IT Help Desk Jobs

Are you fresh out of college or just want to change fields? 

Is IT your passion? 

Why not consider IT help desk jobs?

Maybe you’re here because you want to learn more about help desk jobs? 

One thing’s for sure: 

That’s the right place for you!

Let’s warm up with some stats first.

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Help Desk Jobs Stats and Facts (Editor’s Choice):

Here you will find everything you need about IT help desk jobs – a detailed job description and lots of useful information. You’ll learn how to enter this job field, what salary range to expect, what skills you need, and much more. 

Most importantly, you’ll see whether it’s the right job for you and whether it is better suited for freelance or on-site employment.

Let’s begin!

IT Help Desk Jobs In a Nutshell

An IT help desk technician is someone who helps users’ with various technical issues. 

 

Tech skills:

  • Ability to diagnose and troubleshoot problems

  • Familiarity with different operating systems

  • Knowledge of hardware

  • Experience with network repairs and analysis

Non-tech skills:

  • Excellent communication skills

  • Customer service skills

  • Ability to work in a team

  • Analytical thinking

  • Adherence to processes

The average salary varies between $27,074 – $52,262.

How to Get IT Help Desk Jobs: A Beginner’s Guide

Broadly speaking, the help desk specialists must make sure that all hardware and software they are qualified to maintain functions well. 

Major IT companies usually have such help desks to respond to their customers’ issues and queries. This is done via phone, email, online chat, or another ticketing system.

There are also internal help desks that must ensure all hardware and software the employees within the organization use function well. The wide variety of IT help desk jobs makes them among the most common profession in the IT field nowadays.

There are many ways to prepare for your first IT help desk job.

Certifications & Training

For starters, employers definitely appreciate experienced people, but that’s common for all areas of employment. The good part is that IT help desk positions give plenty of opportunities to gain such experience at an entry-level job.

Many companies provide on-the-job IT help desk training.

Of course, it’s a good idea to get a related certification. Many computer software and hardware manufacturers offer certifications that employers look for.

These include, among others: 

  • HubSpot Academy
  • ITIL Foundation
  • Google IT Support
  • CompTIA A+
  • Udemy IT Help Desk Professional
  • Network+
  • HDI-CSR 

Even though not all employers require one, having a certificate is always a plus. Of course, a certification only increases the likelihood of being hired but doesn’t guarantee anything.

You can also try starting with part-time help desk jobs to see whether it’s the right career path for you before delving deeper and committing entirely.

IT Help Desk Jobs Description

What does a help desk person do? Can YOU do it?

Here you will find the full help desk technician job description. Read it carefully and see whether it sounds like the right profession for you.

Disclaimer: This is only a general job description of the position and its requirements. Every employer has different criteria for hiring. Go through them carefully when applying

IT Help Desk: THE Job Description

The help desk offers technical assistance to customers who are software and/or hardware products.

An IT help desk technician troubleshoots problems in several steps. First, the support agent must diagnose the issue, be that through asking the end user probing questions or by running diagnostic tests.

The technician then can provide the necessary steps for the end user (who has full access to the problematic machine) to apply the remedy. In some cases, the IT help desk can gain remote access and fix things directly.

The help desk technicians use help desk software or an issue tracking system and often follow strictly outlined processes. This helps the operators keep track of the user requests and makes it easier to prioritize cases, find solutions to common queries easily, and so forth.

Organization of IT Help Desk Departments

Large support departments use different levels or tiers to manage different categories of issues. Such structures allow to strategically address customer needs by streamlining the resolution of small or easy-to-manage problems, by assessing employees and improving their training and satisfaction, and so on.

Usually, it looks something like that:

Tier 0: Self-help and user-retrieved information

Here, users get support info from websites and mobile pages or apps, as well as social media and forums. Things like FAQs, detailed product and technical information, blog posts, manuals, search functions, and service catalogs are all part of the self-help materials.

For Tier 0, the support team creates and updates a knowledge base, as well as any features related to using it. Often, some members of the support staff manage social media pages and forums if the company has those.

Tier 1: Basic help and service desk assistance

Tier 1 provides support for basic IT customer issues such as usage problems and requests. Here you can find lower-level tech personnel, trained to solve common problems and fulfill service requests, often by following scripts. If no solution is available, the case is escalated to a higher tier.

Tier 2: In-depth technical support

On this level, experienced and knowledgeable analysts assess issues and provide solutions for problems that can’t be dealt with at Tier 1. Here, the support staff has a deep understanding of the product or service, but they are not necessarily the engineers or programmers that created it. If they can’t find a solution either, the case is escalated to Tier 3.

