An average day as a Zicam engineer?
There is no average day!
I’ve now been at Zicam Security just over a year and it’s going really well. I think the entire engineering team has a sense of pride about both the company we work for and the work we do. Zicam has set the standards so high it’s on another level to other companies in our industry, but that’s what makes us want to do our best for each customer.
Literally, each day is different. I feel that I’m developing my skills with every job I go to, and my role is diverse which keeps me interested and allows me to expand my knowledge. I can go from one day fault finding on a customer’s premises to the day after installing commercial door access in a completely different location, and then on to servicing a number of sites in one day.
Matching skills to the job
I seem to have landed the role of fault-finding, which I’m really pleased about. It means that I’m dealing with different sites and different problems all the time that, of course, all need their own solutions. I see those challenges as personal development; I have to go in blind, probably not knowing the site, and my task is to locate the fault and find a solution for it – it keeps me on my toes.
Systematic search for solutions
The commercial and business security systems we install are now so sophisticated that I have to have a really methodical and systematic approach to fault finding. Most sites have been upgraded from analogue to IP networked systems so the tool I probably use most is my laptop. I can plug into the switches and dial into the cameras to find out if the fault is with the camera or the switch itself, or if it’s the link back to the main server. There’s a lot involved and the faults can get quite complicated on occasion, but that’s where the job satisfaction comes in – when I can leave a site with the security system running as it should then it’s a job well done.
As long as the process is broken down into logical sections then I’ll be able to find the fault. I pride myself on doing a thorough job and if that means going back the next day then that’s what I’ll do – at the end of the day I want the system to be working as it should and the customer to be happy. I think I’m probably a bit of a perfectionist in that regard!
The big installs
When I do go onto a big install it might take two weeks to complete or up to a month in some cases. It all depends on the complexity of the job and the size of the site. We would normally have a team leader and a few engineers and the lead assigns tasks according to the job specification and plan. It’s good to work on an install as opposed to fault-finding for a change, although the only problem with a big job is there’s likely to be other contractors on site and if they get delayed then it can have a knock on effect for what we do. You can’t control everything – but you can prepare and make sure ready to go when they hand over.
Mentoring the next generation
Zicam has recently taken on apprentices who have been going out on jobs with the experienced engineers. I quite enjoy the mentoring aspect and the apprentice we have really want to learn which makes a big difference; it makes it easier for me to show them what I’m doing and why. When you have someone with you who’s learning from watching, it really makes you think about how you explain it. We’re an experienced team and sometimes you just do a task automatically, so having to explain it makes you think more about it. It’s interesting to have them with us – it’s good to know that we’re contributing to their career and training skilled engineers for Zicam’s future.
Shawn Bonner, Engineer, Zicam Integrated Security Limited.
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