IT Support

A Career in IT Support

IT support is a huge industry with most sectors of business, manufacturing, government, education and health all requiring skilled and efficient professionals to support their deployment and use of technology.

Information systems are critical in all forms of enterprise, and none can afford to lose the use of their technology or access to data for longer than the minimum time it takes to repair or replace them. Problems may be caused by systems failure, or user error and lack of training, and a host of ‘unidentifiable random’ causes.

The USA Bureau of Statistics reported in 2005 that over 350,000 people were employed in IT support roles, despite a trend to outsource these roles to “support centres” based in Asia. A more recent trend in later years has seen these roles returning to the countries in which the business is based, as many companies have found the remote nature of offshore support centres does not offer the level of technical expertise and timely response they require.

The IT support industry is one that has consistently grown by an average of 2.3% per annum. The types of roles available are almost as varied as the industries which they serve. There are call centre based roles, also known as help desk operations, onsite installation and maintenance technicians, retail support to personal users, in-house support for an individual enterprise, and many self employed contractors. The work is as much about understanding how software packages are used as applying detailed technical knowledge.

To position yourself for a successful career in IT support you will need:

  • mature IT skills, in both hardware and software;
  • ability to diagnose and correct faults, and solve technical problems; and
  • excellent interpersonal skills, as often users are frustrated and impatient when their systems don’t work.

Typical work activities

In essence, technical support officers are responsible for ensuring the smooth running of computer systems. Tasks vary depending on the size and structure of the organisation and the type of support role job you have. Some of the types of tasks you may perform include:

  • installing and configuring computer systems;
  • monitoring and maintaining computer systems and networks;
  • talking staff/clients through a series of actions, either face to face or over the telephone;
  • troubleshooting system and network problems and diagnosing and solving hardware/software faults;
  • finding solutions to problems, be it through creating a desktop shortcut or fixing a major fault on the operating system;
  • replacing parts as required;
  • providing support, including procedural, documentation;
  • following diagrams and written instructions to repair a fault or set up a system;
  • running network applications to support systems and users;
  • supporting new applications;
  • setting up new users;
  • responding within agreed time limits to call-outs;
  • working continuously on a task until completion (or referral to third parties, if appropriate);
  • prioritising and managing several open cases at one time;
  • rapidly establishing a good working relationship with other professionals (e.g., contract businesses) in order to make necessary repairs;
  • testing and evaluating new technology; and
  • conducting electrical safety checks on computer equipment.

Recommended Courses

An IT support technician needs a broad range of technical skills, in both hardware and software. ACS offer a range of general IT courses, all which can provide you will the broad skills needed by today’s IT support professionals. Click here to see the list of IT courses we offer.