What's A Career In Technical Support And Help Desk Like?


Gary McCauley


May 14, 2019

Where you’ll find computer networks and IT systems in organizations, you will find technical support and help desk workers. They are the backbone of the IT team, offering support not just to fellow team members, but everyone who uses the IT systems in place.

Here, we’re going to take a closer look at what to expect from technical support and help desk roles. While the day-to-day work of the job can change from organization to organization, the role that it plays in the organization is consistent.

What does a technical support and help desk worker do?

As the name implies, workers in these roles play a fundamental part in lending support relating to anything to do with IT. This can include anything from dealing with forgotten passwords and email access issues to configuring networks, troubleshooting errors and eliminating malware.

Technical support and help desk workers are the front-line of the IT support team. They are the first people that others in the organization will come to when they have a tech problem. While you may work in a face-to-face capacity, more are working remotely over the phone or through help desk software connecting them to other team members.

Technical support workers, also known as help desk operators, technicians, and maintenance engineers, are vital to the efficiency of an organization using IT networks and systems.



Tasks and responsibilities

The different tasks that technical support workers do can change depending on the type of systems they’re working with. However, they regularly include:

  • Identifying IT system and network problems and offering advice.
  • Logging and maintaining records of queries and solutions.
  • Analyzing logs to see common issues so you can help find the underlying causes.
  • Creating and improving self-help guides so employees can troubleshoot and fix problems on their own.
  • Cooperating with field engineers on more serious problems.
  • Testing, configuring, and fixing equipment that isn’t working as expected.

Skills expected of technical support and help desk workers

Technical support workers of all levels of qualification can find opportunities to work, but are expected to have a minimum of a GCSE in IT, Science, English or Math. More qualified applicants with degrees in related computing subjects or who have earned qualifications from specialist courses like those run by the Helpdesk Institute can find more demanding and rewarding roles in support teams, too.

Technical support team members spend a lot of their time in communication with employees and clients. As such, they are expected to have a mix of soft skills to go with their hard skills. The skills include:

  • Assessing the IT competence of those seeking support.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Analytical and problem-solving abilities.
  • Technical knowledge that’s up-to-date with systems used by clients and employers.
  • Accurate records keeping and analysis ability.
  • An ability to handle difficult callers.

What can you expect from a career in technical support and help desk?

Wherever there are IT systems and networks, there are technical support and help desk teams. As such, there is a huge range of opportunities for both those looking for entry-level positions and those with more experience, qualifications, and certifications.

Many technical support workers work as part of the internal IT support team of larger organizations. This means they field requests for support primarily from members of other departments. Other provide support for systems and services offered to clients, meaning they fill a customer service role on top of providing IT support.

As such, many technical support providers work in full-time roles, often with permanent placement. However, those with specific knowledge on certain systems and software can also manage a lucrative career as a freelancer.

To see which types of technical support roles are best suited to you, use to upload your resume. It can match your skills with the job offerings most relevant to them. This is a great way to see what kind of work you can do as a freelance technical support and help desk worker.

What career opportunities can you expect?

If you’re working in a full-time role as part of a larger organization, then the natural progression is through the technical support team. This might mean developing a specialty in certain aspects of IT support, having a more senior role such as the manager of a support team, or becoming section or department leader.

Many employers provide growth opportunities internally for their technical support and help desk team. This can include training to become familiar with up-to-date technologies, access to specialist courses, and structured training schemes. All of this can help you boost your career through the support side of the IT team.

There are many potential branches for those who want to grow outside of a technical support role, as well. Others tend to specialize in certain skills such as programming, technical sales, systems administration, IT training, or customer satisfaction.



Is a career in technical support and help desk right for you?

With opportunities available for those at every level of training, qualification, and expertise, technical support and help desk is an easy to get your foot in the door of an IT/computer related career. There is always a need for IT support and plenty of room for growth.

Take a look at the technical support and help desk roles available at The search function returns the roles most relevant to your own resume, so you can immediately see what kind of responsibilities, wages, and working environments you can expect.

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