Has your computer ever crashed at work? Or lost internet connectivity in the middle or a project or an important meeting? That’s when you should call on a desktop support technician. Desktop support technicians are often unsung heroes of the workplace. But when you need them, you really need them. They troubleshoot issues with your individual computer through a phone call, instant message system, or an in-person visit. But they also set up and manage new user accounts, show new employees how to log in to the computer system, set up and monitor the VPN system, and more.
If you have a knack for computers and are a good problem solver, you might want to become a desktop support technician. Here’s how to start on this interesting and rewarding career path.
Assess Your Current Desktop Support and IT Skills
As a desktop support technician, you need to have some important skills to succeed in your job. Do you have them?
Problem-Solving: To work in IT, you need to be a good problem solver. You’ll receive multiple requests for help throughout the day, and each problem may require a different solution. You may need to think creatively or innovatively to solve complex issues that can affect several or all users in your organization.
Tech Savvy: While you don’t need to know all the answers when you first start out, you need to be generally tech savvy and comfortable around computers. That means you’re not intimidated by modern technology and constantly evolving software.
Multi-Tasking: Because you will need to address different tasks throughout the day, you need to be a good multitasker. In between requests, you may need to set up new accounts, show new users how to access and use the VPN, monitor the daily performance of the computer system, and train staff on how to use hardware and software.
Calm Demeanor: In the midst of juggling your day’s work, you may find that everything changes in an instant when computers don’t work or systems crash. That well thought out to-do list can get tossed out the window and you may be faced with frantic calls for help. Users are panicked. You need to be calm.
Communication: Communication is a key skill for support technicians. Whether you field calls or chat with someone through their computer, you need to listen (or read) closely and make users feel their problems are understood. You need to communicate the solution or next steps to them clearly and without IT jargon. Just because you speak fluent tech doesn’t mean the person using a desktop computer does.
Get the Right IT Training
If you think you have the right skills, now it’s time to get training to become a desktop support technician. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an associate degree can get you an entry-level job in the field. But some larger companies, and more technical or specialized positions, may require a bachelor’s degree. Make certain the program you choose teaches you the basics, while providing additional insight into computer network administration. Look for courses that cover:
- Technology Infrastructure
- Operating Systems
- Server Application Infrastructure
- Computer Troubleshooting
- Client Administration and Support
- Switches and Routers
- Software Applications
- Linux Administration
- Windows Administration
- Computer Security
- Cloud Computing
- Network Security
Boost Your Credentials with IT Certification
Your training may get your foot in the door, but IT certifications can help you stand out from the competition. Industry certifications validate your knowledge and skills in a variety of areas, from networks to specific software. Common certifications for Desktop Support Technicians include the Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) and CompTIA A+, which certifies that you can operate, maintain, and service computers.
Look for a training program that offers certifications as part of the curriculum. At Charter College, our Associate of Applied Science in Computer Networking Systems will prepare you to sit for six TestOut Certifications, including Linux Pro, PC Pro, and Network Pro. If you pass the exams, you can earn your certifications upon graduation. Classes are taught by industry professionals and you can complete the program in as few as 14 months. Don’t have your high school diploma? Don’t worry, we partner with C4L Academy to help you earn an accredited high school diploma while you pursue your certification. Find out more by filling out the form now.