Erik Biedrzycki on Working as an IT Technician

What is an IT Technician 

As an IT technician at The Leahy Center, I have the responsibility of making sure all end devices are fully operational by responding to and resolving help desk tickets in a timely manner. IT technicians are also responsible for the documentation of inventory and other useful information to The Leahy Center employees. At The Leahy Center, I am part of the internship program. I perform the tasks of a normal technician while also setting aside time for class. When I am not responding to tickets, I am working on projects assigned to the technicians by our supervisor. These projects are meant to further our development toward the next step in our career. Ideally, this would be moving to the position of IT engineer. 

Project Work

Currently, I am working with a team of other technicians to build a virtual network. The new network, named Testnet, will act as a sandbox environment for technicians to experiment with different system administration practices without putting the production environment in danger. To do this, I used a resource called vSphere which uses computing resources from a server to create virtual machines. I set aside resources to facilitate six virtual machines and installed operating systems on them using ISO files found in a network storage device. I created an Active Directory server and installed domain services so that I could manage the other workstations from the server. With that feature installed, I was able to create the testnet.net domain and add all the Windows virtual workstations to it. This domain allowed me to create a Group Policy Object and apply it to all the other machines. 

The Group Policy I put in place made it so that all the workstations had to use one specific image as a desktop background. It also prevented users from changing the desktop background themselves. I also set up a file share system where users of a particular group had access to a folder shared over the network so that they could collaborate on files and projects. The user’s role decided what group they were in. The four groups I put in place were IT, Research, Security, and Leadership. This means only employees who are part of the Leadership Team could access the Leadership shared drive, only the Research Team could access the Research drive, and so on. Another technician on the team also recently taught me how to configure a firewall using a virtual machine and pfSense, a free, open-source firewall that can be installed and configured on a Linux machine. 

Challenges

Our current task in this project is to configure the Local Administrator Password Solution (LAPS). LAPS allows domain administrators to manage the local administrator account passwords on all the workstations on the domain. Only those with the proper credentials can access the local administrator accounts on the Windows 10 virtual machines. This task has proven to be slightly challenging. This was the first time that I had run into a scenario I had no experience with. I used internet resources as well as the internal Leahy Center MediaWiki to learn what LAPS did and how to configure it. The next problem I will be tackling is applying a Group Policy to tell all end devices to install LAPS.

Takeaways

Overall, this experience at The Leahy Center has been a great learning opportunity. I am learning more about my job’s responsibilities as the days go on. I feel I have improved on double-checking my work and quality assurance. It’s important to me that whatever task I do gets done correctly the first time. Sometimes when a task seems simple, I move so fast that I miss the most fundamental steps. In my efforts to accomplish as much as I can in my shift, I end up halting my progress by overlooking a simple detail.

Conversations with my supervisor and team meetings have also taught me how to communicate with my team when I need help. All three technicians come from different backgrounds. In a field as broad and diverse as IT, it is very helpful to be able to pick the brains of those with a different experience than me. While I entered the position knowing a lot about the field, I realize there is much more I still need to learn and more that can be accomplished at The Leahy Center.

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Written by Erik Biedrzycki ‘25 // Computer Networking & Cybersecurity

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