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Information Security Engineer
Morrisville, North Carolina
Unfortunately, Help Desk technician jobs are typically seen as entry level positions. They are good jobs to get your foot in the door, get some experience under your belt, and maybe learn more about what you do and don't like about the IT field in general. Help Desk can be difficult because many times you are dealing with end users to resolve technical issues and the end user doesn't know enough to give you the right information. So, there's a skill to learning how to ask the right questions and lead the user a bit to giving you what you need to know. End users can also be notoriously difficult to deal with. in general. Depending on what resource you look at, starting salary for help desk jobs may be in the mid $20,000 range with a median National salary of close to $45,000 a year. There are support engineering positions where you support specific products or product lines for specific customers which is a much more advanced position than a typical help desk position. My experience with talking to new employees in those roles are telling me they're ranging from $50,000 - $60,000 starting out.
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IT Client Experience Specialist
Help Desk Technician is like other technical jobs which you can get a good pay if you work in the right place.
But before getting into the right place, you need to prepare yourself by gaining hard, soft, and people skills, plus the experiences. Because Help Desk Technicians do not work alone with machines but also with humans, so if you can translate technical terms into layman's terms (back and forth), you have another value.
I am an IT support (another Help Desk Technician-like job) growing and living in Thailand, so another important skill is English which helps you land yourself into MNCs (Multi-National Companies) where they mostly pay better than local companies.
You live in the States where the culture is totally different, but I believe that the general concepts can be applied.
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professor daniel billings
Adjunct Professor specializing in all STEAM educational topics
professor daniel’s Answer
Yes it is a challenging position with a need to understand many device configurations.
The compensations are very well paid as mentioned above from a few other contributors....
One of my first jobs was working on a Service Desk! As Ken mentions working on a Service Desk is great to get a broad overview and introduction. You can generally look to join two types of Help Desk; an internal one that is a single point of contact that helps support the employees of an organization. Here at Cisco, we have an internal Help Desk I can call if for example my email stops working or my laptop breaks. The second type is working on a Help Desk for a specific product/s or technology. Again for example here at Cisco, we have other help desks for particular products that allow our end-customers can ring us should they have a problem with a Cisco product. Either type of Help Desk is great, I started on an internal Desk Help and was great to get a broad introduction to IT, I then later moved to a product-specific help desk.
Three useful things to know if you are considering a role on a Help Desk. 1) ITIL is a great certification to aim to get at some point. It is a framework that teaches you how companies deliver IT services (either for customers or within their own organizations internally). It also will allow you to appreciate the other teams that the Help Desk works with typically (e.g. an incident management team) - you can find out more here: https://www.axelos.com/best-practice-solutions/itil. It is recognized in the US in most large companies.
2) You can break most enterprise Help Desks into levels as below - most start out at 1st Line Support (you may aim for this too) a) 1st Line Support - usually, when you contact a help desk for the first time, the person you speak to communicate with is a '1st line support' person, 1st line support could be located anywhere and are often remote. They are high level, general and aim to fix your problem, but if they cannot they are responsible for referring to someone else more knowledgable or specialized in the issue you reported - i.e., they will probably refer you to someone in 2nd Line Support. a) 2nd Line Support - typically, 2nd line support is more specialized or knowledgable in certain areas than a 1st line support person and can often be regionally close to where you are or possibly on-site with you if you are in an office. 2nd Line Support resources are not deep in the technical detail so they will continue to troubleshoot the issue and investigate and if they cannot resolve the issue then they will pass your request to a 3rd line support resource which is typically the last line of support needed. a) 3rd Line Support - 3rd Line Support is a specialized resource typically in a specific area or areas (e.g., specialized in printers, laptops, or the specific software product you have an issue with) and should be able to identify the issue or help investigate the issue to understand the problem and any potential fixes.
3) Help Desk and Service Desk are discreetly different terms - essentially a Help Desk is set up to respond to issues and things that have broken whereas a Service Desk can do the same as a service desk but also deal with things that aren't issues but new requests (e.g., I need a brand new laptop or to purchase and install some new software) - this is a useful link for more: https://www.atlassian.com/it-unplugged/itsm/help-desk-vs-service-desk-vs-itsm
I hope this has helped give some more light on Help Desks and resources that work on them.