Justin Williams was a UGA student working at a fast food restaurant when he decided he wanted an on-campus job, more specifically a job at the Enterprise Information Technology Services Help Desk.
“I applied for a position my first semester here, but I didn’t get the job,” said Williams, who now serves as the IT manager for the Help Desk, “But they loved me so much they kept my résumé on file and called me after someone left the next semester.”
Williams worked for the Help Desk in various roles until he graduated. Shortly thereafter, in 2008, he was hired as a full-time IT professional assistant, mainly working on documentation for the Help Desk.
“It was interesting making that transition from a student worker to a full-time employee,” Williams said. “I was still in that student mindset, so having to separate the friendship I had with my colleagues and act as a supervisor was challenging.”
As the IT professional assistant, Williams worked on writing technology guides, helping direct how-to videos as well as maintaining the EITS Help Desk’s website. His undergraduate degree in English really helped with his ability to write as well as think critically, Williams said.
Williams decided to go for a bachelor’s in English because he didn’t want his hobby, a love of technology, to seep into his professional life.
“My older brother was always the computer guy in my family, but I was right there with him,” Williams said. “I was 10 years old trying to learn to code in BASIC [Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code] and connecting to bulletin board services online.”
That early love for gadgets, technology and video games is still a part of Williams’ daily life. He has five computers that he uses daily, and his office is decorated with Nintendo memorabilia from the Mario Bros. video games. Williams even ran a video game website for 10 years, something that helped him build his skills in Web design and image editing.
Williams said his past with technology helped him as he rose through the ranks at EITS to become IT manager.
In his current position, he is responsible for training and managing 12 student workers and three full-time employees as well as overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Help Desk. Williams also continues to work on online documentation and maintaining the EITS Help Desk website, eitshelpdesk.uga.edu.
Williams was involved heavily in the creation of the Computer Health and Security Fair, a semiannual event during which faculty, staff and students can stop by with their personal laptops and receive a basic security checkup, advice and diagnoses of small computer problems.
That ability to assist others with technology problems is what Williams enjoys the most about working at the Help Desk. He said it was the same way when he first started working there as a student.
“I love getting to the bottom of problems and examining things,” he said. “And the best part is that kind of euphoria you get from helping someone and hearing them say, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you. I’ve been trying to fix this, and now everything works again.’ ”
During his time at the Help Desk, Williams has seen on-campus technology shift from desktops to laptops, tablets and mobile devices.
“Before you just had one device, now you have your laptop, your cellphone, your tablet, your e-reader as well as mobile game devices,” he said. “So we’ve been trying to shape our services and provide support for a variety of devices.”
Williams also said the increase in devices has caused an increase in the need for the Help Desk. During the first day of this spring semester, more than 1,000 people contacted the Help Desk for assistance.