A career in technical support can be highly rewarding, and can provide the basis for advancement into technical manager roles. A technical support career can vary from low level work through to more advanced graduate level jobs, with duties ranging from fielding calls through to troubleshooting databases and building software apps for large companies. Although the market for a career in technical support is competitive, the right mixture of skills, and a commitment to setting yourself apart in your applications can deliver significant earnings. Some ways to approach a career in technical support include:
1 – Qualifications
Low level tech support jobs do not necessarily require you to have detailed knowledge, or specific qualifications. However, for longer-term tech support careers, it is advisable to have a computer science degree, as well as postgraduate degrees if you want to specialise in a particular field. Moreover, it is worth getting certification in Oracle, Microsoft and Cisco platforms. Evidence of personal projects, past experience of PC and laptop repair, and the development of apps and databases can also make a difference to applications.
2 – Different Tiers
It’s important to understand some of the different tiers involved in tech support. As previously noted, Level 1 tech support tends to be low paid and driven by helpdesk support and call centre work. However, higher-end jobs that require more specialist knowledge and skills can start at £15,000 to £30,000, and can be designed to offer progression to more managerial roles. Expertise in COMPTIA A+ and MCST, as well as Microsoft SQL is often required for these jobs. The ability to provide troubleshooting and security fixes for companies can push you into managerial and administrator positions, and lucrative salaries.
3 – Daily Expectations
The day to day experience of working in technical support can vary quite significantly. At a basic level, work may involve answering queries and fixing errors. Further up the pay scale, you may have to deal with more remote access queries, as well as delivering on site support and hardware changes. However, being in technical support will demand good interpersonal skills if you want to take on more of an administrative role.
4 – Focus on Key Skills
When applying for technical support jobs, it’s vital that you highlight key skills on your CV, and tie together any past experience into evidence of a career plan. Sign up for job forum sites, and join communities that can help you to develop your profile. Similarly, look to build up general interview skills, and make sure that you don’t include errors in your CV or covering letters.
5 – Long Term Commitment
A long term career in technical support will mean having to keep up to date with the field, and networking in order to put yourself in a position to develop a profile. Joining professional organisations, attending conferences, as well as initiating projects as part of your job, will help you to stand out from the competition and increase your chances of career advancement.
Previously self training for a technical support placement, Matt Mynors is a freelance copywriter currently writing for leading UK based support agency Computrad Europe, providing industry leading and professionally managed IT services.