Help Desk Analyst Job Description

Looking for a career that combines your desire to help people with your knowledge of computer systems? Consider working as a help desk analyst. Also referred to as a technical support specialist, these professionals often work in hectic environments and must provide quick solutions for customers with a wide variety of computer issues. They might be employed in the IT departments of large companies and provide support to in-house systems or work for software or hardware manufacturers offering assistance to customers who have purchased these products. Help desk analysts are often individuals who can think on their feet, be empathetic to others’ problems and show resolve in examining a computer issue in order to deliver a satisfactory solution.


Help Desk Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

Help desk analysts meet various responsibilities in order to serve customers and solve computer issues. After examining several job listings, we found these main duties to be most commonly associated with this job:

Provide Technical Support and Solutions

In this most crucial role, help desk analysts troubleshoot and offer viable solutions to various hardware and software problems. At this level, these professionals most often handle routine and basic technical issues that can be fixed in the course of a phone call. They apply their knowledge of particular software and hardware applications and follow standard practices to address user issues.

Test and Install Computer Systems and Software

Help desk analysts in corporate settings install and test systems and software inherent to in-house computer operations. They will provide systems upgrades, debug software and applications, and run diagnostics on computers as needed.

Maintain Records of Trends and Patterns in Computer Issues

Help desk analysts typically keep documentation regarding incoming calls and record specific issues to help identify any ongoing issues or patterns. They might create manuals to help address specific problems that can be distributed to other analysts to help resolve particular problems in a more timely and effective manner.

Collaborate with Senior Staff for Difficult Issues

Help desk analysts contact senior analysts and IT managers when assistance is needed with escalating or ongoing issues that cannot be resolved with typical solutions. Help desk analysts keep logs of these types of issues and must understand at what point more experienced help is needed to handle a specific computer issue. They provide senior staff with details about these issues and follow-up with both managers and customers to ensure resolution.

Assist with Onsite Support and Installations

In some cases, help desk analysts could be required to travel to customer locations to provide onsite repairs or installations. They might be part of a team of support specialists and computer technicians responsible for troubleshooting new installation issues and performing maintenance to prevent issues from arising with new hardware and software installs and upgrades.


Help Desk Analyst Skills and Qualifications

Analytical problem-solvers with a knowledge of computer hardware and software often make the best help desk analysts. Employers often look for job candidates with a combination of experience, a postsecondary degree, and the following skills:

  • Computer skills – strong knowledge of operating systems, networks, programming languages, firewalls, and routers are crucial for help desk analysts. They must be familiar with upgrades and installations and common technical issues that can arise with Windows, Cisco networks, mobile applications, and more
  • Communication – help desk analysts must be able to communicate clearly via telephone, email, or chats and display strong listening skills to fully understand a customer’s issues and needs
  • Organizational skills – keeping files on ongoing issues and notes about specific customer repairs are important in helping help desk analysts identify and correct problems and work seamlessly with other members of the help desk team
  • Customer service – help desk analysts must show patience, understanding, and empathy with customers at all times to make sure customers are taken care of in a timely and respectable manner
  • Troubleshooting – help desk analysts need to be familiar with all the steps in the troubleshooting process for all kinds of errors and computer issues to quickly and effectively resolve customer problems
  • Analytical – it is important that help desk analysts scrutinize every detail when confronted with a computer hardware and software issue to ensure that they are getting every piece of the puzzle in order to apply the best procedures for dealing with a particular problem
  • Multitasking – it is not uncommon for help desk analysts to work on two or even three issues on any given call; multitasking is an essential attribute for this profession


Help Desk Analyst Tools of the Trade

More often than not, help desk analysts use the following programs throughout their workday:

  • Microsoft Office applications (Outlook, Word, and Excel, most commonly)
  • Help desk software (such as FreshService, Zendesk, HEAT, TrackIT, and other ticketing software)


Help Desk Analyst Education and Training

Though a postsecondary degree is not always required by employers, candidates to fill positions as help desk analysts should have a background in technology or computer repair. Larger companies, such as software manufacturers, often require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology. Coursework helpful to this career includes software engineering, computer networking, and information security. Some software and computer manufacturing companies offer training in the troubleshooting and repair of their products. Certifications in networking and other areas can be helpful and even in some cases required.


Help Desk Analyst Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary for help desk analysts is $49,390. Those in the 10th percentile make $29,440 annually, while those in the top percent can earn a median annual wage of $82,160. Help desk analysts working for software publishers and in banking tend to make the highest mean annual wages in this field.

Help desk analysts typically work full-time hours and many enjoy various medical benefits as well as a 401K and tuition reimbursement, though the level of these benefits vary by company.

The BLS further reports that an 11 percent growth rate in employment is expected for this profession through 2026. The need for help desk analysts in IT consulting firms and an increase in cloud computing are believed to be the main factors in this projected growth rate. More than 830,000 help desk analysts are currently employed in the U.S.


Help Desk Analyst Resources

We have provided additional resources below that can help you learn more about what it takes to be a help desk analyst. Follow these links to review personal reflections, educational opportunities, professional development support, and more:

HDI, the Association for Technical Support Professionals – Established in 1989, HDI serves about 150,000 help desk analyst and related professionals with onsite and online training programs, webinars, conferences, forums and access to various supportive publications.

Help Desk Practitioner’s Handbook – Help desk training consultant Barbara Czegel takes you through the concerns and tools of a help desk analyst. You will review techniques for quickly and accurately resolving computer issues; develop effective listening habits; reduce call times; and much more. – Sort of a “help desk” for help desk analysts! Get industry resource news and links, such as information about upcoming national and international conferences and summits, using this website. Includes reviews of help desk software and vendor services.

Help Desk Interview – Check out this YouTube video offering an interview with a Comast help desk analyst; kind of a “day in the life of a help desk analyst” to help you understand what this profession entails.

Running an Effective Help Desk – From staff planning to outsourcing considerations, this book explores what it takes to manage a help desk. Contains real-world examples and templates so you can start to apply what you’ve learned to your professional work.

Introduction to Help Desk Concepts and Skills Great for potential or beginning help desk analysts, this book explores everything you would need to know to provide the technical support that leaves customers satisfied. Rude customers? Unrealistic expectations? Learn how to develop your listening skills and use the tools at your disposal to be the best help desk analyst you can be.


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