Skills you learn from working in an application support team

Posted in Personal 26 Jan 2020

Recently, I started managing a new team which provides L1 application support services. So far, I had managed L2/L3 support teams only, therefore, initial months were a steep learning curve for me.

While taking the reins of the L1 team, I started interacting with my new team members as well and during those interactions, I came across a very frequently asked question and that is "what is it that one can learn while working in an L1 team? How can working in the L1 team help me in growing in my career?".

Before sharing my thoughts on the above question, as most of my readers would not know about the work we do as an L1 team, I would like to share high-level job duties of an L1 support engineer. L1 support engineers are the first line of defence (therefore L1 team works in 24*7 shift model) for any application issue/alert; L1 support engineers do an initial analysis of the issue and try to resolve the incident at their end; otherwise, they escalate to L2 team for resolution.

Most of the work done by an L1 engineer is document-driven and repeat in nature and that's the reason the above question is an FAQ.

As per my experience, so far, below are some of the qualities which an individual adds to its personality while working in an L1 team

1) Become excellent team player: As I mentioned above, L1 team works in 24*7 shift model and there are times where a person in shift has to go on unplanned leave. Without being a good team player, one cannot seek help from its team members to cover its shift in its absence. A person who has good camaraderie in the team goes a long way in the L1 team.  

2) Become good on networking: L1 team being the first line of defence for application issues/alerts also handles a lot of issues which are not documented. One cannot escalate everything to L2 as well as that impacts the resolution rate metric of the L1 team. Therefore, if one is good in networking with its counterparts in L2 teams then it helps a lot as there are times where one takes a lot of offline help from L2 team members.

3) Become excellent at driving operational efficiency: Since the nature of L1 work is repeat in nature therefore it provides an abundance of opportunities to document, automate and make tedious and long processes lean and agile.

The above-mentioned traits are some of the most sought after traits required by most of the teams in a service-based IT industry. And if one inculcates them then he/she can go miles in their career.