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Become A Service Desk Specialist

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Working As A Service Desk Specialist

  • 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 Service Desk Specialist 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 Service Desk Specialist

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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Service Desk Specialist jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Systems Specialist 4.2 years
Computer Analyst 3.3 years
MIS Specialist 3.3 years
Systems Support 3.1 years
PC Support Analyst 3.0 years
Help Desk Leader 3.0 years
Help Desk Operator 2.9 years
MIS Technician 2.7 years
LAN Technician 2.7 years
PC Analyst 2.7 years
Helpdesk Lead 2.5 years
Specialist 2.5 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Support Analyst 2.3 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.1 years
Help Desk Engineer 1.8 years
Service Desk Agent 1.7 years
Tier 1.6 years
Junior Technician 1.6 years
Help Desk Agent 1.5 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 6.6%
Internship 3.8%
Top Employers After
Cashier 4.9%
Internship 3.4%
Manager 3.4%

Service Desk Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

56.3%

Female

41.6%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

78.8%

Hispanic or Latino

10.6%

Asian

8.2%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.0%

French

10.0%

Chinese

4.0%

Japanese

4.0%

Mandarin

4.0%

Italian

4.0%

Vietnamese

2.0%

German

2.0%

Cantonese

2.0%

Malay

2.0%

Greek

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%

Navajo

2.0%

Korean

2.0%
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Service Desk Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.4%

Colorado Technical University

9.3%

Strayer University

7.4%

San Jose State University

5.6%

University of Maryland - University College

4.6%

California State University - Northridge

4.6%

Wichita State University

4.6%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.6%

University of Central Oklahoma

3.7%

Kirkwood Community College

3.7%

DePaul University

3.7%

Western Governors University

3.7%

Kaplan University

3.7%

Saint Cloud State University

3.7%

Ball State University

3.7%

University of Florida

2.8%

Franklin University

2.8%

Wake Technical Community College

2.8%

Tulsa Community College

2.8%

Montgomery College

2.8%
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Majors

Business

16.0%

Information Technology

14.7%

Computer Science

11.7%

Computer Information Systems

11.7%

Computer Networking

8.4%

Criminal Justice

4.8%

Management

3.2%

Psychology

3.2%

Electrical Engineering

3.0%

Management Information Systems

3.0%

Accounting

2.6%

English

2.2%

Communication

2.2%

Computer Applications

2.2%

Information Systems

2.2%

General Studies

2.0%

Health Care Administration

1.9%

Computer Engineering

1.7%

Liberal Arts

1.7%

Political Science

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.1%

Other

26.9%

Associate

19.4%

Masters

9.0%

Certificate

4.6%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills for A Service Desk Specialist

ServiceDeskHardwareIssuesActiveDirectoryRemoteDesktopEmailPhoneCallsTroubleshootVPNTechnicalSupportNetworkPrintersCitrixWindowsXPUserAccountsServiceLevelAgreementsResetPasswordsKnowledgeBaseLevelSupportRemoteAccessSetupPhoneSupport

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Top Service Desk Specialist Skills

  1. Service Desk
  2. Hardware Issues
  3. Active Directory
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Clean and organize the service desk section of the front end
  • Identify and resolve or escalate, operational, application and hardware issues internally.
  • Modified and maintained Web permissions via Active Directory for all intranet users.
  • Provided assistance through remote desktop.
  • Monitored and maintain the Lock Desk group email box to answer questions and complete requests.

Top Service Desk Specialist Employers

Service Desk Specialist Videos

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