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How do you do....it? Thread, What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test? in Technical; Originally Posted by altecsole Computer: 1. Plugged in but not switched on at the mains (plug not in plain site) ...
  1. #16

    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    Quote Originally Posted by altecsole
    Computer:
    1. Plugged in but not switched on at the mains (plug not in plain site)
    2. Network cable not fully engaged
    3. Monitor brightness and contrast turned right down
    4. Keyboard and mouse plugged into wrong ports (PS2)
    5. Sound card disabled

    Scenario:
    A teacher says that the sound was not working on the computer and a couple of pupils said that they could fix it. They seemed to be messing around for ages and now nothing works. Can you have a look and see what's wrong?

    Leave a set of tools next to the computer, along with a spare monitor and sound card. If they're methodical and thinking clearly they should sort out the problems. If they go straight to taking the case off you know you've got problems.
    Not sure if all or any of you would agree with me on this but it depends on the circumstances at the end of the day, I mean if the machine is under warranty, you wouldnt take it apart in the first place to try and ammend it you would just call the company up and say X machine is not working and get an engineer out , if its not under warranty then fair enough.

    Also personally I would start at the hardware layer ( following the OSI model ) and work my way up from hardware all the way to software ( depending on the circumstances as I previously mentioned )

    What do you all think ?

  2. #17

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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    Don't get too hung up either if all the candidates fail on one or more parts of the test.

    A couple of months ago we were in the same position. I set a short series of tests, the first of which was a screwed up refresh rate (beyond capabilities of monitor). All but one of the candidates failed, however it became clear by the end of the interview process that there was one other candidate who was streets ahead of the rest despite failing the practical test. We appointed him & he has proven to be an excellent choice. He had good theoretical knowledge & a personality to match, we have given him a short sharp introduction to the practical side of being a school ICT technician & he is already a valuable member of our team.

  3. #18
    altecsole's Avatar
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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    I chose the computer setup and scenario because they cover the majority of the quick fixes we come across all the time: computer off at the socket, network cable not plugged in, monitor brightness turned down etc.

    You want a rounded person with good communication skills and the ability to get on with people. If they're working as part of a team then these qualities are far more important that technical ability.

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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    Quote Originally Posted by SYSMAN_MK
    Quote Originally Posted by buzzard
    2 computers (we use laptops), a length of wire, cable making tools, user has to complete a file transfer from one computer to the other,
    Would use my initiative and use my USB Pen drive
    Sorry should have said, use a ISO bigger than what you can fit on a USB, at the time we did it it was an MS Office ISO, perhaps zip a few together!!

    The test started with a bit of paper and a scenario of "using only the equipment on the table transfer file X from Computer A to Computer B"

    Nice Try though!!

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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    Get the most IT illiterate teacher you can find. Deck their printer in. Then get the candidate to troubleshoot over the phone with the teacher. Evil, I know, but very very practical and realistic!

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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    a friend told me once that the hardest thing for a tech to fix is a simple problem IE i had a phone call asking me to help with a pc it would not switch on tested psu changed it and it still did not work i laughed as the problem was the fuse in the plug had blown once changed both psu worked but fuses can be funny things has anyone heard of a lazy fuse. ( its a fuse that has blown but not totally so still lets a little bit of current. but not enough to power anything). can be bad as a basic circuit will not see the break need somthing like a megga. have seen loads of these happens a lot in cheap fuses.

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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    I think the simple things that sound technical are good (such as the fuse one or swapping mouse and keyboard). I do have a big problem with some of the scenario type tests though as often the candidate won't be able to put it into context. For example here there should be no way that hardware could get disabled so it wouldn't be one of the top things I would try. Eventually if all else fails I would but this could seem like I didn't know what I was doing as I took so long getting to it.

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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    Interesting conv.

    To be fair i agree that the hardest problems for a techy are the simplest. Especially if your candidates are nervous. Maybe tell them that "this is a simple problem" or "this is a hard one".
    If the candidate has came from another school for example, and they make a point of training staff on basic things such as "have you unplugged the PC to plug your kettle in?" then the candidate may not check this. (Not that some of our staff would check that!)

    In the end, you want to be checking if he can do the things hes going to be employed for. If its abit of everything then give him abit of everything, but in steps.


    Maybe;

    2 PCs, one with a setup.exe on it. The goal is to install the setup on the other PC.
    Choice of network cables.
    Set PCs up with incompatible IP settings - maybe make this obvious as it could be abit nasty if you only change the network by 1 number for example.

    Include any hardware troubleshooting before - ie not plugged in or monitor contrast down etc

    Then guide him through it in steps whenever he seems stumped on what he should be doing next. This could show you good understanding and initiative if he needs no prompts.

  9. #24
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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    ip setup in schools esp is not the easyist thing in the world some of the problems we have with ip setups you would not even get on most networks. like we are on swgfl so get issued ip addys and sometimes you can use *.*.*.1 dont ask why it dont work all the time. and as we are on there routers its diffrent but if you ask a few basic questions like you got cric on 10.122.81.1-126 and admin on 10 122.81.127 up andmin can see cric but cric cant see admin what subnets should you use ( apperently answer is set cric sub to 255-255-255-128 and admin on 255-255-255-0) but dont quote me on that ) that was one of my interview questions.

