December 2016 – One of the most enjoyable, but also most challenging things Aaron Powers said he faces in his current position as an IT manager in Administrative IT Services is that he has no typical workday. A day's list of things to do could include a technology consultation, project management, desktop support, server management, reporting, system planning and more, he said.
"Aaron is consistent and takes on the difficult tasks and projects with a cheeriness that is infectious, said Abraham John, senior director, AITS. Powers also "considers the environment we support and run from a point of making it better" John said. "This quote by Balian, a peasant blacksmith in the movie "Kingdom of Heaven," an epic historical drama film set in the 12th Century, applies to Aaron and to the rest of my AITS team equally: “What man is a man who does not make the world better?”
John said you have to make the saying fit the times, but the intent, drive, enthusiasm and an intense desire to make what we’ve been charged with and given as a responsibility better is a trait that Aaron – and the rest of my AITS team, staff and colleagues – exemplify each day."
Powers' studies included computer science at UNT, he said, and his experience started as a student worker in the AITS department. He loves computers and logic and helping people – and information technology encompasses all three, in an extremely diverse environment, with opportunities for improvement everywhere, he said.
The best thing Powers said he finds about IT is that in this age, "EVERYTHING is tied to information technology in some way, so I get to interact with many different work environments and people. The tools are always advancing and the challenges always changing, so I am constantly learning something new."
Meeting the ever-increasing demands of technology-driven interests with the coinciding push to consolidate and reduce resource costs may be one of the toughest aspects of working in IT, he said. "It makes helping people as personably and effectively as I want to, much more difficult, and is probably the biggest stressor I encounter."
"I love learning, and that’s what a university is all about," Powers said. "UNT is great because it’s big, and has both a rich history in the arts and a push towards more technical fields, so the diversity of people I get to meet is amazing."
"I have two kids who are somehow awesome – in spite of me! I love working out, listening to music, and embarrassing my kids with bad jokes," he said.
One tidbit Powers said he uses to relieve stress or fight the ergonomics of computer work is to stand up. "I think standing desks are the best thing to happen to office work since the coffee maker."
His favorite apps are related to music, he said, and when it comes to choosing a computing platform, he said he uses "both Mac and Windows happily," adding that "one day they’ll merge and everyone can be happy." A self-described gamer all of his life, Powers enjoys Defense of the Ancients, DotA, a free-to-play multi-player online battle arena video game, but "anything with friends is a good game," he said.
To college freshman thinking about a career in information technology, Powers said "IT will push your mind constantly. If you aren’t an avid fan of change, you should at least consider other career paths."
Powers' article about AITS and its customers is in the December issue of the AITS Newsletter.