What Is a Desktop Support Technician? (How to Become One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 20, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Computers are integral to the operations of many organizations. To keep these systems running, organizations often rely on support technicians, whose primary responsibility is to maintain and repair computers and other related equipment. Learning more about this position may help you determine if it's a good fit for you and give you insights into the job that may increase your chances of getting hired. In this article, we define what a desktop support technician is, discuss their responsibilities, review their qualifications, and list steps on how to become one.

What is a desktop support technician?

A desktop support technician is an information technology (IT) professional who deals with troubleshooting computer or system errors that users may encounter. They're also responsible for maintaining systems that are integral to a business's operations. Support technicians often communicate directly with colleagues and other business users in identifying computer-related problems and then providing appropriate solutions. The company may send them on-site to handle a situation or guide the user remotely through various communication channels. In some cases, they may also take on the role of a customer service representative and provide technical support to clients.

Related: Desktop Support vs. Help Desk: What's the Difference?

What does a support technician do?

Support technicians ensure computer systems work efficiently. These systems may include computer hardware, software, and peripheral devices, such as printers and scanners. They're the point of contact for users experiencing technical issues with their desktop computers and other IT equipment. The tasks of desktop support specialists may include:

  • diagnosing technical issues

  • communicating with end-users

  • resolving software, hardware, or technical system issues

  • identifying the need for system reconfiguration

  • documenting and maintaining records for tech support procedures and customer records

  • responding promptly to inquiries

  • providing guidance and information on the proper use, maintenance, and installation of technical systems

  • setting up and managing user accounts and permissions for networks

  • backing up and upgrading systems

  • setting up computer systems for organizations

  • ensuring seamless interconnection between diverse systems

  • maintaining and resolving local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), biometric, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), and audio-visual (AV) system issues

Related: How to Become an IT Support Specialist (With Daily Duties)

Support technician qualifications

Before a company hires a support technician, they set a list of eligibility requirements that are necessary for candidates to meet. This helps ensure that the individual they hire can handle the responsibilities of the position. If you're considering a career in desktop support, it's essential to know the qualifications of the position for which you're applying. This can help you focus your search and find the right job that fits your skills, experience, and education. Here are the basic qualifications of a support technician:

Education

Typically, support technicians possess a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as computer science, information systems, and computer technology. Some companies accept candidates with a high school diploma if they have the skills and experience to be effective in the position. Employers often expect candidates to be knowledgeable in various technical concepts. These may include wireless networks, database modelling and design, computer architecture, and programming.

Related: 10 Technology Careers (With Salaries and Primary Duties)

Training and certifications

While certifications may be optional for some desktop support roles, these can give you an advantage especially if you're looking to pursue a career in IT. Completing relevant training and earning certifications can help you develop the skills and acquire the knowledge necessary to be successful in the field. These also demonstrate your dedication to your desired career and your commitment to growing as a professional.

Employers may prefer to hire a candidate with training and certifications because these are often indicators of a person's knowledge and skills. In some cases, they may look for candidates with specific certifications that validate their knowledge of a particular technology that the company uses. The training and certifications of support technicians usually focus on these areas:

  • operating systems

  • networking, including computer networking and networking devices

  • security, including information and cyber security

  • desktop applications

  • user support, including troubleshooting software and hardware issues and resolving technical problems

Related: 14 Professions to Consider for Holders of IT Degrees

Experience

The experience requirements of support technicians vary depending on the job title and its requirements. In general, companies prefer candidates with at least one year of experience working in IT departments or in a help desk role. Some employers may require aspiring support technicians to have hands-on experience in the systems the company expects them to support. Some organizations hire support technicians with no work experience, provided they possess a strong academic record or relevant training and certifications, or they completed an internship.

How to become a support technician

If you're interested in working as a support technician, it may be helpful for you to know how you can become one. This allows you to develop a plan for your career and focus your efforts on developing the right skills for the job. Here are the steps you can take to improve your chances of getting a job in this position:

1. Finish a relevant degree

Pursuing formal education beyond high school is one of the best ways to increase your chances of getting a job as a support technician. This can help you develop the skills and knowledge that are essential to be successful in the position. It can also give you the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of interest, such as network administration or cyber security. In some cases, it may be enough to finish a relevant degree, such as a bachelor's degree, and then begin working in the field.

2. Obtain professional certifications

Attending various trainings can help you improve your skills and knowledge of various technical systems. Earning certifications from advanced programs can give you the advantage of gaining in-depth knowledge of current and new technologies that may improve your credentials and expand your career opportunities. It can also provide you with an advantage in negotiating for a higher pay or a better position in the company.

Related: What Does a Computer Technician Do? (With Average Salary)

3. Gain relevant experience

This is another way to increase your chances of getting a job as a support technician. It provides you with the opportunity to develop your skills and knowledge in the systems that you may support. It also enables you to develop a network of professional contacts in the industry, which may help you identify opportunities that companies may not advertise to the public. The more experience you possess, the stronger your credentials are and the more likely you are to get the job you want.

You can gain experience in a variety of ways. You may apply for an internship, volunteer, or take on a part-time job, which can help you get a sense of what it's like to work in the industry. You can also apply to entry-level jobs that are relevant to the role of support technician, such as a technical support or customer service position.

4. Develop essential skills

It's also important to develop the necessary skills for a support technician position. These include hard skills, which consist of your knowledge and understanding of the industry and the technical aspects of the job. Examples of these are your knowledge of operating systems and ability to troubleshoot. These also include soft skills, which are your personal traits and characteristics that help you excel in the industry, such as strong communication and problem-solving skills, and your ability to work under pressure.

You can acquire and develop hard skills by taking courses, completing projects, attending training programs, and earning certifications. You can also enhance them and your soft skills by gaining hands-on experience in the field. You may also be able to develop your soft skills, especially collaboration and communication, by exposing yourself to different professional settings and working with a variety of people.

Related: 12 Employability Skills and How to Develop Them

5. Create an effective resume and apply for a job

An effective resume can give you an advantage during the application process. When creating one, ensure it highlights your relevant credentials. You can do this by going through the job description and identifying specific skills and experiences that the employer requires or prefers. It may also be a good idea to match the tone and language the company uses in their job posting. This may make your resume more noticeable to the hiring manager or recruiter.

After creating a resume, you may consider applying for a job as a support technician. You can do this by searching for open positions online, visiting local career fairs, and contacting your network for referrals. It may be a good idea to prepare yourself for interviews during this time to ensure that you have the best chance of getting the job.

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