If you're interested in a rewarding career in information technology (IT), becoming an IT Support Technician is a great place to start. An IT Support Technician, also known as a Help Desk Technician, 1st Line Support or Technical Support Specialist, provides technical assistance to end-users who have problems with their computers or software applications. In this blog, we'll cover everything you need to know about the IT Support Technician role, including the skills required, what your duties could be, and the certifications that can help you succeed.
What is an IT Support Technician?
Basically, an IT Support Technician is responsible for providing technical support both on-site and remotely to users who are experiencing computer hardware or software issues. They may be tasked with troubleshooting issues, diagnosing various technical or software problems, and resolving issues with desktops, laptops, printers, and other devices. IT Support Technicians can work in a variety of industries, including healthcare, education, finance or for an IT support services company such as Computacenter.
What are the duties of an IT Support Technician?
This may be a little difficult to answer as the duties of an IT Support Technician may vary depending on the specific company you work for, industry, or seniority level you've attained. However, here are some common duties and responsibilities an IT support technician should consider:
1. Providing technical support
IT Support Technicians are responsible for providing technical support to end-users or customers. This may include troubleshooting technical issues, building new systems, resolving software and hardware problems, installing new networks, and providing guidance on the use of new technology.
2. Installing and configuring hardware and software
You may also be responsible for installing, configuring, and maintaining computer hardware and software. This may involve installing new hardware components, updating operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, and installing software applications such as Microsoft Office.
3. Monitoring systems and networks
You may also be responsible for monitoring systems and networks for issues, errors, or security threats. They may use monitoring tools and software such as Wireshark to identify and resolve problems before they cause downtime or other issues.
4. Maintaining documentation
You may also be responsible for maintaining accurate documentation of all technical support activities, including troubleshooting steps, solutions implemented, and system configurations. This documentation or changelog is used for future reference and to ensure consistent service delivery.
5. Providing training and guidance
You may also be responsible for providing training and guidance to end-users or clients who have adopted new technology. This may include creating user manuals, conducting training sessions for non-technical staff members, and providing one-on-one coaching.
6. Collaborating with other IT staff
You may also collaborate with other IT staff members, such as network administrators, software developers, and cybersecurity specialists, to resolve complex technical issues and ensure smooth operations.
Overall, IT Support Technicians play a critical role in ensuring that technology systems and networks operate smoothly and efficiently. They are responsible for providing technical support, installing and configuring hardware and software, monitoring systems and networks, maintaining documentation, providing training and guidance, and collaborating with other IT staff members.
Skills Required for IT Support
To succeed as an IT Support Technician, you'll need a combination of technical and interpersonal skills. Here are some of the most important skills required for the role:
1. Technical Skills
An IT Support Technician should have a solid understanding of computer hardware and software. They should be able to diagnose and resolve issues with operating systems, software applications, and hardware components.
2. Communication Skills
IT Support Technicians must be able to communicate effectively with end-users who may not have a technical background. They should be able to explain complex technical concepts in simple terms and be patient when dealing with frustrated users.
3. Problem-Solving Skills
IT Support Technicians must be able to quickly identify problems and develop solutions to resolve them. They should be able to work under pressure and be able to think creatively to find solutions to complex problems. If you enjoy helping your family resolve technology related tasks, this may be something that comes naturally to you.
Job Outlook for IT Support Technicians in the UK
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the employment of IT Support Technicians in the UK is projected to grow by 4% between 2020 and 2030. This growth is driven by the increasing demand for technology in the workplace, as well as the growing need for technical support in remote work environments.
Certifications for IT Support Technicians
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) offers a range of certifications that are perfect for IT Support Technicians and IT professionals. These certifications demonstrate your vendor-neutral knowledge and skills in various areas of IT support, including hardware, software, networking, and security. Here are some of the most popular CompTIA certifications for IT Support Technicians:
1. CompTIA A+ Certification
The certification is critical for those who want to start their career in IT support and is the gateway certification for a wider career path. It covers computer hardware and software, basic networking, security, mobile devices, troubleshooting, operational procedures and more.
2. CompTIA Network+ Certification
This certification is focused on networking technologies, including TCP/IP, network devices, and network security. It's the perfect follow-on certification from the CompTIA A+ and is targeted at those responsible for maintaining and troubleshooting network issues.
3. CompTIA Security+ Certification
This certification focuses on cybersecurity careers and is ideal for IT Support Technicians who are responsible for securing networks and protecting sensitive data. Having the skills and knowledge to implement measures to protect networks you install makes the CompTIA Security+ certification a career edge.
Why are CompTIA Certifications Perfect for an IT Career?
CompTIA certifications are recognised globally, highly valued by employers in the IT industry, and are vendor-neutral. They demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills required to perform specific IT roles, including IT Support Technician. Here are some of the key benefits of earning a CompTIA certification:
1. Demonstrates and validates expertise
CompTIA certifications demonstrate that you have role-specific understanding of the subjects covered by the certification.
2. Increases employability
CompTIA certifications are highly valued and recognised by employers globally, and earning a certification will increase your chances of getting hired and earning a higher salary.
3. Offers career advancement opportunities
CompTIA certifications can help you advance your career by demonstrating your skills and expertise to employers. You may be eligible for higher-paying roles or promotions within your organisation after earning a certification.
3. Keeps you up-to-date
CompTIA certifications require periodic renewal, which means that you will need to stay current with the latest trends and technologies in the IT industry. This ensures that you are always up-to-date with the latest developments and can continue to provide top-notch support to your employer.
How to Get Started as an IT Support Technician
If you're interested in becoming an IT Support Technician, there are a few steps you can take to get started. Here's what you should do:
1. Earn a CompTIA Certification
As mentioned earlier, earning a CompTIA certification is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in IT support. Consider the CompTIA A+ course to get started.
2. Gain practical experience
Gain practical experience: Search for opportunities to gain practical experience in IT support. Consider internships, entry-level positions, volunteer work or practice labs.
3. Network with IT professionals / Recruitment Companies
Attend industry events and connect with IT professionals on LinkedIn who can offer guidance and advice on your career path. Reach out to IT recruitment companies with your CV, keep yourself at the forefront of opportunity.
4. Build your technical skills
Continue to build your technical skills by staying up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends in the IT industry. This can include reading industry publications, attending webinars or workshops, and taking accredited online courses.
Becoming an IT Support Technician can be a rewarding career path for those who are interested in technology and enjoy helping others. The role requires a combination of technical and interpersonal skills, including a solid understanding of computer hardware and software, strong communication skills, and problem-solving abilities. CompTIA certifications are highly valued by employers and can help you demonstrate your expertise in various areas of IT support. By earning a certification and gaining practical experience, you can build a successful career as an IT professional in the UK.