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Become A Help Desk Assistant

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Working As A Help Desk Assistant

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $40,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Help Desk Assistant 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 Assistant

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 Assistant Career Paths

Help Desk Assistant
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Consultant Account Manager
Client Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Executive Assistant Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Network Administrator Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Systems Administrator Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Desktop Support Technician
Senior Desktop Support Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Technician Technical Support Technician
Senior Support Technician
5 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Technical Support Technician Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Technician Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Tutor Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Tutor Data Analyst Information Technology Consultant
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Tutor Data Analyst Senior Business Analyst
Implementation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Service Desk Analyst Service Desk Supervisor
Service Desk Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Network Technician Senior System Administrator
Help Desk Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Desktop Support Specialist Level Senior Technician
Senior Technical Support Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Computer Technician Service Desk Analyst
Incident Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Help Desk Assistant?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Help Desk Operator 3.0 years
Help Desk Leader 2.7 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.0 years
Help Desk Engineer 1.9 years
Service Desk Agent 1.8 years
Top Careers Before Help Desk Assistant
Cashier 16.1%
Internship 9.1%
Volunteer 7.5%
Assistant 4.8%
Server 3.1%
Tutor 2.7%
Waitress 2.4%
Top Careers After Help Desk Assistant
Cashier 9.8%
Internship 8.9%
Volunteer 5.3%
Assistant 4.5%
Server 4.0%
Manager 2.4%
Tutor 2.4%

Do you work as a Help Desk Assistant?

Help Desk Assistant Demographics

Gender

Male

46.1%

Female

42.5%

Unknown

11.4%
Ethnicity

White

58.5%

Hispanic or Latino

16.0%

Black or African American

12.4%

Asian

8.9%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

47.5%

French

9.8%

Japanese

6.6%

Mandarin

6.0%

Vietnamese

3.8%

Chinese

3.8%

Russian

3.3%

Hindi

2.7%

Urdu

2.7%

Arabic

2.7%

Korean

2.2%

Dari

1.6%

German

1.6%

Swahili

1.1%

Kinyarwanda

1.1%

Polish

1.1%

Swedish

0.5%

Somali

0.5%

Bosnian

0.5%

Romani

0.5%
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Help Desk Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.4%

The Academy

7.4%

Strayer University

5.6%

University of Alabama

5.1%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.6%

George Mason University

4.6%

New York University

4.2%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.2%

University of Washington

4.2%

University of Maryland - University College

4.2%

Notre Dame of Maryland University

4.2%

Southern Connecticut State University

3.7%

Ashford University

3.7%

Houston Community College

3.7%

Old Dominion University

3.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.7%

Skidmore College

3.2%

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

3.2%

Montgomery College

3.2%
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Majors

Business

19.4%

Computer Science

11.0%

Computer Information Systems

8.6%

Information Technology

8.4%

Psychology

6.1%

Nursing

4.8%

Criminal Justice

4.4%

Accounting

4.2%

General Studies

4.0%

Communication

3.7%

English

3.2%

Medical Assisting Services

3.1%

Computer Networking

2.7%

Management

2.5%

Biology

2.4%

Liberal Arts

2.4%

Kinesiology

2.3%

Health Care Administration

2.3%

Education

2.2%

Sociology

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.6%

Other

24.4%

Associate

13.6%

Masters

9.9%

Certificate

4.0%

Diploma

1.7%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.3%
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Help Desk Assistant?

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Top Skills for A Help Desk Assistant

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Technical Support
  3. Phone Calls
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided informational assistance in relation to computer software acquisition, and computer hardware concerns.
  • Provided first-level technical support for national infrastructure supporting 1,000+ employees throughout the company.
  • Assisted Customers with asset allocation and retirement account transaction through inbound/outbound phone calls.
  • Provided superior customer service and work quality while demonstrating attention to detail, flexibility and innovation in resolving problems.
  • Maintained a clean and friendly working environment to students and faculty while assisting them with trouble shooting problems.

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Top Help Desk Assistant Employers

Jobs From Top Help Desk Assistant Employers

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