Daniel Griffith in the Zone
As a problem-solver and customer-service professional, Daniel "Danny" Griffith uses and implements the latest network technology in his work as a cross-functional IT support specialist. He credits his work at a retail gaming company with introducing him to the basics of computer networking and customer service.
"I was interested in computers when I was in middle school and enjoyed learning about their components. I suppose that led me to work at the UNT LAN Center and my interest in IT grew from there," he said.
Born and raised in Denton, Griffith transferred to UNT after completing an associate of science degree at North Central Texas College. He transferred to UNT in pursuit of a bachelor's degree in sociology. Griffith now works for Administrative IT Services, an area of University Information Services in the UNT Division of Finance and Administration.
Communication—Essential Soft Skills in IT
"The importance of good communication with end-users can be overlooked when pursuing a technology-focused degree," he said. "To be successful in the IT field, I would advise all tech-minded students to include a class that has a customer-service focus in addition to their core courses."
We focus on computers and copiers; we install software, manage trouble tickets and troubleshoot technical difficulties, but our main focus is the individual client. In IT, we help people by installing, configuring or fixing their tools, so your communication skills are the key to helping your customer get to work—or back to work. Know your customer whether you're supporting a server or a person; it all requires good communication, Griffith said. The best example of a customer-service focused class is Qualitative Sociology, Griffith said. "It helped a great deal in working with people one-on-one, interviewing and learning to ask important questions."
Professional Development—Continual for IT Pros
"Software and systems are updated all the time, and if you plan to move up in IT, you will require continuing education—just plan on learning something new all the time," Griffith said. As soon as you configure a workstation or office-peripheral, you will have new security or networking challenge to address. Every day is different, he said. The best part of my job is working with a committed team of like-minded colleagues who teach and support each other. The least favorite aspect of my work is running into an issue that seems impossible to resolve, but that's when my team—a great group of people—is there to rely upon for brainstorming ideas.
When asked if he likes like a Mac or PC or both, Griffith said he grew up using a PC. "I do understand the appeal of a Mac, but I would have to go with a PC as my favorite. I like building my own computers and it's not possible with a Mac." As far as software is involved, Griffith said, "PC has better support for games—the games I enjoy. Most other software I use is available on both systems." His favorite board game is "Cosmic Encounter" and "Rocket League" is his favorite video game.
Griffith points to Jacob Flores, University IT systems administrator supervisor, as one at UNT who has most positively influenced him. "When I first started working here, he also was a student-employee and eventually became one of my managers. He was always very positive and helpful and helped shape how a good IT customer service representative should behave and interact with end users."
A self-described jack-of-all-trades, Griffith is adept at a few folk tunes on the guitar, a little game coding and plays tennis now and then. Playing games with his family and friends is his favorite pastime; specifically, "Mexica," which plots the development of the city of Tenochtitlan on an island in Lake Texcoco, and Scythe, an engine-building game set in an alternate history of the 1920s, both area-control games. He also enjoys pizza and his favorite smartphone app is Spotify. As a native Dentonite, he has been attending the Arts and Jazz Festival in Quakertown Park "since I was a kid. The music, art and food are always great," he said.
Last good read? "I always recommend reading “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams," Griffith said. "It has some great, witty humor and is a classic."