Penn State’s Best Part Time Job for IST and SRA Students

Penn State’s Best Part Time Job for IST and SRA Students

Two weeks ago, I started working for Information Technology Services (ITS) at Penn State University Park. There are four divisions for ITS, but I chose to be a Lab Consultant. We maintain the labs and answer any questions that students have about about technology. This has been better than the best job I could have hoped for!

Why Lab Consulting rocks:

1. Time to do homework

When I worked for food service, there was no time to sit down or do anything; Lab Consulting is different. Even though Lab Consulting pays slightly less than food service, I don’t have the problem of falling behind on my homework. In the mornings or the evenings when there’s hardly anyone around, I get a great chance to read my textbooks or write papers.

2. Great for resume building

You don’t have to be an Information Science and Technology (IST) or Security and Risk Analysis (SRA) major to apply, but ITS is a great opportunity, especially for those majors. Working a part time job shows employers that you can manage both work and study. If you really want to get an internship right away, be sure to go to the career fairs and resume events.

3. Flexible hours

My favorite part of this job is how flexible the hours are. The shifts are separated into 2 hour blocks, which makes scheduling in-between classes super easy. Unassigned shifts are even better because you can arrive early or late if it doesn’t fit into your schedule nicely.

There are also usually shifts that people want to drop available too! In the morning, I woke up at 9:30 and saw that there was a shift available, so I subbed it and just walked over to work! What other jobs let you do that?

4. Explore campus

A really cool part about Lab Consulting is that there are labs all over campus! I purposefully scheduled/subbed shifts that were in different parts of campus. As a Freshman, this is a great opportunity for to find out new study spots, places to eat, or just hang out. It’s also great as an SRA/IST student because all of my classes are right next to my dorm, so this helps me go around campus and get some exercise!

Although, if you don’t want to walk around campus, you can schedule your shifts wherever you want. If I wanted to, I could have scheduled all of my shifts right next to my dorm.

How do I apply?

The first step to apply for a position is to decide where you want to work. As I stated before, ITS is actually separated into four different groups: Lab Consulting, Tech Tutors, Knowledge Commons, and Wagner Service Desk.

I decided to start with Lab Consulting because I wanted to have an opportunity to explore campus and work without being stressed out. It is important to note though, that you can work at more than one position. The only caveat is that you can only be trained in one position at a time. So next semester, I plan to try out being a Tech Tutor as well as a Lab Consultant.

Lab Consulting

The main responsibility of the Lab Consultant is to help users when they have technical questions or problems. When they need to turn in their homework five minutes ago and the scanner doesn’t work, Lab Consultants could be their last resort! Usually the help that users need is less dramatic though.

Lab Consultants are also responsible for maintaining the labs. Each Lab Consultant is responsible for responding to alerts and problems in multiple buildings. This usually means a printer could be out of paper, the toner needs replaced, or we need to file inventory reports. We also are responsible for keeping the labs nice and clean: no empty water bottles or scrap paper lying around.

Tech Tutors

Teaching users how to use different equipment or technology is the responsibility of the Tech Tutors. I’ve never needed one-on-one training on how to use software, but I know that this is a great resource for people who want to learn how to use software like Photoshop, WordPress, or Microsoft Office. This would be a particularly great position for people who really know their stuff.

You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get after helping someone? Tech Tutors probably feel that way all of the time!

Knowledge Commons Service Desk (KCSD)

The KCSD staff are the people who actually repair people’s computers. When someone gets a virus, destroys their operating system, or breaks their computer, the KCSD staff are there to help. If you really enjoy troubleshooting software or working with hardware, this is probably the position for you.

Wagner Service Desk

The Wagner Service Desk handles all online and phone support. When you click on the paw icon to live chat with a lab consultant, call the service desk, or send an email complaining about LionPath, the Wagner Service Desk handles the issue.

Personally, the Wagner Service Desk is my least favorite option because there’s not as much in-person communication as the other positions. If handling support calls is your thing though, I believe that they pay slightly more than the other positions.

Sign me up!

I can’t guarantee that you’ll be hired, but I can tell you how I applied for the position. To apply, you’ll want to have a resume ready with past jobs you’ve worked, your college major, and GPA. If you know someone who can refer you, it might be easier to get in, but I didn’t know anyone who worked for ITS when I applied.

When you’re ready, head over to this page and click the “My Applications” button at the bottom. If they aren’t accepting applications when you read this, don’t worry. I had to check it every few weeks until their applications opened. It might also help to introduce yourself to the manager at the Knowledge Commons Service Desk in the Paterno Library.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

NOTE: The views expressed in this article do not represent or reflect the views of The Pennsylvania State University or its affiliates. No official endorsement by The Pennsylvania State University should be inferred.

Originally published at on January 28, 2017.

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