Tier 3: Expert product and service support

This level offers the highest technical resources available for problem resolution. Technicians on this level try to duplicate problems and define root causes, using product designs, specifications, or code. When they identify the cause of the problem, depending on what it is, the organization decides whether to create a new fix.

Tier 3 specialists are usually the most skilled product specialists and might be the creators, engineers, or chief architects behind the product or service. That’s why they handle software-specific requirements and updates and fix bugs that have a direct impact on larger clients.

Tier 4: Support for issues not supported by the organisation

This is contracted support for products or services the company offers but doesn’t serve directly. Instead, trusted vendors and business partners deal with support when they receive forwarded problems or requests. These can include machine maintenance, printer, vendor, and depot support, for example, depending on the industry of the company.

Many analysts happen to work during weekends and at night to provide around-the-clock assistance.

Do you like being challenged every day and helping people?

Does this feel like the job for you?

Read on to find out more about the day-to-day tasks.

Daily Activities of IT Help Desk

So what does a help desk person do exactly?

Let’s see some of the specific IT help desk responsibilities:

  • Responding to users’ queries via phone, email, or chat

  • Offering technical assistance for questions and issues

  • Diagnosing issues like system errors

  • Following up with customers until the full resolution of issues

  • Requesting feedback and/or monitoring calls and written correspondence to improve training

  • Running reports to analyze common complaints and problems

  • Installing/changing software to fix problems

  • Remotely accessing software or hardware for customers to make changes and fix issues

  • Writing, editing, and revising manuals for new/updated software and hardware

  • Training other staff members to troubleshoot and diagnose problems

In short, help desk analysts/technicians communicate with customers to diagnose computer issues and help with the setup, installation, and use of new hardware or software.

Key Areas of Expertise of IT Help Desk

Before you google “IT help desk technician jobs near me,” let’s first consider the key areas you need to be an expert at.

Excellent communication skills are essential for entry-level positions as you’d have to be able to listen carefully to the users’ descriptions of various issues and then explain how things can be fixed. Soft skills are paramount.

It is absolutely crucial to read the documentation of the company you start working to familiarize yourself with the processes and the best way to do your work.

For the latter, you must make the most of the introductory training mostly all help desk positions entail, especially if this is your first job. Such training can lay the fundamentals on which your career might flourish.

IT Help Desk Career Paths

A job on an IT help desk can open doors to other IT career opportunities.

You gain valuable experience working with end-users and learning about the business and IT as a whole.

In fact, most careers in tech start at help desk jobs. Starting as a computer user support specialist (a.k.a. technical support specialist) can lead to some higher-level IT careers, such as:

  • Network administrator
  • Database administrator
  • IT security specialist
  • Software engineer
  • Corporate system administrators

You’ll get on-the-job training and key soft skills, master customer service and gain valuable connections. This can lead to having greater clarity about your career path and more opportunities.

Of course, you need to be ambitious and want to learn and grow.

Many organizations encourage their help desk technicians to rise in the ranks. Some become supervisors and help desk technician managers, while the more technically-minded individuals quickly specialize and move up the tiers.

Now let’s move on to another burning question – salaries.

IT Help Desk Jobs Salary Breakdown

So how much do IT help desk jobs pay exactly?

It really depends on your experience and even the city and state you live in, as we’ve already discovered.

The highest-paying states are, unsurprisingly, Washington and New York.

According to Indeed, in the US, the average salary of a help desk technician is $18.05 per hour. 

That of a help desk analyst is $17.91 per hour, while a senior help desk analyst gets $20.37 per hour.

Meanwhile, according to PayScale, the average help desk technician hourly pay is $16.74. It can range between $12,18 and $23,13 per hour. The total yearly pay, then, comes in the $27,074 – $52,262 range.

IT help desk jobs at entry level, i.e. technicians with less than one year of experience, pay an average of $15.15.

A help desk technician with 1-4 years of experience gets $16.42.

A mid-career help desk technician with 5-9 years of experience earns an average of $18.72.

An experienced one with 10-19 years of experience tends to earn an average of $20.20.

Late career (20 years of experience and up) employees get an average of $22.

Naturally, there is a difference in salaries depending on the state and city. Here are some examples:

IT help desk jobs in Seattle, Washington offer salaries that are on average 27.1% higher than the national average.

In Washington, DC, this percentage is 20.3%.

IT help desk jobs in NYC, New York offer 17.1% higher pay.

In San Diego, California you can expect 16% more, while in LA that’s 10% north of the average.

Meanwhile, IT help desk jobs in Chicago, Illinois give 5% higher than the average.

