Technical support people are troubleshooters – the medics of the IT world. Technical support staff resolve clients or customers' technical issues via email, phone and other electronic media. The job may involve configuring computer equipment such as internet connections, or configuring software to connect to internet application servers. It also involves providing training and assistance to help clients learn how to use their computer hardware or software products.
This work, as the name suggests, requires an in-depth understanding of hardware, systems, applications and languages. Generally, graduates in this area will be extremely competent in the technology relevant to the organisation they work for.
People often start out at first- or second-level support. Opportunities for promotion and career development are greater with larger organisations.
- Providing assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, installation, word processing, electronic mail and operating systems
- Delivering highly complex technical information into terms and concepts that the end users can readily grasp
- Working with outside vendors to ensure new equipment is successfully installed
- Logging and processing support calls.
Travel: can be a normal part of the working day if support is delivered on site rather than by email or telephone.
Working hours: the nature of the work can involve working shifts or being on call including evening, weekends and public holidays.
Location: in towns or cities throughout the country.
Opportunities for self-employment: possible.
- Banking and finance
- Manufacturing firms and service areas
- Educational institutions
- Public sector organisations.
Opportunities exist to move into specialist areas dealing with more complex technical environments or to move into team leader roles, supervising the work of a team of support staff and, eventually moving into operational support management.
Salaries vary depending on experience and employment sector.
Specific degree subjects required
While open to graduates of any discipline, employers typically prefer graduates with an IT related qualification.
A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is not a requirement.
Mainly in-house and self-directed training and though external technical courses.
Tips for application
Previous relevant experience gained in a technical support environment is recommended.
Skills and qualities
- Technically minded and skilled at explaining complex things to laypeople.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Excellent organisational skills.
- Ability to quickly establish good working relationships with clients.
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