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Department of Geography

IT services at GIUZ: a look behind the scenes

For us users, everything runs smoothly at GIUZ. We have access to our emails and data from anywhere in the world, the IT infrastructure for our courses is up and running. But who is actually behind it? Roya Soleymani Kohler talks about her work as part of the IT team at GIUZ.

Roya Soleymani Kohler

Felix Morsdorf: What is your work, what are you responsible for?

Roya Soleymani Kohler: I am part of the IT team at GIUZ. We work with a flat hierarchy, I like that. I help with a wide range of IT and computer related requirements and problems. You might be familiar with our ticket system. One is opened with every e-mail request to The tickets are then (self-)assigned within our team based on competences and availability and are worked upon until the problem is solved or the requirement is met. In addition, I make preparations for GIUZ courses that require IT infrastructure. And if you need new hardware or software, get in touch before ordering it yourself. We have negotiated special conditions with many suppliers.

What is your background?

I did my Matura equivalent school degree in Teheran, Iran and came to Switzerland in 1984. This was the birth-year of the Macintosh Computer! After a one-year preparatory course, I studied 2 years electrical engineering and one year physics at ETHZ and UZH. My studies were in a time when informatics was becoming more and more relevant, both for research and everyday life. People with specialized know-how in that domain were sought after. I always liked problem-solving oriented work. This led me to a position at the ETH in the Information Technology and Electrical Engineering Department.

How does a typical working day look like?

It depends a lot on whether we are in the semester or in the weeks before, when we have to set up GIUZ accounts for 160 students, for example. But generally, I start by logging in and having a look at the ticketing systems to see which ones are most urgent and which I can solve with my skillset and competences. We strive for short response times for our tickets. But not all problems can be solved within our team, some need of course cooperation with users and/or the central IT of UZH.

Roya Soleymani Kohler

What do you like about your work at our department?

It never gets boring, one can always learn new things. I like to do my part to make the GIUZ work as a whole. It is rewarding to hear that something works after you have provided a potential solution to a problem. In addition, I like the open way of communication within GIUZ and I encourage constructive criticism. However, during the pandemic it was more difficult to maintain the informal exchange of information. I always encourage PhD and MSc students to also asks peers and mentors for help with IT problems. 

What do you like to do after your work?

I like to try international cooking recipes and go for long walks, as long as the topography is not too steep. I used to ride motorcycles and did long bike tours all over Europe. In addition – as it corresponds to the cliché for someone working in IT – I really like to read science fiction novels.

What are your plans for the future?

One of the particular topics relevant in the future will be the integration of GIUZ and UZH IT. I strive to help make the processes seamless and hassle-free for users. In general, I think about how I can be most helpful. Apart from that, I live in the here and now. 

Felix Morsdorf

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Some lights never go out.

Servers at GIUZ, the electronic backbone of everyday research, teaching and administration.

Picture: Patrick Marchi

GIUZ IT Support