Staff Spotlight: Chris Swanson

chrisSwansonSquareTitle/Position
Desktop Service Specialist

How Long Have You Been at SMC
Since August 2014

Role in the IT Department
My primary role in the department is to develop and maintain the images (collections of operating system, software, updates, etc) for the college’s classrooms, labs, and faculty/staff computers. Other things I assist with are the virtual desktop infrastructure, group policy management (system wide rules for our computers), and software distribution. My office is located in the Helpdesk so I also help with day to day problems that occur (printing, passwords, malware) and I am an escalation resource for our student staff there.

How Did You End Up in IT
As a freshman at Saint Mike’s (way back in ’05!) I was assigned a work study position at the library but I waited too long to go sign up and all the positions were full. After asking around campus I heard there were still positions open at the Helpdesk and I was able to secure a job there. Working at the Helpdesk I developed both technical skills, customer relation skills, and discovered my fascination with technology. I learned a lot from the helpful and friendly staff in the department. A few years after I graduated I saw an advertisement for an IT position in the Seven Days classifieds and I jumped at the position to return and become a member of the helpful and friendly staff myself.

Technological Advice To Our Community
The blessing and curse of most modern technology is that you don’t have to actually know how it works to use it. The upside of this is that it lowers the barrier of entry for use of new technology- the average user doesn’t have to know how the spam filter on their email works or how their laptop authenticates to a wireless network in order to enjoy the benefits of these services. But conversely if these technologies break, then most people have difficulty troubleshooting the problem. Arthur C. Clarke famously remarked that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” My advice is to take some time to learn how the technology in your life works. There are so many free resources available today-Wikipedia, Khan Academy, Coursera- we’ve never lived in a time with better access to such valuable information.

What’s Your Best Technology Time-Saving Shortcut Or Life Hack?
Keyboard shortcuts! There is a keyboard shortcut for almost every commonly executed task. Learning the keyboard shortcuts relevant to your common activities will save you a ton of time over the long run. Common Windows shortcuts can be found here https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12445/windows-keyboard-shortcuts. Some of my favorite shortcuts:

Windows key + L : Lock your computer
Ctrl + P : Print
Alt + Tab : Go back to the previous text field
Windows key + Left or Right arrow : Snap current window to the side of your screen

Anything Else You Would Like To Share
I’ve truly enjoyed working at Saint Michael’s the past two and a half years. We have a great community here.