How to Start a New Career as an IT Help Desk Technician

Are you looking to start an exciting career in IT? A help desk technician position is a good starting place for career changers or those just completing an associate degree. Indeed, many IT professionals have started their careers in a help desk role.

Many companies hire entry-level candidates as an important part of their recruitment strategy. Companies value the opportunity to develop entry-level employees with the belief they will grow into more senior positions. Also, they value the fresh, new ideas that these candidates bring to the workplace.

What does an entry-level help desk technician do?

An entry-level help desk technician provides technical support and assistance to users experiencing hardware, software, and network-related issues. Here are some of the primary responsibilities and tasks typically associated with the help desk position:

Troubleshooting and Problem Resolution: Diagnose and resolve technical problems reported by users, which can include issues with computers, printers, network connectivity, and various software applications.

Customer Support: Provide front-line support to users through various channels such as phone, email, chat, or in-person. Walk users through problem-solving steps or take remote control of systems to resolve issues directly.

Ticket Management: Manage and track support requests using a ticketing system, ensuring that all issues are documented, prioritized, and resolved in a timely manner. Additionally, the technician may follow up with users to ensure satisfaction with the resolution.

System Maintenance: Perform routine maintenance tasks like software updates, system reboots, and backups. Also, the technician might assist in setting up new hardware and installing software for new employees.

User Education and Training: Assist employees in the use new hardware and software, offering guidance and training on best practices and troubleshooting common issues independently.

Documentation: Create and maintain documentation related to common issues, solutions, and procedures, which can then be used by other help desk technicians or end-users.

Escalation: When encountering complex issues beyond their skill level, escalate those issues to higher-level IT staff or specialized technicians, providing detailed notes and context to ensure efficient resolution.

System Monitoring: Monitor system performance and network activity to identify and address potential issues proactively. 

What skills are employers looking for?

Employers value candidates who can demonstrate both hard and soft skills. A help desk technician must be able to provide technical assistance with an ability to solve problems. Additionally, technicians should show patience and empathy when dealing with frustrated or confused users. Also, they should communicate clearly with others and collaborate with team members. Helpful hard skills include computer hardware knowledge, familiarity with operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux), understanding of network fundamentals, experience using remote desktop applications, and familiarity with system backup and recovery procedures.

Which industries hire help desk technicians?

Presently, help desk technicians are in demand across many industries, since technology is pervasive in modern business operations. Some key industries that employ help desk technicians include information technology services, healthcare, education, finance and banking, retail, telecommunications and manufacturing.

IT certifications that will help you launch your new career.

As IT leaders close the skills gaps within their organizations, hiring candidates with the right IT certifications is increasingly popular. Hiring managers are under pressure to find new hires who can quickly become productive team members, who can troubleshoot problems and complete projects on time with minimal oversight. Overall, candidates who hold high-value IT certifications are considered more job-ready than those who do not.

Certifications that will accelerate your new career as a help desk technician include:

Continuous learning is key to any role in IT.

Continuous learning is essential for tech professionals to stay relevant, competitive and adaptable in a rapidly changing industry. It is a key factor in maintaining a long-term successful and sustainable career.

Read our article: Continuous Learning Sustains IT Career Advancement

What is the Job Outlook for help desk technicians?

From 2021 to 2031, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an increase of 6% for computer support specialists, with 56,400 net new jobs expected during that 10-year period.

What kind of salary can I expect?

According to GLASSDOOR, the median annual US salary for a help desk technician is $47,863 per year with an estimated total pay of $54,370 per year.

For more information on IT degrees and certifications offered by the Washington State Community and Technical Colleges, please contact:

Brianna Rockenstire
Center of Excellence for Information & Computing Technology | 425.564.4229

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