Do You Have What it Takes to be on the Geek Squad? (Yes, You Do)

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Flipper

Let's clear something up. Typically does a Geek Squad or staples agent have no clue on what they are doing? Yeah it is true. But you can't say that about every person that works there. The other comment is if the individual does have a CS degree, chances are they don't know much about hardware / software repair. However, they would run circles around everyone in this forum when it comes to programming. That is typically what a degree in Computer Science is programming. There are spin offs and other topics that you can take but the average CS graduate will take the following classes:

Principles of Imperative Computation
Effective Programming in C and UNIX
Introduction to Computer Systems
Formal Languages, Automata, and Computability
Operating System Design and Implementation
Compiler Design
Probability Theory and Random Processes
Building Modern Applications with Python and C++
Developing Enterprise Web Applications
Computer Networking
etc...

With this in mind, everyone makes fun of those guys but if I asked you to setup a 2008 Enterprise infrastructure consisting of two domain controllers and a child domain one being a global catalog and the other being a universal group membership caching server and modify the replication schedule and make sure file scavenging takes place every 4 days can you do this? My bet is at least 60% of you have no idea what I am talking about. Or let’s consider this you work for a company where there are 5 admins. One of the admins leaves and they are pissed so upon leaving they changed the directory services password. How do you change it? I’ll give you a clue it is not to reset the admin password on one of the admin accounts or use ERD commander, etc to reset it if you can’t get in.  

Remember everyone learns something at a different pace so if working at BB is how they start then so be it. Do I acknowledge that people that take their computer’s there are typically going to get worse service than taking it to myself who has been doing this for over 10-years for a multi-billion dollar corporation and on the site? Yeah they prob will but then there are times when you do get a tech that needs side work and they are extremely knowledgeable. It is really sad but 90% of you techs think you know more than these guys when you prob don’t know much more. If you are 16 years old and made a comment raise your hand. If you hand is raised you don’t know squat.  

 

 

 

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gendoikari1

Average upgrade procedure at Future Shop:

What I wanted: 2GB DDR2-800 to 4GB DDR2-800 (1 extra 2GB stick) 

What it would usually take: really short while

How long it took: the entire weekend

Normal aftereffects: none, provided you did it right (it only goes in one way)

Actual aftereffects: Hard drive wiped

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justinmc

This isn't the "Geek Squad A+ Certification Exam". This is the certification that everyone even remotely associated with computers at Best Buy has to take - which means the bottom feeders as well as the gurus.

Granted, you all are probably going to ignore this fact and masturbate to your own perceived awesomeness, much like you all ignore the fact that there are good techs and bad techs everywhere.

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gendoikari1

Do this: go to your average big-box electronics retailer (Future Shop is even worse than Best Buy), and ask for WOM (Write-Only Memory). See if the guy at "Geek" Squad/equivalent either notices the joke (competent) or proceeds to look around the back (never get tech support from there).

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Trooper_One

They need to stop calling themselves 'geeks'..  It is an insult to the genuinely smart folks and computer techs alike.

Best Buy's GS needs a name change to: Sell U Crappy Knockouts Assholes (SUCKASS)

I hope on day they will get sue for the frauds they've committed.

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ready4war

Goodone!!!!!!!!!!!!

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DBsantos77

That's genious, SUCKASS.

"There's something wrong with my PC, I think it has a virus."

"Okay ma'am, just bring it here to SUCKASS, we'll juice you for the little cash you have and do a half-ass job."

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vistageek

With their track record, I wouldn't expect their exam to be difficult. A local computer repairman once told me this, "yeah...I could get my A+ cert, but that would be like a doctor getting his CPR card." So true.

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patrickmaher

Don't be fooled into thinking this is the A+ exam. This is just a cheat sheet in disguise. Comptia would not be happy if Geek Squad handed their employees a list of test questions and answers. This is a way for them to get around that. The absurdly wrong answers tell the employee which answer is correct so they can memorize it.

There are some extremly easy questions on the A+ but the majority are no where near this easy. You actually need to have begining computer tech knowledge or study and learn to pass. It's always possible to cheat and pass with no knowledge, which sadly many people do.

