Prior to getting a job at an MSP, I didn’t have any professional IT experience. I had only “hobbyist” knowledge that pertained mostly to consumer desktop hardware. I did have a plethora of Customer Service experience, as many of us do nowadays, and the desire to apply myself and jump into the professional IT world. I also wanted to introduce myself to professional and enterprise-level technologies that I just wouldn’t be able to access on my own.
Finding a helpdesk position at a large enterprise would have been one way to achieve those goals, but I worried that I wouldn’t have the opportunity in that role to work with a multitude of different applications and hardware configurations; instead, I’d spend my days focused on the handful of technologies that my company used. That’s why I sought an MSP job, which allows me to work with a multitude of systems and technologies used by the various clients I help to support.
The Best Part of Working for an MSP
My favorite aspect of working for an MSP is the amount of different technologies that I get to work with on a daily basis. On a given day I may start out by checking a client’s SonicWALL to address VPN timeouts, then move onto writing new GPOs for automated software installation, and finally finish my day with a simple client password reset. While it can seem daunting to have a multitude of hardware and software configurations to support, it definitely helps to keep my days from feeling monotone.
Feeling burned-out due to monotonous and dull everyday activities is a common issue that many face in the IT field. Having multiple client configurations, each needing their own custom-tailored settings, approach and (sometimes) skillset, is a great way to prevent that burn-out from setting in.
It’s not all Rainbows and Sunshine
On the flip-side, there are some adverse effects of constantly working on new and different things. Getting shoved into a “Jack-of-All-Trades” role can feel disheartening, especially if you’d prefer to focus on a single niche area that you really enjoy. Additionally, addressing the constant flow of tickets can be a drag, especially when you are working to meet all of the required SLAs that your company has agreed to.
The on-call aspect of working for an MSP can definitely be draining. All MSPs that I’ve worked for require some type of mandated on-call scheduling. No one likes getting a call at 2:00 AM, and if you’re a small MSP servicing a relatively large number of clients, that type of call isn’t just possible, it’s almost guaranteed.
On the plus side (depending on the MSP you work for) you’ll likely receive some type of extra compensation for your on-call time, which can help offset that sour feeling of your evening being interrupted because Mike forgot his password. Again.
Would I Recommend Working for an MSP?
With any job, the most important thing is to find a work culture that works for you. Working at an MSP with management that cares about your success and is there to help push you along would get my recommendation any day of the week. Meanwhile, an MSP with a high turnover rate that is constantly over-utilizing their technicians would get a hard-pass from me.
That said, I do think that if you’re new to IT, you can’t go wrong by working for just about any MSP. The hands-on experience you’ll receive with a range of different technologies will be far more beneficial to your professional development than spending your days performing password resets at an enterprise helpdesk.