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How to Become a Help Desk Specialist

Do you spend a lot of time on your computer, and enjoy modifying and upgrading it, and learning all the ins and outs of it? If you love and have a talent for the ever-changing world of computers, you may have the tools and interest to embark on an in-demand career in IT and computer support … a path that often starts as a help desk specialist.

Computers and computer systems have never been more integral and vital to companies than today. Almost everyone uses them, but few know how to fix computer issues that crop up, or install new hardware and software when needed.

This is where the help desk specialist comes in. Often, they’re the first contact other workers have with the IT department, and they rely on and value the help desk in assisting them with computer issues — often issues that, when fixed, make the difference between a productive and unproductive day. To that end, help desk specialists, and IT staff in general, are a crucial part of ensuring their company functions well on a daily basis. Jobs in this area are in demand and looking for quality candidates.

Sample job description

Help desk specialist needed to work at [Your Company Name]. We are looking for professional and outgoing help desk specialists to join our call center workforce. This position is remote and full-time. In-house training and common question scripts are provided. The candidate is required to be a native English speaker. You are expected to have good communication and the ability to speak for long periods of time during the day, as well as a basic knowledge of computer troubleshooting. Experience related to computer troubleshooting, previous technical positions, or similar call center work is a benefit but not required. The ideal candidate will be helpful, friendly, and have an outgoing personality. Must be able to commit to a long-term position. If this position sounds like you, please apply!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Respond to emails from employees and customers seeking help with software or computer-related issues
  • Learn the functions and back end of your company’s software program so you can walk users through steps to achieve specific goals
  • Aid the development team in conceptualizing updates and upgrades that will enhance users’ experience
  • Maintain a high level of courteous customer service at all times

Education and experience

A high school diploma or GED is required for this position (an associate degree is preferred).

Required skills and qualifications

  • Some experience in an IT-related position
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Strong verbal communication and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Familiarity with project management software a plus

Typical work environment

Help desk specialists provide help desk solutions, customer service, troubleshooting, and company representation during business hours. This position is usually required to provide service for a company’s customer support and other customer representation. It is required that a help desk specialist have a good knowledge of communication and the common language used by the customers, as well as the ability to troubleshoot and resolve issues that are presented to them. The help desk specialist will be required to sit and communicate with customers for long periods of time, which means the ability to speak and concentrate for long periods of time is required.

Typical hours

The work hours for a help desk specialist are typically from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday in an office setting. However, longer or different hours may, at times, be necessary.

Available certifications

Help desk specialists can become certified in order to increase their chances of work. Some of the common certifications for this position are:

  • CCCP – Certified Contact Center Professional. This certification is great for help desk or call center specialists. It covers relevant etiquette and communication tactics for help desk specialists including understanding how to resolve issues, how to communicate and how to leave the customer with a positive experience.
  • CSR – Certified Service Representative. The Certified Service Representative certification is a common and useful certificate for a help desk specialist.
  • Security 5 Certification. The Security 5 certification is a common certification for understanding the basics of troubleshooting and networking, as well as computing basics. This certification will come in handy for a help desk specialist who focuses on troubleshooting or computer issues.

Career path

Becoming a help desk specialist can be the first step on a career path in IT and computer support. It starts with earning a high school diploma or GED, with an associate degree often preferred. This path can start as an entry-level position, but can have numerous opportunities for growth and advancement, based on experience, performance, and keeping up with new computer software and systems.

In addition, help desk specialists can seek to further their career through completing courses and training that can bolster their skills and knowledge in the field.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1230

2020 Employment844,600
Projected Employment in 2030916,800
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 9% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift72,200 increase

With digital information being the lifeblood of virtually every industry, and therefore many people in these organizations working on computers, the constant need for upgrades — and support during and after those upgrades, as well as helping fix other computer issues — is an ongoing trend. Help desk jobs can be found at nearly every company with staff using computers, in many sectors of the economy.