By Jeanne du Plessis
Sarah Govender is a client training and technical support consultant at LexisNexis, a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions to a variety of corporations and institutions.
This all sounds rather complicated. To put it more simply, Sarah’s job involves handling technical queries, mentoring, coaching, supervising and conducting training of internal and external clients. As LexisNexis provides a variety of products to various industries (including law firms, law enforcement, tax, accounting and academic institutions, to name but a few), a consultant is often necessary to provide technical support and training. This can involve telephonic support and/or onsite training. To embark on this exciting and diverse career, you’ll first need a well-rounded mix of technical and people skills.
The technical side
“I took an interest in the job as I realised my technical skills were very good. I applied for the position and when I was hired, I decided to undertake the A+ course. This gave me incredible troubleshooting techniques as I understood technical aspects, such as the internal working of operating systems,” Sarah states.
To be successful in the technical support side of this career, you’ll need some general IT knowledge as well as product-specific knowledge, depending on which company you work for. There are various technical diplomas or courses that you could start with, such as the A+ certification which is the industry standard for computer support technicians. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll need to be able to apply your knowledge, so excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to “think out of the box” are crucial.
The human element
Qualifications and technical skills aside, if you’re considering this field you’ll definitely need to be a people’s person as you’ll spend a lot of time interacting with people, either
in person or over the phone. “It’s important to be thorough, energetic, friendly, patient and accommodating. You should be bold and pragmatic, and have a customer focus,” Sarah adds. Obviously conducting training will involve doing a lot of presentations, so good communication and presentation skills are a must. A business management course would serve you well, as well as a course on leadership and training skills. There are many places to do such courses. Tremendis Learning, for example, offers several “Train the Trainer” courses on becoming an effective trainer and facilitator.
It’s clear that Sarah loves her job. ”It’s very rewarding when a technical query is resolved in a short space of time. It’s also satisfying to see a client’s expression when he begins to understand what he’s being trained on. I enjoy on-site training, as I get to be out of the office sometimes.” You’ll have to be on the ball in this career, as at times you’ll be required to visit clients at very short notice. “Some clients can be very intimidating,” Sarah adds. Along with patience, you’ll thus also need some resilience and the ability to keep calm under pressure.
The sky’s the limit
Training and technical support consultants can really take their pick when it comes to work opportunities, as there are many companies in diverse industries that require internal training and technical support, or that supply these services to external clients. “There’s a huge demand for trainers in various businesses, especially with the rapid growth of call centres within industries and with the fast pace of technology. It’s imperative to have internal technicians and trainers,” Sarah explains.
Sarah concludes with some advice for all you aspiring professionals out there, stating, “Never give up! Remember that success comes after failure, so pick yourself up and move on. Set goals to give you a balanced and successful life.”
Published By: Liezl Maclean