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Connecting Rutgers users in a mobile world with Michael Alicea

Michael Alicea, administrative analyst, OIT–Newark

Michael is responsible for cellular and paging services at the university and ensures that faculty, staff, and students with a Rutgers-issued cell phone maintain connectivity, quality technology services, and constant remote support, no matter where they are.

In this Q&A, Alicea takes us behind-the-scenes of his day-to-day work life, including what it’s like to serve Rutgers community members.

What is your day-to-day like as an administrative analyst?
If there are staff members who are leaving the country for conferences or study abroad trips, I add services to their devices, activate equipment, and submit any orders for new lines, upgrades, and replacement devices. Also, if there are issues with a device, a staff member will contact me. We’ll go through the basic troubleshooting steps to try to resolve the issue. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, then I coordinate a conference call with the tech support team at Verizon or AT&T, depending on the carrier that the users have. I order replacement devices, update holder information to phone lines, suspend and terminate existing phone lines as well.

What are some of the specific problems people run into with their cell phones?
The most common issues customer run into are where they can’t make a call, their text messages aren’t coming in, the data is not working, or they have issues with the hotspot connection.

What drew you to this role?
I really enjoy the different aspects of cell phones and the new features that come out every year. I have to stay up to date on all the changes that the new phones and or wireless carriers make to ensure Rutgers stays up to date with regard to those changes. We actually request a demo device with the carriers for any new equipment so we can test them for RBHS, because all cellular phones utilized within RBHS must fall in line with security and encryption policies established for staff use.

How did your team adjust to remote work during the pandemic?
Everything changed, and it was an adjustment. Not everybody was within the tri-state area at the time, and our phone plans only covered the tri-state area and were on pooled/shared minutes. This was an issue since the University was completely remote and those pooled/shared minutes were being used up rapidly. We had to come up with a solution to try to make sure that everybody was covered regardless of where they were. With a new calling plan in place, no additional charges were applied outside of what would normally be billed.

What advice would you give to someone entering IT for their career?
Don’t overthink things. Breathe. Most importantly, if you need help, ask for some help. Don’t get too overwhelmed and too amped up because that won’t bring you to a resolution. If you freak out in a high-stress situation, you’ll only end up causing more problems for yourself. Patience is key. Keep that mindset. You can get through this. You just need to go at a pace that is more comfortable for you to be able to get through what you need to get through. Find a method to the madness, so to speak, and just go with it.

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