Like many coming out of high school and into college, Will Szymkowski wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he graduated. Having always been interested in computers, which led to him regularly fixing his parents and family friend’s computers, Will decided to take a chance on IT as a career. After trying Programming and deciding against that route, he finally found his passion when he decided to major in Information Technology and Network Systems at Conestoga College in Ontario, Canada.
Now a systems engineer at a 30,000 person company, Will manages the day-to-day IT operations of Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory systems, as well as Citrix for the organization. He holds the following certifications and is a Microsoft Exchange Server MVP two years running:
- MCSE-Server Infrastrucutre (2012 track)
- MCITP-Server Administrator
- MCTIP-Enterprise Messaging Administrator
Overseeing the overall infrastructure of the above systems in his organization comes with a slough of responsibilities that Will has embraced. He loves that his environment is always evolving, giving him the opportunity to continue learning and solving new problems. However, his true passion for what he does comes in finding ways to show the value of IT. He finds that many organizations look at IT as an expense, and he loves to challenge the status quo by working on projects that end up improving efficiency and saving the company money.
He is coming up on his four year anniversary in his current position, but his time with Experts Exchange more than doubles that.
A Decade at Experts Exchange
After graduating in 2006, Will was hired in an entry level position that required a lot of learning and skills that he was still building. After coming across Experts Exchange a few times when searching online for a solution or answer to his questions, he decided to give the site a bigger look. Since he was early in his career and hesitant to invest in the service at first, he was excited to find out that he could answer questions and in return, get complimentary access to ask questions of his own. He began getting points under his belt and unlocking access to hundreds of experts who helped him excel in his career, and gave him the tools he needed to begin helping others. Fast forward to the present where Will is well on his way to reaching his goal of earning 5,000,000 points.
With work and life in general taking up much of his time, Will’s activity on the site fluctuates, but he always tends to gravitate back because helping others in his field is so rewarding for him. Seeing the comments when someone who is able to solve a problem using his help makes his time volunteering on the site worth it, not to mention that helping others solve their issues has helped him stay current and sharp.
“Seeing the recognition from people when helping them solve an issue is incredibly rewarding and ultimately what keeps me coming back to Experts Exchange.”
Will is definitely a giver, as he has also requested that the shirts he earns on Experts Exchange are donated to the less fortunate. This is now at more than 30 shirts!
In addition to helping others, he finds it useful for his personal growth to work through others issues so that if he ever runs into that issue himself, he’s equipped to deal with it. He also says that the ability to get another person’s perspective in his field is a unique benefit of being an expert.
“With so many brilliant people on the site, all of whom have different approaches and different insights on how to solve the same issue, gives me the chance to gather a variety of perspectives to troubleshoot an issue. The knowledge transfer is really cool and everyone is volunteering their time – there is giving and getting back.”
Expert Tips for Asking Questions
Having been an expert for so long, Will’s key pieces of advice for askers is to provide as much detail as possible when asking a question. That doesn’t mean writing paragraphs, but making sure to hit all the necessary points. He says that askers have to be the eyes of their own environments and give a good picture so experts can help solve the issue, though fixing the problem is ultimately up to the asker. For this reason, Will is a big advocate for providing equal time. As experts are all volunteers, he believes that to have the best experience on Experts Exchange, everyone must be continually engaged in the discussion to find the solution.
“If you asked the question, and an expert answered, take the time to thank them and close it out.”
A Personal Touch
In his spare time, Will enjoys staying active by playing sports with friends, as well as spending time with his wife and 2-year-old son. He recently picked up an RC car that they love to play with.