Help Desk Technician: Duties & Job Market

Gina L | November 15, 2008

Help Desk TechniciansHelp desk technicians — also known as computer support specialists or system administrators — are a vital part to any office that utilizes computers on a day-to-day basis. Whether they are teaching users how to work with a new program or troubleshooting problems with hardware or software, help desk technicians ensure that things run smoothly in an office.

Duties of a help desk technician

Help desk technicians provide technical and troubleshooting support to users in need of assistance with their computer hardware or software. These computer technicians are trained to deal with various types of computer issues, from dealing with minor glitches in a new program to major problems with computer viruses and system crashes.

Where to find help desk technician jobs

Help desk technicians work in a variety of industries — basically, wherever there are people using computers and need technical support. However, there are more opportunities in certain industries, such as finance, health care, education, insurance, and telecommunications.

Help desk technicians usually work the same hours as the majority of the employees work, but there will be times — such as in the case of system crashes or the uploading or downloading of new information and software — that system administrators will be required to work above and beyond the normal work week.

Help desk technician programs

There are many programs available, both online and offline, for people who want to become help desk technicians or systems administrators. A college degree is not always required, but extensive training in computer programs and systems is necessary. For those wanting to get a degree, there are numerous associate and Bachelor’s degrees programs in computer science. Many schools, including technical institutes, offer certification programs in various areas of computer programming and computer science.

Besides maintaining the most current computer skills possible, help desk technicians must also command excellent skills in problem solving, analysis, and interpersonal communication in order to succeed at their jobs.

Demand for help desk technicians

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for help desk technicians and system administrators is projected to increase by 18 percent by the year 2016. While this is much higher than the average employment increase for most industries, it is not surprising; more companies and organizations are becoming increasingly dependent on computer technology. Computer technology changes rapidly, and therefore there will always be a need for qualified individuals who command excellent computer skills.

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