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Devo85x

that question could be considered to not have enough info to answer correctly, I know they want the third answer (add more RAM) but if you consider that they dont tell you what the system is.. if you are looking at a X58 system with 6gb of ram, but they dont have a 64Bit OS (dumber things have happened...) then it wont matter if you add more ram... and even if you have a 64Bit OS, if you upgrade from 6GB (assuming 3, 2GB sticks) to 8GB, you will take a hit in bandwidth since you are going from tri-channel to dual-channel, and if you go from 6GB (again, 3 sticks) to 12GB, you will take a hit in latency, slowing your performance slightly... I guess the person who made it didn't think of that...

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vistageek

The person making the test prolly isn't any smarter than the one taking the test.

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imperium999

How else am I supposed to work my way into a spy job with a hot blonde?

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n0ctis

 Chuck reference ftw.

________________________________________________________________
.: vires et honos :.

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downlinx

This is great, awhile back i interview with them and the manager himself told me i was over qualified and that I was more over qualified than he was.  Thank God, i am working for a hospital.  They dont give us TECH's a bad name they just make us look better, because we dont have to scratch our head and go to google to look up the diff. between ddr and ddr2 memroy is.

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nekollx

 to be fair can YOU name the difference between DDR and DDR2? Besides looking at the label and mother board and saying "un that DDR while the mobo is DDR2 they arent compatible" But can you offthe top of your head list the architecural differences between the 2?

------------------------------
Coming soon to Lulu.com --Tokusatsu Heroes--
Five teenagers, one alien ghost, a robot, and the fate of the world.

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chaosdsm

Long story short, I went to BB to buy some DDR2 RAM for a customer's PC, somehow a stick of DDR3 wound up in a DDR2 package, I noticed it due to the position of the index pin.  I tried to point it out so that someone else wouldn't get the wrong RAM,  but the GS guy swore up & down it was DDR2 till I showed him a couple of DDR2 sticks & pointed out the placement of the index pin on them compared to the DDR3. 

Point is, you don't have to know the architectural differences, but you should know the physical differences. 

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I Jedi

Well said, champ! Geek Squad is an embarrassment to the entire geek/nerd community. Imo, the best tech shops, as many point out, are the Mom & Pop shops.

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chocobo

This is a little off topic, but I build/fix/upgrade computers on a regular basis so I'm fairly knowledgeable when it comes to this stuff. 

I recently took some IT classes in college and they were teaching us about parts from Pentium III computers. I could be wrong but I think the section on how the printer cable worked used a dot matrix printer in the example... and this is not at a failure of a college either. I haven't tried for any certifications yet but if that stuff is actually on the test I might actually have a little trouble with it. 

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Devo85x

I hope I dont get in trouble for saying this... but when I took A+, there were easy questions like, (this is not an exact quote, so it wont be considered removing test material) what do you call a system with 2 graphics cards, but there were dumb ones that had typos like, how do you copy a file to internet explorer... (it ment to say windows explorer)

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yourfriendlane

It's not totally crazy, as at least half the hardware you handle out in the field in this line of work is legacy hardware. Besides, there's not THAT much difference between PIII-era hardware and today's.

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globot

It's interesting how everyone generalizes a statement about an entire corporation based on one or two lousy experiences. Yes, while first impressions are critical, I don't think it's fair to say the entire population fo employees is just "moronic" and "idiotic". There's always going to be bad eggs, no matter if you've got a PhD in Computer Science Engineering and work for NASA, you may just as well lack the common sense of any of the stories you people have mentioned above.

I know from personal experience that not all Geek Squad's employees are idiots or lack any technical background. I've got a friend who's got a BS in CS and he'll be there to tell you if your hard drive is bad, or if a cable is disconnected somewhere. And half the time, if it's something he can fix in under 5 minutes, he won't charge.

I promise you that not every person in Geek Squad is a bad egg. You just have to look past the ones that are.

Also, the reason Geek Squad is still around is because there's a good chunk of people who aren't like us, reading countless articles online and in the periodicals about how to fix, build, and troubleshoot pcs. They just don't have the time. So they take it there (due to high amounts of media and often times referral). So keep that in mind as well. 

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jwalch.hawk

I mostly agree with you - lots of these are stories are just anecdotes about one bad employee or maybe even one bad store.  Even if you considered a hundred of them there's no evidence that the vast majority which we HAVEN'T heard anything about are fine.  Nonetheless, the article is just about the pathetic qualifications required (it's commenters that decided it needed to become a sounding board for bad GS experiences).  I haven't seen the latest edition of the CompTIA certification discussed in the article, but past renditions were pretty laughable.

