Help Desk Assistant Job Description
Help desk assistants provide technical support to customers and staff members, troubleshooting problems, assisting with account set up, and performing various software functions. Help desk assistants are hired by companies of all types to work full- and part-time hours during all shifts, including nights and weekends. Help desk assistants primarily work in office environments, but some professionals work remotely over the phone and through online chat software as independent contractors. Help desk assistants primarily report to help desk supervisors.
Help Desk Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
Help desk assistants perform various daily duties depending on the software programs they provide support for and the technical questions they answer. However, these core duties are common across the board:
Provide Technical Assistance
Help desk assistants provide technical assistance of all kinds, such as assisting customers with account creation and other software-specific functions. They provide this assistance over the phone and through email and other messaging applications.
Help desk assistants troubleshoot problems and find fixes for them while relaying information to customers or staff members, such as why the problem occurred and how to resolve the issue.
Help desk assistants log communications to keep a detailed record of all problems diagnosed and fixed.
Install Computer Programs
Help desk assistants install software programs and updates to fix problems and resolve technical issues.
Perform User Account Maintenance
Help desk assistants perform account maintenance in the user database. This includes deleting users, adding new users, and updating user information in the system.
Help Desk Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Help desk assistants use their ability to isolate problems to provide technical assistance to computer users. Employers prefer candidates who have the following skills:
- Customer service – help desk assistants provide high-quality customer service over the phone and online to resolve tech issues
- Computer skills – help desk assistants answer technical questions, explain how to perform specific software functions, and train clients to use computer systems, so employers prefer professionals with demonstrated computer competency
- Communication skills – understanding computer problems and clearly relaying instructions to solve these issues requires excellent communication
- Analytical thinking – help desk assistants analyze computer problems based on information they’re given, which requires a high degree of analytical skill and the ability to think critically
- Attention to detail – help desk assistants pay constant and close attention to small details to find and isolate technical problems
Help Desk Assistant Education and Training
Many employers have flexible education requirements for help desk assistants. Some employers will accept candidates with a high school diploma, as long as they also have past work experience in help desk support or technical support of some kind. Employers who hire help desk assistants with little to no work experience look for professionals with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in information technology or a similar discipline.
Training is given to help desk assistants once hired. During this on-the-job training period, help desk assistants become familiar with specific software programs and technical information relevant to the particular questions and problems they’ll be resolving. While in training, these assistants work closely with senior help desk staff or the help desk supervisor to learn how to solve common customer issues and tech problems.
Help Desk Assistant Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer support specialists receive a median annual income of $52,810. Like help desk assistants, computer support specialists provide technical support and advice to computer users. The BLS estimates the number of computer support specialists will rise 11 percent through 2026. This rate is faster than the national average.
Some employers give full-time help desk assistants basic benefits packages that include major medical insurance and paid vacation days. Large companies provide additional job perks like wellness program enrollment, reduced or free gym memberships, cafeteria meal discounts, and financial support for continuing education. Help desk assistants who work on an independent contractor basis do not receive benefits and must manage their own insurance and vacation needs.
Find training courses, reference tools, job strategies, and skill-building tips for help desk assistants using these books and websites:
HDI: The Association for Technical Support Professionals – HDI has a full library of resources for support specialists, including webinars, research briefs, and white pages. Here you can also find online courses, certification programs, and networking event dates
A Guide to Computer User Support for Help Desk and Support Specialists – help desk and support specialists will find tips and techniques in this guidebook, which offers strategies for troubleshooting, problem-solving, communicating, and prioritizing, all skills that help desk assistants need to have
Technology Services Industry Association – find training webinars, education services, data analytics tools, and more resources for tech support and help desk professionals at TSIA
Effective Help Desk Specialist Skills – this book serves as a guide for all beginning help desk assistants and other professionals. It includes in-depth details for taking customer calls, communicating with customers, researching technical information, diagnosing technical problems, and finding ways to solve tech problems
Association of Support Professionals – stay up to date on news and events in the tech industry and find training conferences at the ASP website
IT Help Desk: Your Blueprint to Service Success, Mastering User Support & Troubleshooting Like a Genius – learn how to master tech support services with this book, which offers strategies for troubleshooting, solving problems, and satisfying customers
Help Desk Assistant Resume Help
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