The role of a Technical Support Specialist within an organization is to provide assistance and maintenance to all computer systems and hardware. Their work may include installing, configuring, and updating hardware and software, as well as fixing any issue related to the equipment that may come up on a daily basis.
Most Technical Support Specialists work in two ways, providing assistance and support to the company itself or to outside customers from a help desk or over the phone in a call center or via email. Depending on how big the company is, the work of a Technical Support Specialist may span over several areas of expertise or just one. For example, some companies employ Technical Support Specialists to work on either computers or portable devices, whereas some others may require their employees to tend to all sorts of requests.
Technical Support Specialists are employed by all sorts of companies. As long as they use specialized software or hardware, they will require to have an IT team with a Technical Support Specialist among their staff. The most common types of companies are financial institutions, hotels, local government offices, and retailing chains, as well as some organizations where Technical Support Specialists work directly with customers like call centers, help desks, or technical workshops.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Technical Support Specialists are expected to complete.
- Installing, testing, and configuring new technology to be used by the company, such as hardware, operative systems, and programs or applications.
- Giving regular maintenance to existing hardware and computer systems.
- Providing assistance to company staff or clients with technology-related issues:
- Understanding the issue and its cause;
- solving the problem; and
- explaining the problem to the staff member or client in a simple way, using non-technical language.
- Troubleshooting systems and applications:
- Running diagnostics on malfunctioning hardware or software; and
- finding solutions for any issue and implementing it.
- Replacing damaged or malfunctioning parts on hardware when necessary:
- Ordering new parts when out of stock.
- Writing reports on the status of all hardware and software in the company.
- Keeping records of system changes and revisions.
- Implementing and assisting on the roll out of new applications or operating systems:
- Learning about the new application or operating systems;
- running tests before implementing them in all systems; and
- evaluating new applications or operative systems; and
- installing them on all systems in the company.
- Setting up profiles, emails, and issuing access passes for new employees and assisting in all password-related issues.
- Running security checks on all systems.
- Conducting electrical safety tests on all systems.
- Checking the status of all systems and hardware.
- Responding to help requests from staff members or clients.
- Installing and configuring new systems and hardware.
- Running reports on systems and hardware status.
- Replacing malfunctioning or damaged hardware.
- Troubleshooting software.
- Testing, assessing, and learning about updates and new technology.
The average Technical Support Specialist salary in USA is $42,446 per year or $22 per hour. This is around 1.5 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $30,000 while most experienced workers make up to $59,000. These results are based on 254 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding knowledge of computer hardware and systems:
- Being able to understand how hardware pieces work together; and
- understanding the basics of software programming and functions.
- Excellent problem-solving and analytical skills:
- Having a logical and analytical approach to problem-solving;
- taking special care of small details; and
- finding the right solutions by thinking creatively and outside the box.
- Good communication skills:
- Having excellent listening and enquiring skills to be able to understand issues when explained by someone without technical knowledge;
- having excellent manners when speaking with clients in person or over the phone; and
- being able to explain issues to coworkers, staff members, or clients in a clear and concise manner, using non-technical language.
- Great teamwork skills:
- Being able to help coworkers when needed; and
- working in tandem with coworkers on big projects.
- Good memory to remember hardware and systems specifications and procedures.
- Excellent time management skills and ability to work under pressure:
- Being able to work in stressful environments;
- assessing issues in a timely manner; and
- meeting deadlines.
- Outstanding customer service skills.
The use of technology and specialized equipment is becoming all the more essential for companies; therefore, it is necessary to have a specialist among their staff. They need someone who can fix and give proper maintenance to all the devices involved in the daily activities of the company, as well a person that tests new products and software, so they can be evaluated and suppliers can have an expert’s professional opinion. Given this necessity, it is no wonder why Technical Support Specialists are so highly demanded in the job market.
Working as a Technical Support Specialist is often the first step people take when entering the IT field. Candidates with a degree in Software Engineering, Information Technology, Computer Science, or any courses and certificates specializing in Computer Networking and Hardware might have better chances of getting selected. To make sure that all employees are on the same page, employers usually offer on-the-job training to familiarize applicants with the job environment and the company’s policies.
In the majority of the cases, most companies will require applicants to have 2 to 7 years of experience working in the IT field or with customer service for entry-level jobs. This experience can be obtained during internships or volunteer work that involved handling computer hardware or software. Employers also look for aspirants with wide knowledge in the specific programs, applications, or brands they work with, such as Cisco for networking or Oracle for databases. It is not uncommon to find a Technical Support Technician being self-employed or working from home for local customers.
Working as a Technical Support Specialist may require employees to work extra hours in order to meet deadlines. Depending on the size and type of organization, they might need to have a Technical Support Specialist on call at all times, so working night shifts should be expected. Moreover, some of these professionals may also visit their customers’ residences to assist with their computer issues, which can be related to connectivity, slow performance, or require system repairs. Additionally, some companies allow their IT Technical Support Specialist to telecommute.
A crucial part of the job of a Technical Support Specialist is to be able to work as fast as possible. Being the person in charge of maintaining and fixing equipment in a company, it is imperative that this job gets done quickly, especially if the malfunctioning computer is causing delays in the other daily tasks of the company. The same goes for client oriented Specialists, customer service standards state that all requirements must be met and solved in as little time as possible.
The nature of working in the IT field comes with some potential health hazards that may derive from sitting in front of a desk for long periods of time staring at a computer screen. Therefore, it is necessary to pay special attention to their visual and hearing health, as well as their verbal communication skills. Taking breaks during the work day is highly advisable. Technical Support Specialists need to take extra special care when their work includes lifting and handling heavy pieces of hardware and being in the low temperatures of servers’ rooms.