You’ve heard the longstanding theory that people fall into two categories: the analytical, objective left-brained group or the intuitive, subjective right-brained bunch. But the technology world is full of jobs that require the use of your entire brain.
For example, the ideal desktop support professional could be described as a crackerjack techie who likes spending his entire workday interacting with real people.
If such a whole-brain approach to work interests you, read on for more information about the hard and soft skills required to be a desktop support technician.
The hard skills – working with technology
- Extensive experience with desktop hardware, software applications, operating systems and network connectivity. This is THE key skill set – do you really know what you’re talking about when it comes to technology? If not, don’t apply. Pursue learning opportunities – such as MOOCs, community college courses or continuing education classes – so you can bone up on the basics (and beyond) before you apply.
- Expert technology problem solver. You’ll spend your days identifying issues, repairing problems, helping users, updating systems, installing new hardware and software, troubleshooting computers and basic networks, documenting systems, and supporting the IT department in many ways. If you get satisfaction from fixing things, and you’re the go-to gal when the Xbox seizes up at home, desktop support will suit you.
The soft skills – working with people
- Good communication skills. You’ll have to be able to communicate with many different kinds of people in this job. And your customers will likely only be able to tell you that “it doesn’t work.” You’ll need to know how to ask them the right questions, since they’re unlikely to be able to describe their problems in technological terms.
- Customer-friendly attitude. You need to be able to play nice with others. Treat those whose tech problems you’re solving as customers, not as users (the word “customer” implies more value) – or worse, as people who’ve screwed up. A little patience will go a long way.
- A passion for your company and industry. You don’t have to run around bragging about where you work, but according to TechRepublic, “the really outstanding techs are the ones who take the time to learn the industry they are supporting.” Plus, knowing the business purposes for the technology your customers use will make you a much better problem solver.
College degree not required
College degrees are often not required for entry-level desktop support positions. If you have tech knowledge and people skills, you may find a desktop support position is a great place to get a foot in the door in IT.
In return, many employers offer a solid benefits package, good pay, meaningful training, telecommuting and other perks. Not bad for a job that encourages you to use your whole brain.
Our Salary Calculator can tell you what a desktop support pro's starting pay is in your area:
This post has been updated to reflect more current information.