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Become A Help Desk Representative

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Working As A Help Desk Representative

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $48,620

    Average Salary

What Does A Help Desk Representative 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 Representative

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 Representative jobs

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Help Desk Representative Career Paths

Help Desk Representative
Systems Administrator Operations Manager General Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Technical Support Engineer Technical Support Manager
Call Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Information Technology Specialist Senior System Administrator
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Information Technology Manager Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Director, Technical Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Specialist Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Service Desk Analyst Technical Analyst Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Support Specialist Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Systems Analyst Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Specialist Systems Engineer Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Senior System Administrator
8 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Technical Support Specialist Systems Engineer
Senior Systems Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Engineer Solutions Architect
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Analyst Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Lead Technician Technical Manager
Technical Director
7 Yearsyrs
Service Desk Analyst Desktop Support Analyst Network Administrator
Technical Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Technician Production Supervisor
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Help Desk Manager 3.3 years
Pc/Lan Analyst 3.3 years
PC Support Analyst 3.0 years
Help Desk Leader 3.0 years
Help Desk Operator 2.9 years
PC Analyst 2.7 years
Helpdesk Lead 2.5 years
Support Analyst 2.3 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Representative 2.1 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.1 years
Help Desk Engineer 1.8 years
Senior Help Desk 1.7 years
Service Desk Agent 1.7 years
Tier 1.6 years
Help Desk Agent 1.5 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 6.0%
Supervisor 2.6%
Internship 2.6%
Top Employers After
Internship 3.0%
Supervisor 2.9%

Help Desk Representative Demographics

Gender

Male

49.0%

Female

48.6%

Unknown

2.5%
Ethnicity

White

79.5%

Hispanic or Latino

10.8%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.1%

French

8.6%

Hindi

6.9%

Italian

6.9%

Mandarin

3.4%

Arabic

3.4%

Nepali

1.7%

Vietnamese

1.7%

German

1.7%

Greek

1.7%

Hebrew

1.7%
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Help Desk Representative Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

24.9%

Strayer University

8.1%

Valencia College

6.4%

University of Maryland - University College

5.2%

Kaplan University

5.2%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

4.6%

Mesa Community College - Boswell

4.0%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.0%

Ashford University

3.5%

Pennsylvania State University

3.5%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.5%

Kennesaw State University

3.5%

Columbus State Community College

3.5%

Temple University

2.9%

Webster University

2.9%

Old Dominion University

2.9%

American University

2.9%

College of DuPage

2.9%

University of Central Florida

2.9%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

2.9%
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Majors

Business

24.3%

Information Technology

11.0%

Computer Science

8.4%

Computer Information Systems

7.8%

Computer Networking

5.8%

Psychology

4.8%

Communication

3.9%

Criminal Justice

3.5%

Health Care Administration

3.5%

Electrical Engineering

3.4%

Accounting

3.3%

Management

2.8%

General Studies

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

Education

2.4%

Information Systems

2.2%

Nursing

2.0%

Medical Assisting Services

2.0%

Marketing

1.9%

Pharmacy

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.8%

Other

26.8%

Associate

17.3%

Masters

8.7%

Certificate

6.2%

Diploma

2.0%

Doctorate

0.7%

License

0.5%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills for A Help Desk Representative

CustomerServiceHelpDeskHardwareIssuesTechnicalSupportEmailTelephoneCallsPhoneCallsTroubleshootRemoteDesktopActiveDirectoryInternetExplorerResetPasswordsTechnicalIssuesSetupInboundCallsVPNWindowsXPLotusNotesDeskSupportSoftwareIssues

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Top Help Desk Representative Skills

  1. Customer Service
  2. Help Desk
  3. Hardware Issues
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Process escalations from customer service.
  • Trained new technical support representatives and acted as a resource desk for other Help Desk personnel with problems/issues when needed.
  • Rendered key assistance to foreign and domestic clients in handling software and hardware issues.
  • Provided 1st level technical support and dispatched technical support for higher maintenance activities.
  • Provided onsite as well as telephone, email, and personal requests for technical support.

Top Help Desk Representative Employers

Help Desk Representative Videos

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