerts us that it's down, is the price we pay for few extra duckets...

boucaria
boucaria

This article is something I would expect a manager to write... a manager who does not get associated with day to day operations. I have seen a large chunk of people in these positions fired or "transferred". As for the comments about Desktop support, its laughable; most of the people I know who do DT have had the broadest knowledge. I have had to work with everything from hardware basics to PABX comms, Trading floor support ( thankfully level 2), and in the last 8 years all this comes together with a variety of tasks in DT where I can help and advise also in testing of Hardware, Software, as well as DT. But those who have the least people skills get the most promotions ( financially), and are in tasks that truly have no accountability, but out of all the above jobs, I can see none that are "low stress", especially with the "do more with less" mentality, at the cost of reduced functionality from management. The above jobs I would see as being fairly high stress in the positions I have seen. More managerial hype.

squirejoe
squirejoe

Desktop Support is not a low stress job. The idea that "You should have other systems available" is a pie in the sky dream. In a time where support is overhead and budgets are getting cut, we have less and less resources to support more. And this is Hardware and software support. Also the idea of knowing what questions people will most commonly ask is a boon and bust. Yes the calls are predictable, but if you get 10-15 calls a day, every day, on the same issue, you need to look at Root Cause Analysis to correct the bigger issue. In the Desk that I work at, we encourage our techs to help the Engineers to do the Analysis, but this takes people off the phones and puts pressure on other techs. So I do disagree that Desktop Support is a low-stress job.

eclypse
eclypse

I used to work the customer support/helpdesk for an ISP and when I first started working for the company I work for now (and I still do some support when things get hectic). The one thing that desktop support did for me was cure me of ever wanting to talk on the phone. I answer my cell phone if my boss calls or if my wife calls - other than that, I avoid talking on the phone like the plague anymore. Voicemail is my best friend. =)

edeloye
edeloye

If you want to avoid stress then a backup administrator is not the job you want. Sure you only have to do PRODUCTION restores once in a while but you better be doing test restores all the time. You have to verify that the backups were good, that you have enough of them, that the tapes (you are doing offsite backups to tape, right) are being rotated correctly. And when you do have a production restore you will have everyone from all levels of the company all over you wanting it done YESTERDAY. Been there, done that, got the H... out of Dodge.

jdcnservices
jdcnservices

Others have already mentioned desktop support, but I have to chime in that it is usually not the greatest pay, long (weekends, nights, etc.) hours and very little appreciation. And, if you are in an enterprise and travel... And build managers don't have to worry about deadlines? Who do you think is there with the application development team trying to get out that product that's already two weeks late? For stuff that might not be your fault but you have to be there past midnight anyways? You couldn't be further off on this one.

artanyis
artanyis

I work for a small IT company and actually have too do more than half the things on that list... I will admit that if I only have to do one of those things, it would be a wonderful low stress job, but because I have to do most of them including server management and maintenance for multiple local companies, none of them seem low stress.

carola
carola

As a technology trainer, I can assure you that stress, indeed, does come with the job. Meeting deadlines for training roll outs, handling numerous questions of end users, the challenge of having to know the answers to questions on multiple applications, learning a new application from three different perspectives (learning it first, then learning it again to write the training materials, then learning it again to be able to provide good training to a widespread audience) is anything but the way you describe it. While I LOVE what I do it is most assuredly NOT a low stress job.

steipa01
steipa01

Nope, dead wrong. If you;ve ever had to this job, you'd understand....

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

I think that all those position can be stressful depending on the company. If you are under supported and over used then it becomes stressful. If you work with supportive people and have sufficient resources to accomplish your job then there is less stress. Bill

cemoran
cemoran

Like cme.meyer I would have to say they are all stressful, but you have stated the stress levels accurately. They are not all highly stressful as he states. I had to chuckle when I read 'Trainer'. I used to do that for industry as a consultant. The ones who want to learn do, the ones who don't are not paying attention. At the end of the training (or day) we all go to the bar for a drink; I'll head to another training class in a few weeks, they may or may not make it in their job. My satisfaction is in meeting some of my best students later and finding as CEO's and VP's of companies.

