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Everything You Need to Know About an IT Support Career

With technology becoming ever-more critical to companies' daily operations across every industry, the demand for trained technical support professionals has been steadily rising. This makes the IT field one of today's smartest career choices—not to mention one of the most lucrative.
17.02.22 AAG Digital
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An IT support career will enable you to work behind the scenes, providing vital technical assistance that keeps businesses running. Whether you’re employed by a small company or working directly for a large corporate client, this job allows you to interact with technology daily, solving problems while providing valuable assistance to others.

 

Why choose an IT Support Career?

Constantly changing industry

Technology is advancing rapidly, and businesses are always looking for ways to optimise their IT infrastructures. To keep up with the growing demand for technical support, companies are on the lookout for talented individuals to add to their teams. This ensures that your skillset will always remain relevant, and working in this industry gives you the opportunity to help shape future workplaces.

No degree necessary

A common misconception about an IT support career is that applicants need a degree. While a related degree in computer science or IT helps, the most important factor in finding a job in this sector is having the right experience. Training certifications are available online for the main software packages, and internships and apprenticeships provide valuable real-world experience.

A great starting point for a successful IT support career

Beginning your career as a managed IT support worker provides a firm foundation for future success. An entry-level role gives you the chance to get on the job training, allowing you to get comfortable with new technologies and learn how they interact within complex infrastructures.

Expanding your toolset and knowledge base will open up new opportunities to work in more complex technical environments, and you can specialise in roles like cloud computing or information security.

High demand

As businesses continue to rely heavily on technology, the demand for IT support professionals will continue to grow. Progressive companies are now recognising that it’s not enough to have one dedicated IT worker; they need teams of people ready to handle increasingly complicated issues with computer systems and equipment. As your technical skills are in-demand, companies can offer good salaries and benefits.

An exciting and fulfilling IT support career

IT support workers play a pivotal role in the success of a business. It’s a career path that offers the opportunity to work with technology while making meaningful connections with people across an organisation. You can specialise in a range of areas, and with experience, you can progress into project management or consultancy. The amount of choice available in this industry makes IT support a varied and fulfilling career choice.

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Skills

A career in IT support demands a specific set of skills. Technical ability is crucial, but personal qualities play a huge part in success in this industry.

Technical knowledge

You’ll be working with computer hardware running various operating systems, so having a deep understanding of how these tech systems work is vital. Staying on top of the latest tech developments, like virtualisation and cloud solutions, will allow you to provide the best service possible.

Excellent communication skills

As a problem-solver, you’ll need to communicate effectively with all levels of staff, describing IT issues in terms that are understandable to everyone. Retaining an unbiased perspective while understanding the needs of others will help you efficiently address problems.

Patience

IT support work is often physically and mentally demanding. In addition to spending long hours handling problems, you’ll need to have a great deal of patience and the motivation to deal with challenging or difficult people. The ability to stay calm and remain professional under pressure will help you handle even the most complex situations.

An understanding of business practices

Solving IT problems is only part of your role. You’ll also need to understand how the work you do impacts the rest of the business and communicate that to senior staff or anyone who needs to know.

Work well under pressure

Deadlines and tight timeframes are standard in IT. Dealing with frequent interruptions and shifting priorities is vital for success as an IT support professional. You’ll need to remain calm under pressure and respond quickly to any issues that arise. IT Project management can be a high-pressure environment.

 

General responsibilities

‘IT support’ covers a range of responsibilities that you’ll be expected to undertake, from basic tasks like troubleshooting issues with computer equipment to more complex roles, such as assisting project managers with new system rollouts. Generally, you’ll need to be able to:

  • Ensure that systems and equipment are operating within normal parameters, and monitor for issues
  • Provide technical support for any problems that arise
  • Diagnose the cause of any issues and find ways to resolve them
  • Produce reports on technical issues for senior staff members
  • Provide training on the use of equipment to new or less-skilled staff
  • Work with project managers to assess new equipment or software
  • Update existing software and install new systems
  • Take part in planning and testing projects that may involve the introduction of new technology
  • Provide guidance for colleagues in other departments on how best to use IT systems
  • Liaise with other members of staff about issues that may arise

 

How to get a job in IT support

Qualifications

A degree in IT or computer science is helpful but not essential. Demonstrating your technical ability through online certificates and vocational programmes shows potential employers your desire to work in the industry. This field evolves rapidly; therefore, staying up with new developments via training is critical.

Work experience

Work experience, even unpaid or part-time, gives you real-world experience working with technology and demonstrates to employers a desire to work in the IT industry. Internships and apprenticeships are an excellent entry point, giving you a valuable insight into this career and references you can use in job applications.

Getting hired

While IT support jobs are in-demand, they can be highly competitive. To stand out, you need strong qualifications, either in the form of a related degree or evidence of self-teaching. Relevant work experience can give you an edge, but the interview will also test your personal qualities; communication and interpersonal skills are critical for an IT support professional.

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Roles in IT Support

There are numerous jobs within this field, from a support technician to more specialist roles. Three of the common roles within IT support are listed below:

Technician

These professionals use their in-depth knowledge of IT systems to provide expert support to users. They typically work as a service desk technician and are responsible for resolving technical issues with computers, software, and networks. IT technicians may also be responsible for installing and maintaining IT systems and providing training to staff on how to use them. While you need extensive technical knowledge, you do not need a degree to become a technician; these roles are often entry-level and training is provided on the job.

Engineer

An IT engineer is a professional who uses their technical skills to design, build and maintain computer systems and networks. They can be involved in extensive technical infrastructure upgrades, installing and testing new systems and ensuring everything works. To become an IT engineer, you’ll need a degree in computer science or a related subject, as well as experience in the field. IT engineers are in high demand, so having strong qualifications and good interpersonal skills will give you an edge in the job market.

Analyst

An IT analyst uses their technical skills to assess the needs of a company and the best way to achieve these goals, whether that’s through hardware or software upgrades. They work with project managers to develop new systems and keep existing ones running efficiently. IT analysts need a strong background in business analysis backed up by a degree in computer science or another relevant subject. This role is highly demanding, so you need to be a capable problem solver and have excellent communication skills.

 

Prospects

Entry-level IT support jobs give you a strong foundation from which you build your career. With technology developing at a rapid rate, you need to undertake constant training so you understand any new systems. With experience, you can take on more responsibility and progress into management roles, or even specialise in a specific area of IT. At the highest levels, you could move into consultancy, where you may oversee several separate teams, dealing with multiple projects.

Technology is a hugely diverse industry. Entering in a support role can open up an entire world of opportunities working with emerging technology that will shape the future.

 

Keep in Mind

If you’re considering a career in IT support, remember that the field evolves rapidly and you need to keep up with new developments. Stay on top of your training and develop strong interpersonal skills so you can communicate effectively with users. Have a positive attitude and be patient; dealing with frustrated users can be challenging, but IT support professionals need to remain calm and helpful. With the right qualifications and experience, you can progress into a highly rewarding career in IT support.