Technical support consultants, also known as computer support specialists or systems administrators, typically help technology users solve problems. Areas of responsibility may include computer hardware and software, networks, and peripheral devices, such as printers. They may work in an office environment, supporting only that company's technology, or they may offer support for technology used in the home, such as Internet access. A consultant may receive requests for support via phone, Internet chat, or e-mail, and some also travel to a user's home or place of business to perform physical repairs on equipment.
Once contacted, a technical support consultant typically will use his or her troubleshooting skills to attempt to isolate the cause of the problem and instruct the end user on how to resolve it. When receiving a request for support via telephone, a consultant often must have good listening skills to eliminate non-essential information from the user's description of the problem and focus on just what's needed to determine the cause. Once this technical professional has narrowed the cause of the problem, he or she usually will then use testing methods to pinpoint the issue. The consultant will then perform any necessary repairs to the equipment or walk the end user through performing the repairs via telephone.
Typical problems encountered by this individual may include computer viruses, equipment failure, or network connectivity issues. When supporting a user or business network, the consultant must often be very aware of security issues so as not to allow unauthorized access to the network, which could expose sensitive information to outsiders. Often, he or she will find the cause of the users' problem is simply user error, and the consultant may need to instruct the user on the proper use of the technology to prevent future problems.
Working as a technical support consultant can be a rewarding way to help people who are often stressed and under deadlines, but these individuals must also sometimes deal with frustrated and angry users. It can be important for a consultant to keep a level head and answer the user's questions calmly to help defuse the situation. It can also be important for the person to assure the end user that his or her problem will be resolved in a timely manner.