Monthly Archives: March 2010

Is your computer guy making $13/hr?

In terms of professionalism, network support companies run the gamut. Most any person with moderate computer experience can hang out their own shingle and claim to be a professional–and many do. While you’ll find a lot of “professionals” who charge as little as $35/hr, most full-time, experienced service companies in the Michigan area bill in the $90-120/hr range. However, the rate at which you’re billed isn’t always indicative of the skill level of the technician/engineer assigned to your account.

When researching prospective network support companies, I recommend that you also shop their “help wanted” ads to get the inside scoop. What type of skills are emphasized in these ads? Are these skills a good match to your business’s technology? And equally important: How much are the front-line employees compensated? Below is an example of an actual job posting that recently appeared on Detroit’s Craigslist.

How confident would you be in hiring this company if you knew that the person responsible for servicing your network was making $13/hr?

Do you love computers? Are you a whiz when it comes to Active Directory?

Then you should join our team!

We’re a friendly, fast-growing company with a collaborative, team-focused culture. We take pride in doing our jobs well and helping our clients make the most of their technology. There are no arrogant techs here—we look for people who have not just the
technical skills but also the communication ability to work well with clients no matter their level of tech-savvy.

We are selective so we care more about finding the right person than rushing to hire just anyone. We offer a flexible work environment with paid holidays, paid time off, and more. We’re located in Monroe, Michigan, with clients throughout Southeastern Michigan (we provide services as far south as Perrysburg, Ohio, and as far north as Plymouth, Michigan).

Please send a resume with your inquiry. This is a full-time position. Perfect for an intern or someone just out of school.

Job Summary: Our company is a small tech consulting business which serves as an on-demand IT department for small and mid-size businesses.

Our primary business focus: We design, install and maintain Microsoft business networks for
small and medium sized companies. In your role as a networking support technician, your primary responsibility will be to support
our clients’ servers and PCs.

This will include both onsite and remote support using state-of-the-art managed services tools. The majority of our clients are running Windows/Windows Server/Small Business Server, although Linux and Mac skills are useful as well.

You must have on-the-job experience installing and maintaining Windows servers but we are flexible on the specific level of server expertise you have.

How much is enough? If you feel this is a role you’d enjoy, let’s talk. We continue to develop and refine our company best practices, and you will be an important part of that process.

This position requires a high level of independence and strong client service skills. Organizational ability is important to keep track of all tasks, because the job requires a great deal of multi-tasking. You are likely to perform work for several different clients
in any given week, and it can be challenging to balance time across projects.

We also require accurate and timely tracking of client work, service calls, and related documentation including timesheets.

This is not a job for someone who wants to do the same thing from day to day – there is a lot of variety and a lot of opportunity. We enjoy our work and our clients, and we’d like to find someone who fits well within this culture.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge of computers as well as peer-to-peer and wireless networks. – required

Familiarity with common software products like Microsoft Office. – required

Knowledge of servers and networking equipment, security products, and intra/internet setup. Windows Server 2003, Exchange Server – experience or training required Windows Small Business Server 2000/2003 – nice to have; if you don’t know it, we’ll get you trained
Linux/UNIX, SQL Server – nice to have, definitely not required. Windows XP/Vista/Win7 desktop deployment, including support, maintenance, ghosting, and general troubleshooting – required

Macs – nice to have, not required.

Ability to establish priorities, work independently, and proceed with objectives without supervision
Ability to develop/follow standard processes and complete documentation as needed
Ability to handle and resolve recurring problems, including escalation as needed when you require outside assistance
Ability to communicate well with clients, including clear explanations of complex technology issues.

Other Requirements/Misc

Willing to work occasionally and/or be on call overtime, holidays, and weekends.
Must have transportation to visit client sites.
Car, valid driver’s license, and auto insurance required.

We have company vehicles as well, so please don’t have a lot of points or a horrible driving record – we can’t let you drive our cars if you do.

As a Microsoft partner, we need a qualifying number of MCPs (Microsoft Certified Professionals). The person in this position may be asked to study for and pass one of the MCP exams (training and test fees will be paid).

* Location: Monroe, Michigan
* Compensation: Commensurate with experience, $26-$34k + performance bonuses
* Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
* Please, no phone calls about this job!
* Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

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Your high IQ will kill your startup

I don’t normally like to write “drive-by postings” that merely link to someone else’s blog with minor commentary. However, I believe that “Your high IQ will kill your startup” is one of the most insightful blog postings that I’ve ever read. It’s an excellent reminder that “pride goeth before destruction” and that sometimes we can be too smart for our own good.

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Rounding datetimes and timestamps in PostgreSQL

I’m working on a time billing application and needed a way to round punches to the nearest 15 minute increment from within the Postgres DB. The function below is the most elegant solution I could come up with. It could be easily modified to always round-up or round-down by replacing ROUND() with either CEIL() or FLOOR(), respectively.

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION round_timestamp(
		 ts timestamptz
		,round_secs int
                ) RETURNS timestamptz AS $$
        DECLARE
                _mystamp timestamp;
                _round_secs decimal;
        BEGIN

	_round_secs := round_secs::decimal;

	_mystamp := timestamptz 'epoch' 
			+ ROUND((EXTRACT(EPOCH FROM ts))::int / _round_secs) * _round_secs
			* INTERVAL '1 second';

	RETURN _mystamp;

END; $$ LANGUAGE plpgsql IMMUTABLE;
SELECT * FROM round_timestamp('2010-03-04 11:39:11', 900);
    round_timestamp
------------------------
 2010-03-04 11:45:00-05
(1 row)
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