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Become A Helpdesk Computer Technician

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Working As A Helpdesk Computer Technician

  • 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 Helpdesk Computer Technician 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 Helpdesk Computer Technician

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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Helpdesk Computer Technician Jobs

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Helpdesk Computer Technician Career Paths

Helpdesk Computer Technician
Network Administrator Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Information Technology/Support Technician Information Technology Analyst Systems Administrator
Information Technology Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Information Technology Specialist Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Support Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Technical Support Specialist
Level Senior Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Specialist Network Technician Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Network Technician Information Technology Specialist
Senior Information Technology Specialist
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology/Support Technician Help Desk Analyst Support Specialist
Senior Support Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Support Analyst Systems Support Analyst Technical Support Technician
Senior Support Technician
5 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Senior Systems Engineer Technical Analyst
Senior Technical Analyst
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Technical Support Specialist
Senior Technical Support Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Information Technology Specialist Information Technology Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Network Administrator Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Support Analyst Technical Support Engineer
Technical Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Analyst Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Technician Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Helpdesk Computer Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
LAN Technician 2.7 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.1 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 2.8%
Technician 2.5%
Top Employers After

Do you work as a Helpdesk Computer Technician?

Helpdesk Computer Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

71.3%

Female

26.8%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

59.5%

Hispanic or Latino

13.8%

Black or African American

13.2%

Asian

8.4%

Unknown

5.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

34.5%

French

15.5%

Chinese

6.9%

German

5.2%

Cantonese

3.4%

Persian

3.4%

Urdu

3.4%

Arabic

3.4%

Italian

3.4%

Hindi

3.4%

Russian

1.7%

Danish

1.7%

Portuguese

1.7%

Mandarin

1.7%

Braille

1.7%

Armenian

1.7%

Malay

1.7%

Greek

1.7%

Bengali

1.7%

Uzbek

1.7%
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Helpdesk Computer Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.9%

Strayer University

11.4%

University of Maryland - University College

9.3%

Northern Virginia Community College

7.9%

American InterContinental University

7.1%

George Mason University

5.0%

ECPI University

3.6%

Webster University

3.6%

Pennsylvania State University

3.6%

University of the District of Columbia

3.6%

University of Houston

3.6%

University of Alabama

2.9%

Northeastern University

2.9%

Robert Morris University

2.9%

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

2.9%

University of Detroit Mercy

2.9%

Capella University

2.9%

Champlain College

2.1%

Norfolk State University

2.1%

Des Moines Area Community College

2.1%
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Majors

Computer Science

15.7%

Information Technology

14.8%

Computer Information Systems

14.8%

Business

13.9%

Computer Networking

6.9%

Information Systems

4.0%

Electrical Engineering

3.7%

Management Information Systems

3.6%

Communication

2.7%

Criminal Justice

2.7%

Computer Technical Support

2.2%

Management

2.1%

Computer Systems Security

2.1%

Accounting

2.1%

Computer Programming

1.9%

Education

1.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.3%

General Studies

1.3%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.3%

Computer Engineering

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.3%

Other

23.5%

Associate

19.7%

Masters

11.6%

Certificate

5.4%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.3%

Doctorate

0.2%
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Helpdesk Computer Technician?

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Top Skills for A Helpdesk Computer Technician

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  1. Computer
  2. Remote Access
  3. Technical Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Monitored the computer performance and related equipment, performing periodic maintenance and reporting problems for corrective action.
  • Assisted with installing and configuring Microsoft Applications, Remote Access Software and communication equipment for remote Microsoft employees.
  • Provided technical support and consulting services to business users of international financial systems and databases.
  • Installed, upgraded and supported desktops, laptops, networking systems, peripherals and Blackberry's for over 300 users.
  • Provided active directory user account management support, and instructional design support and content management for Blackboard/WebCT/Angel LMS.

How Would You Rate Working As a Helpdesk Computer Technician?

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