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

So are you looking for a replacement or a new colleague? :-)

pgit
pgit

I remember preparing lesson plans for a 10 week A+ cert course I taught... I've never had so much stress. But once I was down with the info, teaching was the most fun I've ever had on a job. So getting started is a big hump to get over, but worth sticking to, the ride is all downhill once you know your subject well. I like the mention of a backup manager. This is a large part of my work, as a server and network admin for a number of clients. I have everybody backed up to the hilt, including an off-site copy I keep on my server at work. (I do not accept HIPAA-regulated backups on my off site system, they go to a commercial vendor, eg amazon, for the liability issues) Just the other day a colleague asked me to help with one of his biggest clients. The fellow had a RAID 0 system and one drive failed... the absolute worst case scenario with RAID 0. Guess what? No backups. I am so anal about making sure data is protected that I almost brain lockup over the fact that this colleague had not set up backups for this client. The client lost everything, starting with quicken, which basically WAS the company. (the payroll alone is causing the company a massive headache atm) This colleague operates on the premise that data safety is the responsibility of the owner of the data. He suggests they set up some kind of backup, but doesn't insist. He will help them if they ask, but he doesn't want to push the concept because he doesn't want the liability. I say it's more liability if the customer has been depending on me for years, only to find when the worst case happens they've lost everything. I've never gotten in trouble for being able to restore the customer to exactly where they were before some disaster halted operations. Most of the systems I've serviced can be put back into service in 1/2 hour (or less) regardless of the nature of the failure. PS, something to consider, that I had been unaware of regarding off site backups. One client told me she got a break on her businesses insurance because we have an off site storage solution. I'd never heard of such a thing before, but maybe it's something to explore. Couldn't hurt of some data-dependent business mentioned they have off site backups when negotiating with their insurance co. Anyone out there ever heard of an insurance or paid support incentive for having off site storage?

lroberts24
lroberts24

First time I ever felt compelled to join a TR conversation. But I have to defend my peers in Desktop Support. Each category listed has it's own level of stress. Why? Because mechanical, electrical, and electromagetic systems fail. No one person's stress caused by those failures is any greater or lesser than any other person's. I have been in this role, or variatiions of it for 23 (+,-) years. The most significant part of that time as team lead (working team lead, not a manager) for 30+ End User Support technicians across the united states for a fortune 500 customer supporting 9000+ systems and users internationally. When you are the lead, you take on not only your own ticket issues, but serve as mentor and troubleshooter for many of the other technicians. In most cases you have to work with what you are given, which if the customer controls the IT purse strings, you quite often don't have the luxary of the store house of equipment to "get the user funtional", while you work on a resolution to the failure. The Deskside support technician is typically the "face" of the supporting organization. So they get the full verbal or emotional affront of the customer, and they have to stand their and take it. Deskside support is as much about personal interaction, and being able to difuse a volitile situation as it is about technical expertise. First and formost you are dealing with the component between the chair and the keyboard before you have an opportunity to address the machinary. In many End User support environements, by virtue of the contract negotiated with the support organization, the end user gets to set the severity level of their issue regardless of the logical impact on the company. Therefore, what should be straight forward break/fix becomes a political nightmare, because an individuals own perception of self worth compels them to request a severity level that should be reserved for an entire faciltiy being down, and not an individual, which pulls a technician away from more relevant work. Also by nature of the severity level, automated escalation procedures are pulled in to play which compound the technical issue with management oversight and micromangament of the situation. My degree in Physics has served me well in providing technical expertise and a scientific approach to problem solving in the End User Support arena. I would never be so arrogant as to say that my role is more stressfull than any other person in the IT community. By the same token, I would never be so condesending to my peers in the IT community as to say their job role is less stressful than any other. The stress exists in all IT rolls, The level of stress spans the spectrum, in all IT rolls. How the individual responds to the stress is what differentiats your ability to cope with it. The stress can be your down fall, or it can be your opportunity. To paraphrase an old addage: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.... but don't expect any one else's kitchen to be any cooler.

dshoults
dshoults

This is the worst list I have ever seen from TechRepublic and I usually take my information from your lists and articles with complete confidence that I will make sense to someone quoting from your information. As an IT Lead Desktop and Network Support Technician I must say that it completely surprised me to see Desktop Support in this list let alone #2 on the list.

John W.
John W.

Not sure how you arrived at this but desktop support technician is NOT a low stress job. I've been IT support since the days of DOS. I personally never did desktop support, but I was in the same department as them. And by days end each & everyone of them wanted to kill someone because of the stupid stuff they had to contend with. And do it with a fake smile on their face. And the company I'm with now, I worked closely with the desktop support technicians as an admin. These guys are NEVER happy. I'd really like to know how you arrived at this conclusion.

mentzel.iudith
mentzel.iudith

The least stressed are the managers of all types, and the higher one stands in the hierarchy, the least stressed he is. Why ? Because their main task is to transfer the pressure upon the lower level ones, who are doing the effective work. Theirs is only the glory and promotion, the work investement belong to the others ...

