Young Professional Guest Blogger Series: Overcoming Challenges

April 2, 2020


Twin Cities

By Huzaifa Ahmed

I am lucky to have had the opportunity to intern at a couple of places, but today we’re going to focus in on my experience as a Development & Technical Operations (DevOps + TechOps) Systems Admin at CaringBridge. In this role, I need to know about both software and hardware and be comfortable with problem-solving and critical thinking.

My role puts me in a position to face and overcome challenges every single day. It is normal for me to start work not knowing the challenges that lie ahead of me and what tasks I will be asked to perform. I’ve solved challenges like determining why someone cannot turn on their display, fixing a battery that has swollen out of its case, difficulties with accessing Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive connectivity issues. My job requires me to have the answers to anything and everything, and I don’t necessarily know when I will be called to give a solution.

Whatever technical frailties anyone is facing, I am the man charged with providing them a fix. For most, facing the unknown every day is a daunting task and a very difficult ask. Many would be nervous at the thought of having to solve a problem they had only just heard of five minutes ago. But, that is my job, each and every day.

What have I done to overcome this challenge? I’ve used a very handy method taught in summer training, known as ‘three before me.’ This method is effective in solving any problem, regardless of how difficult it may seem. So, what is this method and how do you use it? Let me show you:

Step #1: Ask yourself.

The first step to this is to just ask yourself for the solution. Seems simple, right? You would be surprised at how many people give up before even trying. Give the problem thought, look at it from a different angle, reflect on your past experiences, or ask for clarification or more details. Try to figure out how you can tackle the problem. The point is, you are your biggest and most useful tool, so utilize it. But if you’re still lost, that’s ok, let’s move on to step #2.

Step #2: Use your resources.

Focus on the directions given or the problem stated. Try to understand what the problem is. Interpret what you are trying to tackle, and then go back and use your resources. Refer to your notes and use Google. I cannot stress how important this step is and how often it is overlooked. Google is such an amazing tool at everyone’s disposal. It can give you the answer to everything. But if you’re still having trouble, let’s take a look at step #3.

Step #3: Ask a peer for support.

We’re not designed to have the answers to everything, and at times, you may not even completely understand how to tackle the problem, and that’s ok. Reach out to a co-worker or a peer and ask them to help out. Chances are, they have some experience and can help out. But sometimes this step doesn’t help out either, so what comes next?

The last part is to reach out to your manager or supervisor for support. Let them know you utilized whatever resources you had available to you, and communicate to them about what you tested to try and decrypt the solution. At the end of the day, you will not have all the answers, and it’s ok to go and have your supervisor go and take a look at it with you. As long as you try, and you give your best shot, that’s all that matters. Don’t fear failure, because without failing, we never learn or grow. We would never know what we need to improve on if we don’t fail.

So, that is how I deal with challenges, on a day-to-day basis. With the help of this useful tool, no problem is ever too big to solve. This tool has taught me to be more self-reliant and self-sufficient, and this tool can be used in every aspect of my life, professional or personal. Now, it’s easy for me to understand that problems are there to be solved.

Meet the Author

My name is Huzaifa Ahmed, and I’m a freshman at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. I’m currently studying IT Infrastructure for my major. I’ve been with Genesys Works for almost two years. Outside of work, you will often find me volunteering for my community and helping out wherever needed. I participate and lead a lot of youth groups to keep the younger audience involved in the community. I also enjoy teaching, which I do over the weekends. Furthermore, my love for soccer has pushed me to start coaching local teams, where I look to engage with everyone, collectively and individually. My aim is to always seek opportunities to improve myself in any way that I can. With the skills that I look to learn, my goal is to make a lasting impact in the world and make a positive difference in the future of IT.

Check out my LinkedIn profile:

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