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Become A Desk Support Technician

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Working As A Desk Support Technician

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $48,620

    Average Salary

What Does A Desk Support Technician Do

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Some, called computer network support specialists, support information technology (IT) employees within their organization. Others, called computer user support specialists, assist non-IT users who are having computer problems.

Duties

Computer network support specialists typically do the following:

  • Test and evaluate existing network systems
  • Perform regular maintenance to ensure that networks operate correctly
  • Troubleshoot local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Internet systems

Computer network support specialists, also called technical support specialists, usually work in their organization’s IT department. They help IT staff analyze, troubleshoot, and evaluate computer network problems. They play an important role in the routine maintenance of their organization’s networks such as performing file backups on the network. Maintenance can be performed daily, weekly, or monthly and is important to an organization’s disaster recovery efforts. Solving an IT problem promptly is important because organizations depend on their network systems. Network support specialists may assist the organization’s computer users through phone, email, or in-person visits. They often work under network and computer systems administrators, who handle more complex tasks.

Computer user support specialists typically do the following:

  • Pay attention to customers’ descriptions of their computer problems
  • Ask customers questions to properly diagnose the problem
  • Walk customers through the recommended problem-solving steps
  • Set up or repair computer equipment and related devices
  • Train users to work with new computer hardware or software, such as printers, word-processing software, and email
  • Provide other team members and managers in the organization with information about what gives customers the most trouble and about other concerns customers have

Computer user support specialists, also called help-desk technicians, usually provide technical help to non-IT computer users. They respond to phone and email requests for help. They can usually help users remotely, but they also may make site visits so that they can solve a problem in person.

Help-desk technicians may solve a range of problems that vary with the industry and the particular firm. Some technicians work for large software companies or for support service firms and must give instructions to business customers on how to use business-specific programs such as an electronic health records program used in hospitals or physicians’ offices. Sometimes they work with other technicians to resolve problems.

Other help-desk technicians work in call centers, answering simpler questions from non-business customers. They may walk customers through basic steps in re-establishing an Internet connection or troubleshooting household IT products such as a Wi-Fi router.

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How To Become A Desk Support Technician

Because of the wide range of skills used in different computer support jobs, there are many paths into the occupation. A bachelor’s degree is required for some computer support specialist positions, but an associate’s degree or postsecondary classes may be enough for others.

Education

Education requirements for computer support specialists vary. Computer user support specialist jobs require some computer knowledge, but not necessarily a postsecondary degree. Applicants who have taken some computer-related classes are often qualified. For computer network support specialists, many employers accept applicants with an associate’s degree, although some prefer applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

Large software companies that provide support to business users who buy their products or services often require a bachelor’s degree. Positions that are more technical are likely to require a degree in a field such as computer science, engineering, or information science, but for others, the applicant’s field of study is less important.

To keep up with changes in technology, many computer support specialists continue their education throughout their careers.

Certification

Certification programs are generally offered by vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates the knowledge of and best practices required by computer support specialists. Companies may require their computer support specialists to hold certifications in the products the companies use.

Advancement

Many computer support specialists advance to other information technology positions, such as network and computer systems administrators and software developers. Some become managers in the computer support services department. Some organizations provide paths for support specialists to move into other parts of the organization, such as sales. For more information, see the profiles on network and computer systems administrators and software developers.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Computer support specialists must be patient and sympathetic. They must often help people who are frustrated with the software or hardware they are trying to use.

Listening skills. Support workers must be able to understand the problems that their customers are describing and know when to ask questions to clarify the situation.

Problem-solving skills. Support workers must identify both simple and complex computer problems, analyze them, and solve them.

Speaking skills. Support workers must describe the solutions to computer problems in a way that a nontechnical person can understand.

Writing skills. Strong writing skills are useful for preparing instructions and email responses for employees and customers, as well as real-time web chat interactions.