It's true that you can get idiots in any field, but with appropriate requirements you weed more of them out.  I think the big issue here is that the exam isn't really adequate for what most of us expect a computer technician to do.  Yeah, yeah, I know a huge percentage of moronic consumers out there need the Geek Squad to install Windows for them...  But they're marketed as computer technicians pretty much, so I don't think it's unfair to expect a reasonable level of technical knowledge (even if most people don't require that).

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lostcause64

I used to be Geek Squad, though I started before they adopted the Geek Squad brand, and got in there the hard way... by reading MaxPC and learning to do it myself.

Unfortunately, so many wannabe Techs see Geek Squad as a launching point to get into the IT profession, but they have no real skills, inspite of a degree or two. Had to work with one guy that claimed two degrees in Computer Sciences, still I had to show him how to run a defrag on an HP made Windows XP system and how to install extra RAM in it... But he'd always brag about his degrees...

It was so bad, that we finally pushed though some interview questions so that we could avoid any more of those guys. Our favorite was "What kind of computer do you own?", and if we got something like "It's an HP.", instead of "It's an (proc), with (amount of ram), ect...", then we'd just pass on him. It was meant to check if the person knew his hardware that they owned, instead of someone bringing nothing to the table, like the guy with the degrees and it was only in the store I worked in. It didn't last, because BB wanted more salesmen and fewer actual knowledgeable techs, and I had to get out of there after over 4 years, but it did have the value of being good experience. Even if it was kind of like trial by fire, times 1000...

John

Have you ever wondered why intelligence can normally be found in an individual, but runs screaming in terror from a group? Though, there are exceptions...

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jwalch.hawk

Not that I'm condoning how people often flaunt degrees, but a degree in Computer Science isn't really a great qualification for repair work.  It's sad, because the average person would *definitely* assume a person with a Bachelor's in CS would know everything about computers and it's pretty clear from some comments here that even some of us also have that wrong idea.  The fact of the matter is that the major does not necessarily prepare you for this type of work (and as far as I'm concerned, that's not a problem).

A CS major is typically more focused on the software half of the equation, and there is often a strong focus on concept and theory than with specific applications.  In other words, someone with a CS degree might not be able to tell you the specific way to do something in Windows, but they probably know at a pretty low level what the details of the stuff going on is.  Generally speaking computer engineering is considered to be more hardware-focused.  Of course, being as how that's an engineering degree, those folks are way overqualified for Geek Squad (and other similar jobs) and are seeking higher pay professional careers.

Honestly, if Best Buy was smart they'd start looking for folks with two-year degrees or certifications from community colleges that offer training programs in this sort of repair work.  Those folks have the most hands-on experience (among the formally educated, that is) with current hardware and software.  It's not all that different from with cars, really.  Do I want someone with a PhD in physics repairing my car?  I mean, in theory, they know all the details of what's going on, right?  But no...  Most mechanics don't have a four-year degree (as far as I'm aware, the norm is a two-year technical training).  Just goes to show you that more education doesn't make you better qualified to perform all jobs that could possibly relate to the field.

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valtonray

this is great. i've got a sudden urge to go apply for a job just so i can tell the manager he's an idiot before walking out.

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Caboose

 same here. I'd do the interview for shits and giggles

 

-= I don't want to be dead, I want to be alive! Or... a cowboy! =-

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jwalch.hawk

So what's the news item here?  Geek Squad is generally lousy?  That's old news.  The CompTIA A+ Certification is a joke?  That's also old news - that test has been around for years with new editions periodically.  Is it that we finally discovered what the qualification requirement for them was?  Frankly, I'm surprised that there's actually a formal certification requirement at all, even if it is a joke cert.

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Devo85x

they changed the test again last year and made it so you have to get a little over 200 points higher than what you did have to, (you origonally needed somewhere in the 500s, now you need in the 700s....) it still isnt that hard though, Network+ is MUCH harder though :(

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knopix

I had an interview a month ago and they told me I was over qualified  i have to many certification A +, Network + and Linux+ and because my main experience was  fixing PC on me own it was a conflict of interest.

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yourfriendlane

My favorite "wtf" moment I've ever had with Geek Squad was when I overheard a guy ask for a new video card for his laptop. The GS guy goes over to the videocard aisle, stands there looking for a minute with a confused look on his face, then hands the guy a full-sized Radeon 4870.

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dag1992

Over on Gizmodo one person commented an even worse but sadly funny story.  He was apparently looking for an SLI bridge connector, pretty mundane right?  To his dismay the guy at the counter said he didn't know where the SLI Bridge was.  Brilliant people indeed.

