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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
  • $43,000

    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 Career Paths

Desk Support Technician
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Field Service Technician Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Field Service Technician Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Network Administrator Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Support Analyst Business Analyst Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Support Analyst Network Technician Support Specialist
Senior Support Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Support Analyst Analyst Systems Analyst
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Consultant Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Consultant Information Technology Consultant
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant Senior Business Analyst
Implementation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Technical Analyst Desktop Support Analyst
Level Senior Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Technical Manager Technical Support Manager
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Specialist Service Desk Analyst Service Desk Supervisor
Service Desk Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Specialist Desktop Support Specialist
Senior Desktop Support Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Specialist Systems Engineer Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Infrastructure Analyst Technical Support Engineer Technical Support Manager
Technical Support Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Infrastructure Analyst Desktop Support Analyst Service Desk Analyst
Incident Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Systems Support 2.7 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Desk Support Technician
Technician 4.3%
Cashier 2.9%
Consultant 2.5%
Internship 2.4%
Top Careers After Desk Support Technician
Consultant 3.3%

Do you work as a Desk Support Technician?

Desk Support Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

73.6%

Female

18.0%

Unknown

8.4%
Ethnicity

White

58.7%

Hispanic or Latino

16.7%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

9.1%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.5%

Chinese

8.1%

French

8.1%

Portuguese

4.0%

German

4.0%

Mandarin

4.0%

Cantonese

3.0%

Korean

3.0%

Japanese

2.0%

Russian

2.0%

Carrier

2.0%

Polish

2.0%

Lithuanian

1.0%

Filipino

1.0%

Dakota

1.0%

Armenian

1.0%

Thai

1.0%
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Desk Support Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

24.6%

Strayer University

8.2%

University of Maryland - University College

6.0%

Western Governors University

6.0%

Colorado Technical University

4.9%

Temple University

4.4%

Grand Canyon University

4.4%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.4%

San Antonio College

3.8%

University of Pittsburgh -

3.8%

ECPI University

3.3%

Illinois Institute of Technology

3.3%

Austin Community College

3.3%

Oakland Community College

3.3%

Irvine Valley College

2.7%

Ashford University

2.7%

Pennsylvania State University

2.7%

Quinsigamond Community College

2.7%

George Mason University

2.7%

Drexel University

2.7%
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Majors

Business

15.8%

Information Technology

15.1%

Computer Information Systems

12.6%

Computer Science

11.7%

Computer Networking

8.5%

Electrical Engineering

5.7%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Computer Engineering

2.9%

Information Systems

2.7%

Communication

2.5%

Computer Technical Support

2.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.4%

Finance

2.4%

Computer Systems Security

2.2%

Management Information Systems

2.0%

Management

1.8%

Psychology

1.7%

General Studies

1.5%

Education

1.5%

Accounting

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.7%

Other

24.4%

Associate

21.3%

Masters

7.8%

Certificate

5.0%

Diploma

2.6%

Doctorate

0.2%

License

0.1%
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Top Skills for A Desk Support Technician

  1. Technical Support
  2. Computer Hardware
  3. Remote Access
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide technical support and problem-solving and administer equipment maintenance contracts and equipment inventory.
  • Maintained, analyzed, troubleshoot and repaired/replaced/ upgraded operating systems, application software, and computer hardware and peripherals.
  • Supported customers remotely through phone and using remote access tools such as Microsoft SMS utility and Timbuktu Pro.
  • Conduct training for employees on proper use of IT systems to include laptops, desktops, tablets, and cell phones.
  • Located restored files installing network printers and setting default Printer/Tracking/creating/closing all tickets via UTT System with very little Supervision.

How Would You Rate Working As a Desk Support Technician?

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