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Become A Help Desk Agent

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Working As A Help Desk Agent

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $87,792

    Average Salary

What Does A Help Desk Agent 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 Help Desk Agent

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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Help Desk Agent Jobs

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Help Desk Agent Career Paths

Help Desk Agent
Help Desk Analyst Systems Analyst Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Computer Technician Technician Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Technical Support Specialist
Help Desk Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Help Desk Specialist Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Field Engineer Technical Support Specialist
Information Technology Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Network Technician Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Network Technician Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Support Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Technical Support Specialist
Level Senior Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Operations Manager Branch Manager
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Technician Account Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Computer Technician Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Front Desk Agent Service Representative Technical Support Technician
Senior Support Technician
5 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Information Technology Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Specialist Help Desk Manager
Service Desk Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Analyst Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Specialist Network Administrator Technical Support Engineer
Technical Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Systems Engineer Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Front Desk Agent Security Officer Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Help Desk Agent?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Help Desk Operator 2.8 years
Help Desk Leader 2.7 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.1 years
Help Desk Agent 2.0 years
Service Desk Agent 1.7 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 8.4%
Teller 3.8%
Internship 3.5%
Agent 3.5%
Manager 2.5%
Top Employers After
Teller 3.3%
Cashier 3.1%
Agent 2.7%
Consultant 2.7%

Do you work as a Help Desk Agent?

Help Desk Agent Demographics

Gender

Male

51.3%

Female

46.4%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

61.0%

Hispanic or Latino

15.5%

Black or African American

12.5%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.9%

Portuguese

9.2%

German

9.2%

French

7.9%

Hindi

2.6%

Mandarin

2.6%

Bulgarian

1.3%

Nepali

1.3%

Chinese

1.3%

Luxembourgish

1.3%

Wolof

1.3%

Romanian

1.3%

Dutch

1.3%

Japanese

1.3%

Carrier

1.3%

Urdu

1.3%

Arabic

1.3%
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Help Desk Agent Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

24.4%

ECPI University

5.6%

Valencia College

5.6%

Kaplan University

5.6%

Strayer University

5.0%

Southern New Hampshire University

5.0%

Ashford University

4.4%

Salt Lake Community College

4.4%

Sinclair Community College

4.4%

Georgia State University

3.8%

University of West Georgia

3.8%

Austin Community College

3.8%

Troy University

3.1%

University of South Florida

3.1%

Temple University

3.1%

Webster University

3.1%

University of Memphis

3.1%

Capella University

3.1%

Illinois Central College

3.1%

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

2.5%
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Majors

Business

21.8%

Computer Information Systems

11.6%

Information Technology

9.8%

Computer Science

8.6%

Computer Networking

5.8%

Psychology

5.5%

Communication

4.6%

Criminal Justice

3.7%

Health Care Administration

3.0%

General Studies

2.9%

Accounting

2.9%

Management

2.8%

Electrical Engineering

2.5%

Information Systems

2.5%

Nursing

2.1%

Education

2.1%

Medical Assisting Services

2.1%

Computer Systems Security

2.1%

Computer Technical Support

1.9%

Graphic Design

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

34.8%

Other

27.7%

Associate

21.7%

Masters

8.1%

Certificate

3.9%

Diploma

2.8%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.4%
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Help Desk Agent?

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Top Skills for A Help Desk Agent

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  1. Computer
  2. Technical Support
  3. Remote Access
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Applied computer software/hardware/networking skills and Help Desk resources to diagnose and resolve U.S. Navy personnel computer issues which improved operational efficiency.
  • Provided Tier-Two technical support at Help Desk for Louisiana Pacific Corporation.
  • Utilized remote access management tools, such as SMS to troubleshoot, isolate problems, as well as installation of software.
  • Maintained customer data integrity Enhance customer service satisfaction through calls, reporting and visits to foster customer relationships.
  • Answered phone calls from users and created tickets, solved problems, and escalated the ticket to the proper analyst.

How Would You Rate Working As a Help Desk Agent?

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Top Help Desk Agent Employers

Jobs From Top Help Desk Agent Employers

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A Day In The Life of Help Desk

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