The same goes for IT help desk jobs in Houston, Texas.

These deviations from the average are significant enough for you to take into account. There are definitely places in the US where landing such a job is a more attractive prospect.

Are IT Help Desk Positions Suitable for Freelance?

Lots of people would prefer to freelance if given the choice. But is it possible to work as an IT help desk analyst from home?

Usually, help desk technicians are part of a team, be it small or big, and communication face-to-face is preferable. That way, you can cover for each other when one of you is caught in a long conversation and there are more cases waiting. This ensures that all customers get the best possible service and are left satisfied.

Moreover, you need a reliable and secure internet connection because it’s a crucial part of your job. You won’t be able to communicate with clients efficiently and respond to queries without one.

Usually, IT help desk teams assist clients remotely, but sometimes, depending on the company’s policy, technicians travel to provide assistance to customers in person.

All this being said, there are many freelance IT help desk jobs available, so working from home is a possibility that can suit more experienced agents.

Freelance IT Help Desk Jobs

Are you interested in IT help desk jobs you can do from home?

Let’s see the positive and negative sides of freelancing so that you can decide whether it’s a good match for you.

Pros of Freelance IT Help Desk Jobs

  • Work from anywhere
  • Flexible schedule and lifestyle
  • Freedom to choose your projects and clients – more meaningful work and fulfillment
  • Variety of projects – more valuable experience and a diversified job portfolio
  • No commute – and no need to live in the big city (where there might be pollution, more expenses, noise, etc.)
  • Less stress
  • Monetize multiple talents
  • No face-to-face contacts (might be a pro or a con)

Sounds great, right? But not so fast. Here come the downsides.

Cons of Freelance IT Help Desk Jobs

  • Unpredictable income, healthcare, and retirement
  • Lack of job security – freelancers can end up having extended periods without any suitable projects to work on
  • Fair wages concerns

Conclusion

A good IT technician approaches customers with empathy, doesn’t complain about tough customers, and learns from each situation.

Some clients become easily frustrated, so you need to be able to diffuse their negative feelings.

The best-case scenario is to strive to find the perfect balance between solving problems globally (by updating knowledge base information or filing a bug or feature request) and prioritizing your day. It’s crucial to not dive too deeply into one problem and forget about other customers.

Also, help desk technicians need to be good team players and have each other’s back.

Last but not least, quality over quantity. Even if you have a long list of tickets, it’s important to take your time – give quality support and leave customers happy.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of whether IT help desk jobs are for you.

So, ask yourself – do you want to combine your two passions – technology and helping people?

Yes? Then go ahead!

You can find your dream job here on Leftronic.

Good luck!

FAQ

Q: What is a help desk technician?
A: A help desk technician troubleshoots technical issues for end-users who need help with their computer software or hardware. There are two types of technicians. Remote help desk technicians are available via phone, online, and occasionally on-site. Meanwhile, in-house technicians offer support only to internal employees.

Q: What certifications do you need for IT help desk?
A: Not all employers require a specific certification, but it’s a good idea to get at least one. The most common are HubSpot Academy, ITIL Foundation, Google IT Support, CompTIA A+, Udemy IT Help Desk Professional, Network+, HDI-CSR, MCSA: Windows 10, and MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure. 

Q: What is the average salary for an IT help desk?
A: The average salary for an IT help desk analyst is $18.05 per hour.

The salary goes up with experience, of course. That of a new help desk analyst is $17.91 per hour, while a senior help desk analyst gets $20.37 per hour.

Entry-level help desk technicians with less than 1 year of experience earn an average of $15.15.

An early career technician with 1-4 years of experience earns $16.42.

A mid-career help desk analyst with 5-9 years of experience earns $18.72.

An experienced one with 10-19 years of experience earns an average of $20.20.

Late career (20 years of experience and up) employees get an average of $22.

Q: What qualifications do you need to be a help desk technician?
A: An Associate or Bachelor’s degree is desirable but not a must. Some employees hire even high school leavers if they’ve got some experience. It’s also a plus to gain some kind of certification like CompTIA or even Cisco. Check employers’ requirements because they can vary.
Q: How much do help desk jobs pay?
A: IT help desk jobs pay between $27,074 – $52,262 depending on your level of experience. The state and city you’re in also have some impact on the average annual salary.

In Seattle, salaries are on average 27.1% higher than the national average.

In Washington, this percentage is 20.3%.

New York City offers 17.1% higher pay.

In San Diego, you can expect 16% more, while in LA that’s 10%.

In Chicago and Houston, you get 5% higher than the average.