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Devo85x

Only difference was it was at my local ComputersPLUS, not Best Buy... The exact conversation went like this...

 *I enter and walk up to the counter*

CompomputersPLUS Guy:  "Can I help you?"

Me:  "Yeah, do you carry SLI bridges?"

ComputersPLUS Guy: "a bridge?"

Me: "Yeah... a SLI bridge...?"

*Guy looks at me confused for a second...*

ComputersPLUS Guy: "There isn't anything called that..."

*I leave pissed off, not wanting to argue...*

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ready4war

the GS guy is an Dumbass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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comptech08

O WOW.  I hope the guy did not buy it.  Thats bad.  With all the bad rep Geek Squad gets and all of the failed undercover tests done to them, how come they are allowed to still do business? :\

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weaslem32

These bozos give all of us real Computer Technicians a bad name. The only reason this department was ever developed was to bring in large amounts of cash from people who know very little about the technical side of computers. This is criminal behavior.

metropolis has you.

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big_montana

Actually, Geek Squad used to be a stand alone company that provided very good serivce. Than Best Buy decided to see what they could do to totally screw them up and figured out the best way to do this was to purchase them. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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u217946

WAAAAOO, amazing.......what kind of "tech's" are these can we even call them "Tech's"......this makes me question how many people have fallen to their missjudgments  and spent $100's or maybe even $1,000’s of dollars on simpleproblems like what these people could of fixed right away instead of making half ass and stupid judgments. Sad very sad…a multimillion dollar company and this is whatthey have to offer to their customers. Very, very sad

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gendoikari1

Urk. Double post.

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gendoikari1

Whenever my father's laptop runs slow, he decides to reinstall Windows to make it "unclogged". Keep in mind, it also has only 256 MB RAM.

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dag1992

And to think I actually considered working there.  I'm overqualified for once...

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mattman059

A friend of mine was applying to work at Geek Squad because he had connections (easy way in). Well his friend set him up with an interview and the first question my friend was asked was "What do you do if a customer asks for a memory upgrade" and my friend being a little knowledgable replied that he would ask the customer what kind of motherboard they had (if they knew) or what kind of ram they were currently using. Well the manager replied that he was totally wrong and that he should only offer ram that was on sale, regardless of the customers needs...Bewildered my friend asked the manager "what if they RAM types do not match?" referring to DDR, DDR2, SODIMM and others...and the manager replied.."Oh it doesnt really matter, they're all the same"..

Yeah..you try fitting a 240pin stick into a 200pin hole and see if you dont have problems.

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Pentium 0

Thats terrible... Probably hopes the consumers will get frustrated and buy a new pc instead.

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AntiHero

Yeah i know of stuff like that happening. They typically want to offer whats on sale. I know someone who went there and applied and they were asked by the interviewer "what do you do if a cusomer comes to you asking about a ticking sound from their computer that is out of warranty" and of course the answer is check the hard drive for ticking, most likely it is, so next case is to get what hard drive they need. They were told it was incorrect, that you were supposed to try and offer them a new machine or to send that one to the factory. My friend told them that was the most expensive an silly course of action because they can buy a hard drive for less than it would cost to send it away outside of warranty. I've found that best buy's geek squad won't actually do anything for you. I bought a laptop, harddrive failed on the first model, i replaced it for the same model, and that one also failed. I took it back, knowing full well i could fix it, but i shouldn't have had to after 4 months from being out of the factory and used. I got it out of box, so it wasn't like it was in the display area. They turned it on, read the error and told me i needed a new machine. I looked at him bluntly and said "you do realize that's ONLY a hard drive error" and he persisted to argue me. Eventually i just went to NCIX and got an awesome 320gb 2.5" Seagate gforce drive. Deadly silent and stays pretty cool...best laptop drive ever. 

I don't like Microsoft, I associate with it.

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nekollx

 you know this makes me question the velidity of the Geeks on Call our offices uses for bugs I can't fix.

Though i will admit the GoC have solved the problems most of the times (like deep rooted virues) and recomended good sofhtwere (ESAT Nod 32)

 

What's the verdict on Geeks On Call?

------------------------------
Coming soon to Lulu.com --Tokusatsu Heroes--
Five teenagers, one alien ghost, a robot, and the fate of the world.

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big_montana

They usually get good reviews, but are only as good as the technicians running the local franchise. yes, they are a franchise operation and you can purchase your own GOC franchise if you wish.

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