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Computer support specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Some, called technical support specialists, support information technology (IT) employees within their organization. Others, called help-desk technicians, assist non-IT users who are having computer problems.
Technical support specialists typically do the following:
- Test and evaluate existing network systems
- Perform regular maintenance to ensure that networks operate correctly
- Troubleshoot local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Internet systems
Technical support specialists, also called computer network support specialists, usually work in their organization’s IT department. They help IT staff analyze, troubleshoot, and evaluate computer network problems. They play an important role in the daily upkeep of their organization’s networks by finding solutions to problems as they occur. Solving an IT problem in a timely manner is important because organizations depend on their computer systems. Technical support specialists may provide assistance to the organization’s computer users through phone, email, or in-person visits. They often work under network and computer systems administrators, who handle more complex tasks. For more information, see the profile on network and computer systems administrators.
Help-desk technicians typically do the following:
- Pay attention to customers when they describe their computer problems
- Ask customers questions to properly diagnose the problem
- Walk customers through the problem-solving steps
- Set up or repair computer equipment and related devices
- Train users to use new computer hardware or software, including printing, installation, word processing, and email
- Give information to others in the organization about what gives customers the most trouble and other concerns customers have
Help-desk technicians, also called computer user support specialists, usually provide technical help to non-IT computer users. They respond to phone and email requests for help. Sometimes they make site visits so that they can solve a problem in person.
Help-desk technicians may solve a range of problems that vary with the industry and the particular firm. Some technicians work for large software companies and for support service firms and must give instructions to business customers on how to use complex programs. Others work in call centers answering simpler questions from consumers. Some technicians work for organizations and help non-IT workers with their computer problems.