I get this question a lot, and I’ve never really thought of a good short answer. So here’s the long one. By title, I’m an IT Analyst I. It pretty much just means I mostly mess around with technology all day while also keeping up with the normal stuff of just working in an office – going to team meetings, writing up weekly reports, going to lunch, writing yearly goals, etc.
More specifically, I work for Caterpillar Financial, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the extremely massive Fortune 100 equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, Inc., based in Peroria, IL. To give an idea of what our main business is, let’s say your old family D9 is getting pretty outdated and your spouse has become embarrassed having to drive it around because all his or her friends have the newer models already. You really need something you can comfortably sit the small kids in while you’re excavating your front yard. So you go to a CAT dealer to buy a newer, more powerful D10:
Now, you’re probably going to want some financing to go with it. You could get a loan from some other place like a bank, credit union, shady guy in an alley OR you could get a loan from CAT Financial. Hopefully you choose the latter because of the superior quality and service you can get from being financed by the people who also happen to know the product the best. (That option also helps pay my bills). CAT Financial also does things like insure equipment (includes interesting things like semi-truck engines and boat engines), resell used equipment, recycle parts of old equipment, manage transporting machines around the world depending on dealer inventory. Fun fact: the owner of the most pieces of CAT equipment is actually Caterpillar Financial. Maintaining a tight control on these machines allows CAT to also keep a tight control on quality, which protects a very strong brand image.
As for me, I’m currently in the IT department on the Storage Support Team. The computer you’re reading this on has a hard drive in it, probably with somewhere between 50-200GB of space. If you don’t have a reference for what that means, you can probably fit about 40,000 average-sized MS Word documents in 1GB. I deal with servers in my job. Those servers need hard drives, too. Rather than put hard drives in each one, we have giant electronic cabinets that hold hundreds and hundreds of hard drives. The servers are connected to these central cabinets using fibre optic cables and get their storage from them. We manage about 140TB of storage, which will be over 200 easily by next year.
I spend a lot of time doing things like: configuring space allocation for storage requests, configuring switches, writing scripts for tedious tasks, writing insane SQL queries to create cool reports, upgrading firmware, troubleshooting backup issues, and replacing bad parts. Fortunately, I don’t have to do a lot of evening or weekend work like the server admins do.
By January I’m scheduled to be moving to another team – an applications team. It will be much more software-oriented, probably doing more programming. While I don’t like the idea of being a huge noob all over again, I’m excited to learn stuff like .NET. One of the most significant things about moving is that I get to move back to the nice headquarters building downtown, so Susan and I should be able to do some carpooling. My team was moved out into the data center building last August as part of a reorg thing. I’m ready to be back in the main building.
Oh, I also occasionally do things like write blog entries instead of doing actual work. Heh.