Q&A with Rana Khizar, Senior Systems Engineer at OPEXUS

May 30, 2024
/ #News

Get to know Rana as we chat with him about his role and beyond.  

Q: Can you tell us about your background and how you got into IT? 

A: Ever since middle school and high school, IT has been my passion. I was hands-on with configurating computer systems and learning on my own. I pursued my Bachelor of Information Systems at UMBC.  My work has ranged from helpdesk tasks, like setting up new laptops, to configuring new servers, networking, managing IPs, doing DNS configurations, and basically ensuring the technology runs smoothly. I began my career as a desktop analyst in 2019, handling service desk calls and client software configurations. Then I moved to a Tier 1 help desk role at the Department of Treasury as a contractor for hardware and software issues. I started as a system administrator, then progressed to a system engineer, and now I’m a senior system engineer.

Q: What does it take to succeed in your role or field, especially for those beginning their careers? 

A: You need to be eager to learn new technology and excited to face different challenges. You have to implement, configure, and upgrade systems, and be ready to jump in and troubleshoot when something breaks. Understanding the environment, being able to detect and troubleshoot issues effectively, and having a proactive approach are key to success. 

Q: What is one lesson you learned from your first job that you will remember forever? 

A: Always take your time, even under pressure, and pay attention to the details. Rushing increases the chance of missing small things that can lead to big problems. For example, during my first or second week, I missed an important email because I was in a rush – I’ll never forget it and now I pay much more attention to detail. 

Q: What’s the best thing about your job title? 

A: I love technology and working on the back end. This role fits me perfectly because it’s very hands-on and technical, keeping me engaged and involved in the intricacies of IT. 

Q: What’s the best thing about working at OPEXUS? 

A: The welcoming and open environment. I can approach any department and discuss issues freely. The open-door policy makes it easy to engage and collaborate with colleagues across all teams. 

Q: If you had to work without getting paid, what would you choose to do? 

A: I would pursue becoming a cybersecurity Subject Matter Expert (SME). I’d love to move into a cloud cybersecurity analyst role and deepen my knowledge in cybersecurity. 

Q: What was your favorite electronic toy from childhood? 

A: I was obsessed with my brother’s Compaq desktop computer with a state-of-the-art Pentium III processor, from 2001!

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