I.T. technical support officers work behind the scenes in all kinds of places. These guys are the mechanics, the ‘go-to’ guys and the saviours of the I.T. world.
They work their socks off to maintain, update, tweak and repair the computer systems and I.T. infrastructure of any given organisation. This means setting up new technologies, calibrating technical bits of kit, configuring systems and providing everyday technical support for the individuals using the computer systems and I.T. network.
An I.T. technical support officer’s duties will vary depending on the size of the organization and the complexity of its network. However, usually you will be working directly with the I.T. equipment and performing hands-on technical maintenance tasks on the organisation’s servers, telephone cables, desktops, operating systems and software applications.
You might be working on a helpdesk, answering phone calls and assessing any technical queries that arise. You’ll then be responsible for troubleshooting any problems in the most efficient way possible. If you cannot solve a technical hitch, you’ll pass on the problem to a more senior technical support officer, who may provide friendly, desk-side support to users.
You might also be required to test new products, run regular maintenance checks and keep up-to-date with information security issues.
Salary & benefits
This line of work can be demanding, but I.T. technical support officers can earn a handsome wage. For instance, at entry-level (first line support) you could be taking home between £20,000 and £35,000 per annum.
As you progress and gain more experience, you will eventually graduate into second and third line support positions, where you could be earning upwards of £60,000 per annum.
At the peak of their careers, many I.T. technical support officers become independent contractors, where they will have the potential to earn even more money!
This area of work can be stressful at times, but if you enjoy working with computers and people and have the ability to solve technical problems easily and efficiently, you could make a great I.T. technical support officer.
You might be burning the midnight oil at times, as shift work is a common feature of technical support careers.
However, your working environment might vary from day to day. You could be helping people from the comfort of your helpdesk or getting out and about.
You might be floor-walking and helping people at their desks. Alternatively, you might be chipping off to remote locations every now and then to help people that are using laptops and mobile devices in the field.
A degree or vocational qualification in a relevant computer science subject, such as software engineering, will definitely help you to get where you want to be.
It could be argued that the ever-changing nature of computer technologies will allow you to thrive in this industry, just as long as you do your own personal training, teach yourself and stay on top of industry developments. However, having the credentials to back up your experience will always be a welcome addition to your CV.
You should have a strong knowledge of the specific technologies that are used by the organisations you intend to work for. You will need to understand how everything works, so that you can solve problems easily when the time comes.
Apart from the technological requirements, you will also need strong communication skills, logic and analytical skills.
Training & progression
Training in this field will usually be provided when you first join an organisation. You will be trained in how their network functions and how to maintain the specific computer systems that they have running.
Before you can help anyone, you have to be able to understand what is going on! After that, it will pretty much come to you as you go along.
As you progress through your career, you can also attend training schemes that are run by specific technology providers and work towards gaining niche qualifications.
Depending on the size of the organization that you work for, there may be room for you to grow within the company. You are likely to start off as a first line support engineer. You will then gradually move up into second and third line support roles.
With each step on the ladder, you will be given more responsibility and be required to deal with more complex I.T. problems. Some organisations might even have people working as fourth line technical support officers. From here, you might become a team leader and manage more junior technicians.
Alternatively, you might specialise in a certain range of technologies and become a subject-matter-expert (SME) in that area.