Help desk technicians are needed by virtually every company that produces or uses sophisticated computer equipment. When either customers or colleagues run into technical problems, the help desk technician identifies, troubleshoots, and resolves the issue. They typically field calls or emails from end users who are having trouble with some aspect of a sophisticated system. By listening to a description of the problem and accessing information about the specific system or application the user is trying to operate, the technician endeavors to guide him or her resolve the problem. The technician will make suggestions, attempting different means of fixing the issue until it is resolved. In the unlikely event that the problem persists, the help desk technician can usually refer the problem to a higher-level technician and may suggest a workaround until the problem can be permanently resolved.
Usually, help desk technicians work indoors at a desk, and they typically have a fellow technicians working alongside them doing the same type of work. The more experienced technicians are trained to deal with a wider variety of problems and will usually attempt to solve problems that are not immediately solved by the first (usually junior) technician. These technicians typically operate underneath a shift manager or help desk supervisor who manages workflow and tracks performance. Since customers and employees may have problems at any hour, there is demand for help desk technicians to work every shift, including on weekends. Typically, the schedule is arranged by a supervisor, after taking into account the needs of both the company and the technician.
It is essential for help desk technicians to have a friendly phone disposition, along with advanced technology skills. Many positions require a four-year college degree in a relevant discipline such as computer science or information systems management. Some positions only require a high school diploma along with a certification such as A+ or MCSE.
Help Desk Technician Tasks
Install and update desktops, laptops, PDAs, peripherals, networks, and related software.
Troubleshoot all information technology issues, including software, hardware, and networking.