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Become A Help Desk Engineer

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Working As A Help Desk Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $56,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Help Desk Engineer 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 Engineer

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 Engineer Career Paths

Help Desk Engineer
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 Manager Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Systems Engineer Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Network Administrator Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Field Engineer Technical Support Specialist
Level Senior Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Engineer Test Engineer Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Engineer Systems Analyst
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Engineer Systems Engineer Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Consultant Information Technology Consultant
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Senior Systems Engineer Senior System Administrator
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Infrastructure Analyst Service Desk Analyst
Service Desk Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Support Analyst
Senior Support Analyst
6 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Help Desk Specialist Support Specialist
Senior Support Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Information Technology/Support Technician
Senior Support Technician
5 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Administrator Service Desk Analyst
Incident Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Administrator Network Consultant Infrastructure Analyst
Senior Desktop Support Technician
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Help Desk Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Help Desk Operator 3.0 years
Systems Support 2.7 years
Help Desk Engineer 2.0 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Help Desk Engineer
Technician 3.1%
Internship 2.5%
Top Careers After Help Desk Engineer

Do you work as a Help Desk Engineer?

Help Desk Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

74.0%

Female

19.0%

Unknown

7.0%
Ethnicity

White

57.3%

Hispanic or Latino

15.5%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

9.7%

Unknown

5.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

33.3%

Russian

16.7%

Carrier

11.1%

Arabic

11.1%

Swahili

5.6%

Berber

5.6%

Chinese

5.6%

Japanese

5.6%

French

5.6%
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Help Desk Engineer Education

Schools

Strayer University

13.5%

University of Phoenix

11.2%

University of Maryland - University College

6.7%

George Mason University

6.7%

Robert Morris University

5.6%

Pittsburgh Technical Institute

5.6%

University of the District of Columbia

4.5%

Miami Dade College

4.5%

Webster University

4.5%

TESST College of Technology - Alexandria

3.4%

Central Texas College

3.4%

Bowie State University

3.4%

Saint John's University - New York

3.4%

Liberty University

3.4%

Georgia State University

3.4%

ITT Technical Institute-Canton

3.4%

Austin Community College

3.4%

Florida International University

3.4%

Keiser University

3.4%

ITT Technical Institute-Norwood (Massachusetts)

3.4%
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Majors

Computer Science

17.7%

Computer Information Systems

14.5%

Business

13.3%

Information Technology

12.8%

Computer Networking

6.1%

Information Systems

5.2%

Electrical Engineering

4.4%

Communication

2.9%

Criminal Justice

2.7%

Computer Engineering

2.7%

Education

2.2%

Management

2.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.0%

Management Information Systems

2.0%

Computer Applications

2.0%

Computer Technical Support

1.7%

Computer Programming

1.5%

Graphic Design

1.5%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.5%

Photography

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.1%

Other

22.3%

Associate

18.9%

Masters

11.0%

Certificate

4.1%

Diploma

2.9%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.2%
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Top Skills for A Help Desk Engineer

  1. Technical Support
  2. Network Printers
  3. Active Directory
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Organize, prioritize and assist with daily technical support in organizations with different support requirements.
  • Support local and network printers as well network equipment including but not limited to switches, modems, routers and firewalls.
  • Support Active Directory to mainframe applications.
  • Interfaced with in-house customer service and user setup personnel to determine solutions.
  • Provide support for remote employees and general troubleshooting/resolution and perform limited system engineer duties including PC and server configuration

How Would You Rate Working As a Help Desk Engineer?

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