Are you looking for information on a career in IT support? Do you want to know what exactly a role in IT support is, and what kind of work they do?
I didn’t really know what IT support was before I started working in IT. In this article, I’d like to explain what IT support is and what kind of roles are available.
An IT support job involves monitoring and maintaining the computer systems of an organisation, which may include:
- Networking hardware
- Desktop computers
- Email systems and servers
- Company-wide applications
Many IT support job descriptions include these features, as well as having the requirement to install and configure these items.
An IT support worker will involve performing various tasks including:
- Receiving and classifying end-user support requests
- Monitoring existing systems
- Installing software on desktop computers
- Upgrading software or hardware
- Troubleshoot software or networking problems that are being experienced by end users
- Configuring network account access
- Configuring email clients and servers
- Preparing and following diagrams or documentation
Career and Roles
If you work in IT support, your job description might be something like “Desktop Support Technician”, “IT Support Analyst”, or “Help Desk Operator”. This can depend on the organisation and which “tier” of support your role is.
In most organisations, there are several “tiers” or “levels” of support. Tier 1, otherwise known as “first level support”, are the people who answer the phone when users call with IT issues. They respond to the emails received when issues are found by users. They will be part of a larger team and will be responsible for capturing your details, diagnosing the issue and attempting to determine or narrow down the cause of the issue. Depending on the issue, they could resolve it on the spot.
If the issue is more complex or outside their job role or area of knowledge, they pass it on to “second level support”, or tier 2. Second level support roles can be known as “application support technicians” or “network support operators” or other roles specific to an area of technology. These roles will generally investigate issues that have been sent to them from first level support. Second level support roles generally don’t have a lot of communication with end users. Well, they may have some, but not as much as first level support. Most of their investigation is performed based on the information that the first level support has provided.
If the second level support worker can resolve the issue, then they notify the end user and resolve it. If they are unable to, this is where third level support, or tier 3 comes in. This level of support is often an external consultant or vendor who is specifically trained to handle complicated issues with systems. Their job roles are often similar to the tier 2 roles of “application support technicians”, though depending on the organisation, they may be consultants or only part time to a particular company.
If you’d like to get started in an IT support career, great! They can be enjoyable and challenging and offer a variety of technologies to work with.
The first step would be to obtain a certification in the relevant area. Microsoft, Cisco and Comptia are all main providers of support-related certifications, in various fields such as operating systems, network, email servers, and desktop support.
There are also many entry-level jobs in IT support, which only require a degree in computer science (or related degrees), so have a look on your favorite job site for the requirements that are being set by employers.