- By Colleen McNamara
Imagine an hour – or even 10 minutes – without your computer or wifi. Starting to feel panicky? Us too.
System Administrators like Behnam Hosseinpour are often the unsung heroes of a company. They make it possible to get work done every day. They connect our systems together – the systems that allow us to collaborate as teams, deliver to our clients, and communicate with the outside world.
Behnam is valued at SweetIQ for his patience (“Hey Behnam! Can you come here? My screen is frozen!”) matched by his technical aptitude and constant positivity. He can be leading the company through an office move and major system migration, and still be at your desk in seconds after you send a quick “SOS!” Message on Slack. He’s that good.
Here, Behnam describes his career path to SweetIQ – and offers up some advice for techies looking to work in system administration.
Let’s start from the top! Where are you from?
I’m from the north of Iran, and I lived most of my life in Iran’s capital, Tehran. I came to Montreal two years ago. I long planned to move to Canada, and I chose Montreal because my sister and brother were already here – and it was highly recommended! It had a reputation of being very safe, and there are also many good universities – both qualities I was willing to move for.
What were your first impressions of the city?
Well, I arrived in the summer – in the middle of July, which, in retrospect, was a very good idea: Montreal is amazing when it’s warm out. We strolled around Ste. Catherine and went to the Old Port — I was sold right away.
Did you have your sights set on a certain career in Montreal? What did you do in Tehran?
I have been into computers from a young age. I got my own computer when I was 15 and I knew right away that I wanted to spend my life learning about them and working with them. After university, I worked for 10 years in various technology positions, where I started out as a customer support technician, then I was promoted to a supervisor role, before becoming a network administrator. It was my goal to follow the same career path – and keep doing what I love – once I moved to Canada.
How did you learn about SweetIQ?
I started university in the fall at Concordia (Behnam is currently completing a Masters of Engineering in Information System Security), and I wanted to start working at the same job I had in Tehran – so I started the hunt. I came across SweetIQ on LinkedIn, and the description perfectly matched my expertise.
Was the corporate environment in Montreal different than what you expected?
When the door of the elevator opened at SweetIQ I was very happy to see an open concept office – it makes for a great first impression. It really reflected the openness of the people and the vibe that I got from the team. I wouldn’t say it was different than what I expected, but I was excited at the prospect of working with this team and solving problems. My interview consisted of the team telling me the list of problems they needed to overcome – and me answering whether or not I could solve them. I was up for the challenge!
A lot has changed at SweetIQ since you joined us just over a year ago. What’s your day-to-day like now?
Well – we’re just finishing a huge system migration! So that’s what I’ve been focused on. We’re transferring our first-level support to Gannett’s ticketing system, and I’m helping solve problems all day. I jump into meetings about various statuses on problems and the general integration of our software.
As our company problem solver, I’m sure you’ve faced a lot of various challenges. Can you pinpoint the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far?
The biggest change for me was adapting to the different culture of how Canadians work. When I first started, I didn’t realize the level of resources I had at my fingertips to help me iron out issues. I was learning simple stuff like where to go and buy computers — essentially, I was getting to know a new city, and a new computer culture at the same time.
It’s interesting that you mention a “computer culture.” What’s unique about Canada’s computer culture?
Here, when you have an issue with a vendor you can call on them for help. In Iran, that’s not possible – you must solve the problem on your own and troubleshoot online. There is a much higher level of collaboration here.
What makes getting out of bed in the morning and coming to work easy for you?
I consider SweetIQ my Canadian family whom I spend most of my time with. I love the physical environment and the layout of our office – and the people are amazing to work with. In my previous job, the vibe was different; I was always traveling to new offices, so I didn’t really have the chance to get to know my colleagues. Also, I love my “bat cave”, AKA the server room!
#LifeIQ – what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Never be afraid of a problem! If you’re afraid of trying, you will never learn. Since the computer is developing so fast, we need to always stay up to date about new issues that are arising from these developments. We need to keep on reading and studying so we feel prepared to take on any issue that comes our way.
#LocalIQ – what’s your favorite spot in Montreal?
In the summer, I love walking down Sherbrooke street at night. In the winter… I like to stay at home and enjoy a good cup of tea.