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How Do I Become a Help Desk Technician?

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  • Written By: Simone Lawson
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2014
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Help desk technicians provide instructions and troubleshooting assistance for those using computer systems or software. Technicians may work directly for software or hardware companies or on a contractual basis for a variety of organizations. They may be responsible for solving technical problems, answering questions regarding software, running diagnostics programs as well as responding to any other generally-related customer inquires. A bachelor's degree in a computer-related field is generally recommended for those seeking to become a help desk technician. Some companies also may require specialized certifications.

It is typically easier to become a help desk technician if one has completed a four-year degree. Bachelor’s degrees in computer science, information systems or engineering are all suitable choices for training as a technician. A degree can provide technicians with strong computer knowledge and problem solving skills. Formal education may also provide an advantage for negotiating salary and advancement.

Some employers may hire candidates who do not have a degree or certification, but some level of computer expertise is generally expected. Professionals with backgrounds in customer service, software and hardware sales or electronics repair may also be seen as assets to employers. Those without specifically related training or degrees should expect to begin as an entry-level employee and may have fewer advancement opportunities.

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Work experience and technical knowledge typically are highly valued in this field, and possessing either may be a successful means of gaining entry-level employment. Certification programs for a particular type of hardware or software may also be useful to those seeking to become a help desk technician. Some companies may offer on-the-job training, but prior hardware or software knowledge is generally required. Technical and vocational schools may offer computer specialist and information systems certificates or associates degrees, which may also be helpful to those who have not completed a four-year degree.

Most help desk technicians are also required to undergo specific company training once they have been hired. Training may take several months to complete, and there are usually continuing education requirements as well. Many help desk technicians are required to complete additional training sessions as technology changes or hardware and software components and programs are updated.

To become a help desk technician and be successful in the field, strong customer service skills are normally required. Technicians interact with many different people throughout the course of a day and should be able to maintain a certain level of professionalism. The ability to communicate technical information to non-technical customers can also be valuable skill for a help desk technician.

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anon974960
Post 4

In response to anon360100, many companies that pay better require a 4 year degree to even be on a help desk. Regardless of whether you think college is needed or not to get the knowledge, the fact is that having the degree pretty much guarantees you'll get a job.

I'm sorry, but a bachelor's or associates is a vital step in getting anywhere in IT. You can either not get an education, and work a low paying bad job in IT and very slowly work your way up over about six or eight years before you get decent pay, or get a 4 year degree and basically skip those six or eight years.

anon360100
Post 3

I firmly agree with the comment above mine. Why go to a university, end up paying, mostly with loans, roughly $30,000-$50,000 in those four years, only to gain a meager $10-$14/hr wage slave job?

Bachelor's degrees involving technologies such as engineering or computer science, for the most part, are completely outdated and really shouldn't be seen as a key to the door of employment within the IT industry.

Let's be frank: why go the traditional route, when say in four years time (being very conservative ), one could learn all of the basics and fundamentals, in addition to becoming knowledgeable about current, in demand technologies by just the click of a button on Google?

helpdesk
Post 2

Having the right skills and proper training will definitely help you to become a successful help desk technician. You should be equipped with the proper knowledge and skills to perform your duties and responsibilities properly.

anon225331
Post 1

I have been noticing this more and more over the last year or so. Companies are requiring a four year degree to be an "entry level" help desk technician?

The last advertised pay rate for that position in my area was 12-14$ an hour. Who would look forward to that kind of salary after devoting four years of their life to higher education? The help desk position can be done by a high school student with minimal training either on site or through the use of Google searching.

Does this mean we should plan to get a doctorate in the IT industry before we can afford to support a family? This is discouraging.

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