Meet Alex Schrameyer, Technical Team Lead at Genesys
Job Title: Technical Team Lead
Degree Path: Master’s Degree, Information and Communication Science
Hometown: Goshen, IN
City: Indianapolis, IN
What led you to your getting into tech and support jobs? What was your first job in tech?
When I was a child my father worked in the tech industry, so I was exposed to emerging technologies and the field at large from an early age. My interest in the field continued as I learned more about tech and began thinking about future education and job opportunities. My first job in tech was as a PC Technician in the Information Systems department at Indiana University Health.
What has been your career path so far?
I landed at my current company (Genesys) after working at a few different tech positions while pursuing my undergraduate degree. I started at Interactive Intelligence as an intern working within support. After completing my Master’s degree, I came back and started full-time as a System Engineer. After around a year, I was promoted to Senior System Engineer. Interactive Intelligence was acquired by Genesys in 2016, and I retained my current role. I’ve since moved into the Associate Principal Engineer, and now the Technical Team Lead role within Genesys.
When you think of a day in your life, what are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?
As a Technical Team Lead, I assist in mentoring, managing, and providing technical guidance to a group of Systems Engineers within my skill area, as well as resolving customers’ technical issues. I serve as a technical adviser within the organization to assist in solving difficult cases within the given skill area as well as provide escalation management, and leading well-defined strategic projects.
This is mainly accomplished via personal interaction, conference calls, training, customer/partner meetings and presentations, and other forms of communication. In my role, I provide technical support, leadership, and operational oversight as part of a dynamic team in a very technologically demanding environment.
In addition to being a technical knowledge owner, mentor, and customer relationship manager I perform a couple of additional tasks. These include managing virtual test environments for the skills team, participating in technical screenings and interviews for hiring, being available for after-hours emergency calls as a subject matter expert in skills team, building cross-functional relationships and collaboration, and assisting with organizational and operational initiatives to continually identify opportunities for improvement in support delivery.
Help us picture your work environment.
I work in an office environment with my team. We have a semi-open floor plan designed to increase collaboration across the team. I have the ability to work from home as needed, as long as I have appropriate computer access as this is where the majority of my work is done when not in physical meetings or conference calls.
Travel is infrequent, primarily reserved for off-site training or customer visits if there is a need for it.
What do you love about the work you do?
I love the people that I work with, as well as the mission of the product that we support. Working with a broad range of customers and needs who are able to succeed with our products and support, ranging from not-for-profits to emergency services to Fortune 500 companies, makes the work that I much more valuable. I enjoy coming into a fast-paced environment where there is always a learning opportunity or something different occurring to keep me on my toes. Each day is different and interesting, which breaks up the monotony that you can get working for a large company.
Which personality traits, interests, and abilities are important or common for a person to succeed in and enjoy support jobs?
Having a desire to learn, and to continue learning is crucial to succeed in and enjoy support jobs. You need to be adaptable, focused, and collaborative in order to thrive in this type of field.
Which tools/technologies or technical skills are particularly important for a person to be proficient in for support jobs?
Having an understanding of network technologies and infrastructure is important to be successful as a member of the VoIP team. I frequently utilize third-party utilities such as Wireshark and Riverbed to review network traffic, as well as internally developed utilities to review application logging. A strong familiarity of Windows-based servers and applications is also important.
Which soft skills (aka general business skills or employability skills) are particularly important for a person to be proficient in for support jobs?
Problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, teamwork, and time management skills are all very important in this occupation.
From your experience with new grads applying for and beginning jobs in support, are they missing any particular knowledge, skills, or experiences that hold them back? Please describe.
Our product is heavily customized, so we do not expect a new hire to come in and start knowing what they are doing from day one. Among the items that aid in someones initial success is their experience with open network and hardware standards, as well as firsthand experience with our or similar technologies.
Which resources, people, books, websites, etc. would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in support?
Find a technical mentor, whether at your school, workplace, or related community programs.
In my occupation, I primarily read technical documentation and manuals. For my field specifically, those topics include networking, security, server management, IETF RFCs, and relevant whitepapers.
What encouragement or advice would you offer to others considering support jobs or wanting to stand out amongst others?
Be confident and competent. Understand that no one expects you to know everything, but instead puts the value on the desire to learn and take on challenges.