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IT Support Technician Career Guide

Can you work fast and efficiently under pressure? Do you have good technical skills and would like to work with computer systems and networks? You could be a perfect fit for a career in IT support.

IT support professionals maintain the hardware, software, and networks of an organization. They provide technical support to internal and external users. IT support professionals monitor systems, install and configure hardware and software, and solve technical issues in a timely manner. Some IT support positions require shift work.

IT support personnel work in a variety of areas, including computer networks, desktop support, software or hardware maintenance, and application support. They work in many industries, such as software and equipment suppliers, IT maintenance companies, call centers, retail chains, financial institutions, schools, colleges, and universities, and government.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is searching for an experienced IT support technician to join our team and help our users get the support they need. As an ideal candidate, you are licensed and have proven experience maintaining and monitoring computer systems and networks, solving complex technical issues, and collaborating with team members across all departments and external users to assist them with their technical requirements.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Install and configure computer software, hardware, networks, and peripheral equipment
  • Troubleshoot and resolve software and hardware issues quickly and efficiently
  • Provide steps to help internal and external users resolve technical problems
  • Maintain technical support procedures and reports
  • Analyze records and logs to spot underlying trends and potential issues
  • Support the implementation of new solutions or applications
  • Create accounts for new users and assist with password or login problems
  • Test and evaluate new technology
  • Provide insight into technical requirements
  • Repair and replace equipment as necessary

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field
  • 2+ years of experience in a technical support role

Required skills and qualifications

  • Experience with a variety of software, hardware, and applications
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent customer service skills in solving technical issues
  • Good communication skills 
  • Ability to work fast under pressure
  • Excellent problem-solving skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Ability to prioritize work
  • Extensive experience working with different operating systems, hardware, or network systems 
  • Certification in Microsoft, Linux, Cisco, etc.
  • Experience in tech support, desktop support, or a similar role

Typical work environment

IT support technicians typically work in offices. They can sit at a desk for extended periods of time using computers, printers, and scanners. They can work multiple shifts, including nights and weekends. IT support personnel work in a variety of fields, such as finance, educational services, telecommunications, and computer systems. Many IT support personnel also work from home. 

Typical hours

IT support technicians typically work 40-hour weeks, which can include shift work, weekend work, and holidays as IT support is a 24/7 profession. Some IT support personnel can be on call and frequently work overtime. 

Available certifications

IT support professionals can earn certifications from a number of different institutions for career advancement. Here are some of the best certifications for IT support professionals: 

  • Google IT Support Professional Certificate. The Google IT Support Professional Certificate program was developed by Google as an IT help desk certification program designed to give you the skills you need to get a well-paying, entry-level job in the IT support field. Employing video lectures and hands-on labs, students learn the fundamental concepts of IT support, like networking, operating systems, customer service, troubleshooting, system administration, automation, network security, and more. Prior experience is not required.  
  • CompTIA A+ Certification. The CompTIA A+ Certification is the internationally-recognized industry-standard certification for establishing a career in IT. Candidates can validate their IT core skills and abilities required in the workspace. The requirements for certification include passing two exams. Topics covered in the course include how to repair and configure mobile devices, how to set up and configure basic networks, all aspects of hardware, including monitors, CPUs, motherboards, hard drives, and RAM, what the cloud is and how virtualization works, and how to troubleshoot hardware and network issues. There are no prerequisites, although a basic familiarity with computers and networks is beneficial. 
  • CompTIA Network+. The CompTIA Network+ certification is widely considered one of the best IT certifications on the market. Certificate holders have proven their ability to troubleshoot networking issues, design networks, implement network security and protocols, and more on any platform. Candidates learn networking fundamentals such as network services, physical connections, and cloud connectivity, network implementations, and how to deploy ethernet solutions and configure wireless technologies, network operations, network security, and network troubleshooting. Certification is good for three years.

Career path

The career path to working in an IT support position starts with gaining a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Some employers will hire candidates without a degree if they have years of experience in a technical support role. It is highly recommended for students to obtain internships to gain valuable experience while at school. 

Working in a customer service role is a good way to develop the desired communication and people skills needed for an entry-level IT support position. Some companies with extensive technical infrastructures have separate hardware, software, client support, and network teams for IT support personnel. They also might have various levels of support. 

Entry-level professionals work in first-level support and can move to second or third-level support with experience, where they deal with more complex technical environments and issues. Smaller organizations might utilize the same IT support personnel for all aspects of IT support. IT support professionals can move into supervisory roles within IT support or progress to other IT positions such as software engineer or network engineer.

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

The Internet of Things (IoT) directly integrates and interconnects computer systems and IT devices to allow data transfer through the internet. This makes it possible for IT support professionals to control all connected computers and mobile systems from one location. The pandemic accelerated the need for IoT, and this trend is expected to continue. The advantages include easy access to information, completing tasks more efficiently, and better time management. 

Automation technology is a top trend because it allows IT support technicians to complete a number of tasks automatically, freeing them up for other things. Including automation technology in an organization can help reduce human error while increasing the speed at which tasks are completed. This adds to an increase in productivity.