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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    Quote Originally Posted by alonebfg
    ip setup in schools esp is not the easyist thing in the world some of the problems we have with ip setups you would not even get on most networks. like we are on swgfl so get issued ip addys and sometimes you can use *.*.*.1 dont ask why it dont work all the time. and as we are on there routers its diffrent but if you ask a few basic questions like you got cric on 10.122.81.1-126 and admin on 10 122.81.127 up andmin can see cric but cric cant see admin what subnets should you use ( apperently answer is set cric sub to 255-255-255-128 and admin on 255-255-255-0) but dont quote me on that ) that was one of my interview questions.
    Now really, how can you expect an it tech earning a avg of £14-18k to know that sort of thing. I only know it c/o my degree and CCNA, if I hadn't done either I wouldn't know. NM, yes, but cant expect it from an ITMonkey

    Oh and HOW small is your school? not planning on having more than 126 machines?

  11. #26

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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    The test for my current job was an 'interesting' affair. I can't remember a lot about it (because of my sieve-like memory). Some of the things I can remember are:

    1. Informal situation, chatting with the existing NM while I 'worked'
    2. Access to Internet/Technet
    3. Test network of 1 'server' and 1 client
    4. Crippled NIC (dodgy static IP - should have been dynamic)
    5. Rogue entry in the hosts file stopping connection to the DC
    5. I think there was also basic user maintenance - i.e. password reset/username check

    I would definately recommend dislodging the patch cable and turning the screen brightness right down since these are common 'faults'. You should also give pointers to the candidates as you go along... you can always make a note of the pointers given so that the candidates can be compared later. Chatting to the candidates will also help you find out if you will be able to work with them for more than 5mins without wanting to throttle them!

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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    Quote Originally Posted by buzzard
    2 computers (we use laptops), a length of wire, cable making tools, user has to complete a file transfer from one computer to the other, we usually use an ISO of office. Or if you don't want them to make a cable have two, a straight patch and a x patch, then they will just need to spot the difference.

    They would then have to set up the IPs etc and share the folder and transfer the file. simple....
    Why give them such a meaning less practical 'test' as wire some cat 5?

    I've worked in in edu IT now for 5 years or so and never *had* to make my own cable! If anything if I was asked to do that at an interview - I would do it of course - but at the back of my mind I would be concerned that the school would be right for me!

    In fact I'd probably tell you to stuff the cat5 up your jacksy and assess my practical skills in something that I would be doing on a daily basis - supporting apps - Office-IE-Macromedia-CAD, WSUS, AD admin, network security and most importantly test my communication and inter-personal skills!

    I've always said practical tests are VERY LIMITED in their use. Nothing can replace being a good interviewer who can spot when someone is blagging and when someone is 'right'.

    I didn't get the highest mark in the written test for my current post - but I still got the job because I came across best at the interview and, of course, I had the experience and ability to the job.

    All of the above of course is IMHO

  13. #28

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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    A good practical test should be part of a general interview process that also has a written test, a chance for a group chat with existing staff and not forgetting the formal interview.

    Our tests are relatively progressive and go from making sure a machine works to connecting to a domain, mucking about with GPOs and even deploying software.

    The written test is a 'answer the 5 questions most appropriate to your talents' type ... with the instruction at the top of "Read all questions and instructions before answering" ... and the answer 5 questions is at the bottom. Some people might think this is a pathetic trick but I would prefer someone who will, when told that you must read some materials before progressing, will do so ... and it means I can trust them to do so before something gets seriously cocked up.

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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    A good practical test should be part of a general interview process that also has a written test, a chance for a group chat with existing staff and not forgetting the formal interview.

    Our tests are relatively progressive and go from making sure a machine works to connecting to a domain, mucking about with GPOs and even deploying software.

    The written test is a 'answer the 5 questions most appropriate to your talents' type ... with the instruction at the top of "Read all questions and instructions before answering" ... and the answer 5 questions is at the bottom. Some people might think this is a pathetic trick but I would prefer someone who will, when told that you must read some materials before progressing, will do so ... and it means I can trust them to do so before something gets seriously cocked up.
    Written / aptitude tests are far more valuable IMHO....

    but even though I believe that practical tests are limited they do, I guess, have a place but as long as they are relevant to the post applied for. I still can't see the point in asking someone to wire some a cat5 cable!

    Nobbling a PC - yes to test if people are logical and approach tasks in a measured way but again, perhaps it's just me, I really do think practical tests have a limited part of a selection process.

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    Re: What do you do for an ICT Technician Practical Test?

    just a suggestion, and i had to do this as part of my interview process. We were told what facilities the school had, and was shown around the school. Later on we were asked "based on what u have seen...... what improvement would u make to the IT around school....."

    I also had to do a written test..... with questions like,

    1)what does DHCP stand for and what does it do.
    2)What would be your backup strategy...
    3) which is the most secure out of the following protocals, HTTP, FTP, HTTPS
    4) how would u test that the network card is working on the machine....

    The practical exam was i had 4 machines and had to find the fault and get logged on

    1) Mouse and Keyboard connectors swapped
    2) Network lead just pulled out, but looks like its plugged in
    3) Monitor colour turned right down
    4) Created a mess with the network leads, plugged then from computer to computer... etc

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