Information Technology Assistant Job Description
Information technology assistants, or IT assistants, provide support for IT departments in a number of organizations and industries. This role ensures that computers and networks work consistently and correctly by directly installing programs, configuring computer systems and networks, and providing assistance to end users. Information technology assistants tend to be IT generalists, able to respond to user issues across the organization and provide ongoing support to maintain networks and servers.
This role balances deep knowledge of IT processes and procedures with effective communication and user support. Information technology assistants are often the IT department’s front line, working directly with users to resolve issues and keep systems working as intended.
Information Technology Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
While an information technology assistant’s role can depend largely on their specific organization, most of these core duties exist in any enterprise:
Install and Configure Networks
One of the main duties of an information technology assistant is setting up and configuring office-wide networks. An IT assistant sets up work stations and makes required connections for hardwired systems, configures wireless access and network security, and ensures that users can connect to the internet and access shared devices like office printers and servers.
Deploy and Update Programs
IT assistants install, maintain, and update programs on end users’ computers and on the organization’s network. They may set up antivirus programs to prevent intrusions or unauthorized access, install job-specific programs on personnel computers, or establish shared folders to support information-sharing within the organization. IT assistants also prepare and deploy system-wide updates according to department timelines.
Set Up Computers and Equipment
In many organizations, information technology assistants assist users with setting up computers and peripheral equipment, such as printers and cameras. This process usually involves setting up user accounts, ensuring that necessary software is installed and working, and maintaining access to servers and programs. IT assistants also help users migrate to new computers without losing data.
Provide User Support
IT assistants provide day-to-day support to end users across the organization. They may help diagnose connectivity or program access issues, answer questions about programs or policies, and help users access shared printers and other network devices. In larger organizations, an information technology assistant may use an IT help desk interface to work with users and resolve issues, while an IT assistant at a smaller office may work at the user’s desk.
Monitor IT Inventory
Information technology assistants ensure that IT departments have necessary equipment and accessories on hand by periodically auditing the department’s inventory and maintaining records of equipment requests from users. This can include monitoring the department’s supply of Ethernet cables, peripheral devices, and computers loaned to employees while their regular devices are undergoing repair or maintenance.
Troubleshoot Systems and Hardware
Information technology assistants also support IT efforts by troubleshooting systems and hardware, particularly after server migration or an organization-wide update. The IT assistant identifies issues with new hardware or software and works with users or on the back end of servers to quickly resolve those issues and prevent delays. IT assistants may also prepare reports on hardware and software issues as part of this role.
Information Technology Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Information technology assistants provide direct user support by installing, configuring, and maintaining a variety of hardware and software. Companies typically hire IT assistants with at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, along with the following skills:
- Hardware and software configuration – information technology assistants should be knowledgeable about hardware and software configuration for servers, networks, computers, and peripherals
- Troubleshooting – troubleshooting users’ computers and devices is a major part of this role, so IT assistants should have experience with identifying problems and resolving user issues
- Software and hardware installation – because they directly install programs and connect hardware for individual users and organization-wide systems, information technology assistants also need experience installing a variety of programs and devices
- Communication skills – effective written and verbal communication skills are vital in this role, since IT assistants work directly with users and IT department personnel
- Time management – an IT assistant moves between duties and responsibilities throughout the day, so they need strong time management and prioritization skills
Information Technology Assistant Education and Training
While most information technology assistants have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as computer science, many companies hire candidates with an associate’s degree and relevant experience. There are many opportunities for on-the-job training in this role, especially since organizations have different structures and IT needs. IT assistants with at least a bachelor’s degree can improve their prospects of moving into a more senior position in the IT department, such as network administrator.
Information Technology Assistant Salary and Outlook
Information technology assistant salaries can depend on a company’s size and location, as well as the employee’s level of education and expertise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that computer support specialists (including information technology assistants) earn a median annual salary of $52,160. The BLS further categorizes this role into computer network support specialists, with a median annual salary of $62,670; and computer user support specialists, with a median annual salary of $49,390.
The BLS projects employment growth of 11 percent in this field by 2026, as companies increasingly rely on computer networks and IT departments.
We found a number of resources on the web if you’d like to learn more about working as an information technology assistant:
Association of Information Technology Professionals – information technology assistants can join AITP to connect with other professionals, access continuing education materials, and keep up with industry developments
Information Technology Essentials: Basic Foundations for Information Technology Professionals – familiarize yourself with IT concepts and best practices with this comprehensive primer
IT Business Edge – read the latest news in the IT field, along with blogs from professionals and experts
Getting Started in the Information Technology Field: With or Without a Technical Degree – author Gale R. Stafford provides information about starting a career in IT and advice on standing out from other applicants
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