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Desk Support Technician jobs

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Desk Support Technician Career Paths

Desk Support Technician
Information Technology Consultant Senior System Administrator
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Technical Manager Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Information Technology Consultant Director Of Information
Director, Technical Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology/Support Technician Information Technology Technician Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Engineer Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Systems Engineer Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Network Administrator
Senior Network Administrator
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer
Senior Network Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Senior System Administrator
8 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Help Desk Specialist Network Administrator
Senior Systems Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Business Development Manager Solution Specialist
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Technical Director
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology/Support Technician Information Technology Specialist Information Technology Manager
Technical Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
LAN Analyst 3.4 years
Pc/Lan Analyst 3.3 years
Computer Analyst 3.3 years
Systems Support 3.1 years
Network Technician 3.1 years
PC Support Analyst 3.0 years
Help Desk Leader 3.0 years
Help Desk Operator 2.9 years
Bench Technician 2.8 years
MIS Technician 2.7 years
LAN Technician 2.7 years
PC Analyst 2.7 years
Desktop Engineer 2.6 years
Technician 2.6 years
Helpdesk Lead 2.5 years
On-Site Technician 2.4 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Support Analyst 2.3 years
Computer Assistant 2.2 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.1 years
Server Technician 2.1 years
Support Associate 2.0 years
Support 2.0 years
POS Technician 1.9 years
Help Desk Engineer 1.8 years
Service Desk Agent 1.7 years
Student Technician 1.6 years
Imac Technician 1.6 years
Tier 1.6 years
Junior Technician 1.6 years
Help Desk Agent 1.5 years
Dell Technician 1.3 years
Top Employers Before
Technician 4.5%
Consultant 2.1%
Top Employers After
Technician 2.9%

Desk Support Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

79.7%

Female

18.6%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

76.3%

Hispanic or Latino

11.8%

Asian

8.4%

Unknown

2.5%

Black or African American

1.1%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

54.8%

French

6.5%

Chinese

5.4%

Mandarin

5.4%

German

4.3%

Portuguese

3.2%

Cantonese

3.2%

Japanese

3.2%

Russian

2.2%

Carrier

2.2%

Korean

2.2%

Lithuanian

1.1%

Filipino

1.1%

Igbo

1.1%

Tagalog

1.1%

Polish

1.1%

Thai

1.1%

Italian

1.1%
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Desk Support Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

24.5%

Strayer University

7.8%

Colorado Technical University

6.8%

Northern Virginia Community College

6.8%

University of Maryland - University College

5.2%

Tennessee State University

4.2%

University of Houston

4.2%

Western Governors University

4.2%

American InterContinental University

3.6%

Austin Community College

3.6%

Kaplan University

3.6%

ECPI University

3.1%

Temple University

3.1%

Quinsigamond Community College

3.1%

Capella University

3.1%

Irvine Valley College

2.6%

Henry Ford College

2.6%

University of Cincinnati

2.6%

Ashford University

2.6%

Montgomery College

2.6%
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Majors

Information Technology

16.0%

Computer Information Systems

15.1%

Computer Science

13.5%

Business

13.4%

Computer Networking

7.8%

Electrical Engineering

4.9%

Criminal Justice

3.1%

Information Systems

2.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.7%

Computer Technical Support

2.5%

Computer Systems Security

2.4%

Management

2.3%

Management Information Systems

2.2%

Communication

2.2%

Computer Engineering

1.9%

General Studies

1.7%

Computer Programming

1.5%

Liberal Arts

1.4%

Computer Applications

1.4%

Marketing

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.7%

Other

25.3%

Associate

22.3%

Masters

7.5%

Certificate

5.0%

Diploma

2.1%

Doctorate

0.1%
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Top Skills for A Desk Support Technician

ComputerHardwareRemoteDesktopLaptopComputersActiveDirectoryNetworkPrintersPhoneCallsTechnicalSupportTroubleshootWindowsXPEmailCustomerServiceSetupVPNInternetExplorerHelpDeskOSSoftwareIssuesPCSDeskSideSupportMac

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Top Desk Support Technician Skills

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Remote Desktop
  3. Laptop Computers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Perform troubleshooting and support of approximately 1,200 applications, computer hardware and peripheral devices.
  • Provide remote assistance with Remote Tools and Remote Desktop Client.
  • Imaged, installed, troubleshoot desktop and laptop computers.
  • Migrated users to Active Directory during the deployment project and provided remote support via PC Anywhere.
  • Participate in special projects such as equipment moves, repair/maintenance of network printers, computers, and peripherals.

Top Desk Support Technician Employers

Desk Support Technician Videos

A Day In The Life of Help Desk

What do help desk technicians do?

A Day in the Life of a Sinclair User Support Technician

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