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My Job: Hector Ibarra
Hector Ibarra specializes in putting the love back into the love-hate relationship many of us have with our computers. As the Information Technology Help Desk supervisor, Ibarra's here for you should tiny gremlins infiltrate your computer -- or whatever the technical term for that problem happens to be.
What's the biggest misconception about your job?
People often think the technology is the hardest thing in IT. While it has its challenges, I think things like strategizing the least disruptive way to deploy new technology or services to the campus is the most challenging part of this job.
What makes you successful at your job?
If you do IT right it looks seamless and easy to the end user. Things like the computer labs for students or wireless on campus are infinitely complex to deploy and maintain; but if people on campus can use the technology without a second thought, then I think we did our job right.
What's the quirkiest tool of your trade?
We have something called soft phones. We can login on a laptop from home and take calls from anyone who calls the IT Help Desk.
What's your best piece of advice for students?
Set up all your computing accounts -- Rebelmail, WebCampus, wireless, computer labs, and MyUNLV -- on the first day of school.
What's the story behind your favorite workspace tchotchke?
My boss bought me a tiny toy table. It is about 2 inches tall and 3 inches wide. Whenever things went wrong with technology on campus I would joke that I was going to flip my desk, so my boss got me a small table than I can easily flip with a flick of the finger to take out my frustrations. If you come into my office and see it upside down, you'll know it has been a rough day..
What's your afternoon pick-me-up?
Going on a help request. The best and most tangible thing about my job is fixing a computer problem.
How can others on campus make your job easier?
Try to remember all of your passwords. We are working on consolidating all your computer accounts to the ACE account to make life easier. We're getting there.
What has been the most rewarding moment in your career?
Once a graduate student brought in an external hard drive that had most of their research saved on it. You would plug it into any computer, and it wouldn't come up. After some tinkering I was able to get all the data off the drive and onto a DVD. That felt pretty great.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I want to write the next great American zombie novel.
Who do you want to thank for the job they do on campus?
Every professor and instructor on campus has a genuine concern for students' experience on campus, even when it comes to IT-related stuff. I appreciate any staff member who does everything they can to help out a student.
If you were given a $1 million grant to make a campus improvement, start a new program, or improve one we already have, where would you put that money?
I don't know if $1 million dollars is enough to fund it, but I think an IT security undergraduate degree would be amazing on campus. I'd be the first to sign up.