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Become A Desktop Support Specialist

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Working As A Desktop Support Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $58,920

    Average Salary

What Does A Desktop Support Specialist 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 Desktop Support Specialist

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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Desktop Support Specialist Jobs

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Desktop Support Specialist Career Paths

Desktop Support Specialist
Systems Analyst Senior Systems Engineer Senior System Administrator
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Senior Network Engineer Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Director Of Information
Director, Technical Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Project Manager
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Business Analyst Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Analyst Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer
Senior Network Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Administrator
Senior System Administrator
8 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Engineer
Senior Systems Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Sales Consultant Solution Specialist
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Desktop Engineer Systems Engineer
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Technical Director
7 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Analyst Systems Analyst Information Technology Manager
Technical Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Desktop Support Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Desktop Engineer 2.5 years
Top Employers Before
Consultant 2.6%
Technician 2.5%
Top Employers After

Do you work as a Desktop Support Specialist?

Desktop Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

85.1%

Female

13.0%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

56.1%

Hispanic or Latino

17.5%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

9.9%

Unknown

5.2%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.8%

French

5.3%

Russian

5.3%

Cheyenne

4.2%

Arabic

4.2%

Hindi

4.2%

Portuguese

3.2%

Bengali

2.1%

Cantonese

2.1%

German

2.1%

Urdu

2.1%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Somali

1.1%

Mandarin

1.1%

Korean

1.1%

Turkish

1.1%

Kurdish

1.1%

Nepali

1.1%

Braille

1.1%

Carrier

1.1%
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Desktop Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.3%

Strayer University

8.8%

Kaplan University

6.9%

University of Houston

6.6%

Northern Virginia Community College

6.6%

Western Governors University

6.1%

University of Maryland - University College

4.7%

American InterContinental University

4.1%

University of Texas at Austin

3.9%

Austin Community College

3.6%

Pace University - New York

3.3%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.3%

More Tech Institute

3.3%

George Mason University

3.0%

Prince George's Community College

2.8%

Robert Morris University

2.8%

Heald College - Central Administrative Office

2.8%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

2.8%

San Jose State University

2.8%

Boston University

2.8%
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Majors

Computer Science

15.9%

Information Technology

15.8%

Computer Information Systems

14.5%

Business

11.4%

Computer Networking

10.2%

Electrical Engineering

4.9%

Management Information Systems

3.3%

Information Systems

3.2%

Computer Technical Support

3.0%

Computer Systems Security

2.8%

Criminal Justice

2.1%

Computer Engineering

1.6%

Communication

1.6%

Management

1.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.5%

General Studies

1.4%

Computer Programming

1.4%

Education

1.4%

Computer Engineering Technology

1.3%

Liberal Arts

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.0%

Other

24.5%

Associate

19.2%

Masters

8.5%

Certificate

5.7%

Diploma

2.9%

Doctorate

0.1%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Desktop Support Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead Desktop Support Specialist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2011 $101,773
IT Desktop Support Specialist Ajilon LLC D/B/A Ajilon Consulting Washington, DC Dec 01, 2009 $53,000
Desktop Support Specialist University of Miami Coral Gables, FL Dec 01, 2010 $46,530
IT Desktop Support Specialist Ajilon LLC D/B/A Ajilon Consulting Washington, DC Dec 01, 2009 $44,500

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Top Skills for A Desktop Support Specialist

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  1. Computer
  2. Laptops
  3. Windows XP
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Ensured optimum integration and information access during computer installations.
  • Install, configure, and support desktops, laptops, virtual workstations, mobile phones, tablets and miscellaneous devices.
  • Create images of Windows XP, 7, 8 with standard software to deploy to new users.
  • Trained and mentored two new IT technicians and developed a training manual on the use of Remote Access Connection.
  • Detailed follow up with customers to verify transition satisfactory and acclimation to windows 7/MyCloud PC environment.

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Top Desktop Support Specialist Employers

Jobs From Top Desktop Support Specialist Employers

Desktop Support Specialist Videos

A Day in the Life of a Tech Support Agent

How to become a Desktop Support Technician? Careerbuilder Videos from funza Academy

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