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Computing skills

By phil villarreal
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 29, 1999
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Jennifer Holmes
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Name: Harsh Gupta
Major: Management Information Systems grad student
Age: 25
Job Description: Work as an attendant in the hotbed of all UA computing - the BITS computer lab in the Student Union basement. Facilitate printing jobs, help out with student computer problems. Do not allow students to enter chat rooms, load games, or download porn.
Job Qualifications: Must be skilled with the art of stroking the keyboard in just the right way. Also must be able to handle a multitude of complaints from the largely computer-illiterate student body.
Job Advantages: Gets to work with computers all day.
Job Disadvantages: Has to work with computers all day. Must put up with hassles from students who can't understand why the Melissa virus decided to inhale their English midterms. Also burdened with the responsibility of guarding UA's dwindling paper supply.

Up in the corner of the BITS computer office downstairs in the Student Union, a flier describing Harsh Gupta's job duties is posted on a bulletin board.

The flier yields some menial and expected tasks: check supplies, make sure that no student prints more than one copy of a document, and check the lab center e-mail account for important messages.

And then there's a more daunting task: "Stop students from bringing up porn on the Internet."

Luckily, Gupta has never faced a situation where students have used the UA's super-fast Internet access to grab some nasty pictures off the information superhighway.

"I've never seen anyone try to do that," Gupta said.

Gupta is an MIS grad student who comes from Bhopal, India. He began working with computers seven years ago, and in that time developed an expertise. He began working at the lab this semester.

"I like [this job]. It's peaceful," Gupta said.

During the interview, a frustrated student interrupted. It was a girl with a sullen, beaten face. She carried a disk. Obviously, her problem was so important that it demanded immediate intervention.

Gupta immediately pulled the girl's documents up on his master computer. He then informed her that there was obviously some kind of problem with the disk she was using.

"I can print it out for you," Gupta said.

"But I have a lot of stuff I need printed," the girl replied. "I have three documents."

After a somewhat lengthy, contemplative pause, Gupta turned to the girl with warm eyes.

"I can print those out for you," he said.

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