INTERVIEW: SCIoI IT Officers Serkan Korkmaz and Stephan Rosenzweig describe their everyday work at the cluster
We’ve asked our IT Officers, Stephan Rosenzweig and Serkan Korkmaz, about their daily life at SCIoI, and here is what they answered.
The two of you are behind the IT infrastructure at SCIoI. What does that mean? What does your typical day look like?
Stephan: Our primary responsibility is to oversee and maintain the IT infrastructure.
This includes providing support for a wide range of equipment, systems, and services, as well as staying up-to-date on the latest technological advancements. A typical day can involve performing system installations to accommodate new employees or address changes to the organization’s structure, as well as providing first-level technical support to address any issues that arise.
We also conduct research to identify and troubleshoot technical problems, and collaborate with the TU IT Team to ensure that our systems are secure and compliant with relevant regulations.
Despite the many demands on our time, we try to always remain flexible and responsive, and also make sure to be available for any last-minute requests and issues that may arise.
Serkan: Right, and this also means guaranteeing and servicing the core IT infrastructure pillars such as operations, maintenance, and enhancement – as well as support and consulting. There are many types of tasks, with very high requirements from IT services at SCIoI, and within the IT landscape there are many additional opportunities to acquire new IT knowledge. For me there aren’t so many typical days. A process of constant re-evaluation, analysis, and decision-making that considers the steps we take makes our work very dynamic.
What are the biggest challenges you face on a daily basis in managing a university’s IT system?
Stephan: We try to ensure timely and effective support to all of our employees and scientists, but we also need to guarantee that our systems are up-to-date and secure, which can require coordination with the larger IT team at the TU. Another challenge is managing our time and resources effectively.
Since our team is relatively small, we also need to be mindful of conflicting demands. We always have to be vigilant and prepared for potential technical issues or downtime, as even small disruptions can have a significant impact on the cluster’s operations. Despite these challenges, we remain committed to providing IT services to support our employees and scientists and to ensure the smooth functioning of our organization.
Serkan: I’d like to add that main challenges are process optimization, time-saving, and minimization of processing effort, primarily. How can we provide IT services faster and better with the help of IT solutions? That’s our main goal.
What services can you offer to SCIoI researchers?
Stephan: The list is long. The first things we provide to our researchers are laptops and desktop workstations, along with all the necessary accessories and desk equipment. We also offer our extensive knowledge of SCIoI’s IT infrastructure and services, which we can share with researchers. Through our booking systems we facilitate collaboration and streamline communication, and with our support services we help with remote collaboration and presentations. We understand that each researcher’s needs are unique, so we work with them to create a customized IT environment that meets their specific requirements. And we’re always happy to help troubleshoot any technical issues that may arise, even if unexpected.
Serkan: We also manage the ticket system, the technical aspects of the website, and of course our wiki, which is the primary internal information point for everything related to SCIoI, as well as our good mail infrastructure. We are also planning to launch our fileserver as soon as possible. SCIoI is growing and getting better and better every day, and that applies to IT as well.
What is the best part about working at SCIoI?
Stephan: I’ve been at SCIoI for about 8 months now, and I can say without hesitation that there are many things that make this a great place to work. For starters, our team has a fantastic coffee machine that keeps us fueled and energized throughout the day. But beyond that, the best part about working here are the people. I’m fortunate to work alongside a talented and supportive team of colleagues who make coming to work each day a pleasure. The project culture is welcoming and inclusive, and there’s a real sense of camaraderie and mutual respect among colleagues. Of course, the daily challenges can be stressful at times, but these challenges also keep us on our toes and provide opportunities for professional growth and development. Moreover, we get a small insight into the different research projects that are being conducted, and that is exciting and intellectually stimulating.
Serkan: I totally agree, the best part are the many technical possibilities, and the chances of meeting so many interesting people from so many different cultures, all linked by their interest in all these great SCIoI topics, which play such an important role in the future.
What do you enjoy doing the most, besides IT at SCIoI?
Stephan: First and foremost, I value getting enough rest and sleep, which is essential for both physical and mental wellbeing. But beyond that, I enjoy exploring new technologies and tinkering with gadgets and electronics in my spare time. I find it fascinating to learn about emerging technologies and how they might be applied to our work in IT. I’m also always looking for opportunities to develop new skills and further my professional development. But most importantly, I enjoy spending quality time with my loved ones, including my wife and our two cats. Finding a balance between work and personal life is important to me, and I’m grateful for the opportunities I have to pursue my interests and spend time with the people who matter most.
Serkan: In my private life, I try to not be on the computer so much, and to be more and more independent from technology. Technology has been one of my greatest interests since childhood, and I’ve always been passionate about learning about its advantages. However, it is all the more important to remember cultural heritage, and that we should not be too dependent on the digital world. I like to be active in sports and do this regularly in my social environment. So I never say no to a good game of football or basketball! But I also have many other talents in other disciplines, such as chess – I like competition! I also love to travel and enjoy the different cultures of this world and try to go through the world with an open mind.