NunyaBZ
NunyaBZ

Those are far from low stress. If you think a computer lab tech in a university is low stress, you have obviously been out of that business way too long. In this day and age, with medium to large universities, competition is fierce to get students. And one way they attract them is with fancy technology. You had better have everything perfect, or maybe that kid who just walked through will decide not to apply - and then there's hell to pay. Miserable nighttime and weekend hours on a regular basis, extreme pressure for everything to be perfect - not just no, hell no, that is not a stress free job at this juncture. Desktop support technician depends on where you work - it's a thankless position by default, and if in an environment of perfect or else, you will be miserable. Think long and hard before jumping into those as a 'stress free' career.

doug
doug

I'd hate to see what James considers to be high stress.

nick
nick

Putting posts on techrepublic telling us how unstressful out jobs are. Sorry JJ, I disagree with your relatively low stress jobs. As others have said, Desktop Support very stressful as you deal with the angry customer. And I agree with many of the other comments.

maxbuchler
maxbuchler

I won't discuss the stress factor for each one of the mentioned or other not mentioned. Look at it from a customer perspective on no 2-10. Create a less stressed organization: outsource and / or buy and adopt ITaaS / cloud... Stop in-housing these type of resources and roles. Make the stress / no stress situations the service providers pleasant responsibility. I know I'm generalizing and making it easy for me and easy for others "attacks" and opinions. ;) @maxbuchler

Tea.Rollins
Tea.Rollins

Since when does an architect get to divest themselves of project responsibility once the project is rolling? Generally they hold the bag for the entire project's success or failure, unless you happen to work at one of these places that calls senior devs architects *coughtechrepubliccough*.

pgit
pgit

and writes these articles on the side, probably with barely enough pay to make it worthwhile. But you're right that there are a few folks who've landed the big chair in tech media who's job is playing with gizmos and attending confabs... but I bet the competition to get there and STAY there is pretty darn stressful. Most of the writers here seem to be working in the field they write about, in the trenches with the rest of us. There are a few who seem to be writers primarily, Jack Wallen comes to mind, and every now and then you'll see an author mention something like "when I was writing the 'Inside Microsoft XP' book..." for some publisher. So maybe someone like J Ja doesn't feel stressed by the task of writing because it's not really his day job, but I'd bet a lot of us out here are in a lot less stressful environment than he is. To be honest, programming is magic to me in the Arthur C. Clarke sense of the word... I've seen the books. Scary. Every now and then I have a recurring nightmare in which I find out weeks before graduating from high school that I'm going to fail math and will have to do another year. Cracking a book on C++, Ruby, javascript or anything of the sort gives me the same feeling.

eclypse
eclypse

Not that tape doesn't have its place, but if you're still stuck with it, I suggest checking out Data Domain (EMC) or ProtecTIER (IBM). Especially if you are in the backup administrator role. These solutions (based on your budget and connectivity options) will effectively eliminate the "tape shuffle" - especially for off-site locations. This solution saved us a ton of hassle, was well worth the money, our restores are much faster and we could likely be up and running at our DR site within a day for critical systems (we use a combination of TSM and VCB for our VMs and I have mksysb images for all of our AIX LPARs). I still have a tape library that I use for a copy storage pool just because it's there. I would even venture to say that depending on the size of your shop and the size of your libraries, this might even be a cost saving for you. The cost of the media and tape library was about the same cost as the Data Domain solution and IBM is really competitive with ProtecTIER right now as well. I'm sure there are other ways to do this (we don't require a hot standby site), but this works very well for us and is easy to test anytime we want to for most of the servers and services we use.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

to set SLAs, it's a poorly written contract. Most of our SLAs are based on the impact of the outage: business is impacted, impaired, severely impaired, or impossible. The last two are the ones I get paged on. But then, I support grocery stores, and figuring out the impact of the store server, point-of-sale controller, or pharmacy register is fairly straightforward.

tbmay
tbmay

In all of my roles I've been both a server jock and desktop support person. If you count switches and routers as a different role....well....I had that too. And in one instance where two of us supported 2k machines. Justin's point about a server crash causing many problems is true. But I had much more in depth knowledge of the servers from the get go. They didn't crash much, and getting them up was usually a very quick deal. In some uncontrolled environments, you don't know what the heck the users have put on their desktops, and they DON'T want you to simply image the thing. Result....often hours wasted with a user breathing down your neck. I will repeat, it depends on where you work. It is all relative. In my own experience, make me responsible for 1000 Unix servers over 100 desktops with users with admin right ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

If you outsource or go, as you put it, ITaas/cloud, what will happen to your current IT people? They'll be out of their jobs and looking for new ones. And you, the customer, will no longer have on-site people to respond to hardware or network outages unless you're paying a premium for the privilege; you'll have to wait for your provider to dispatch a tech. How is that not stressful for anybody involved?

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