IT Help Desk Support Job Description

IT help desk support staff helps end users efficiently use IT hardware and software. Most midsize and large companies have IT help desk support staff to address internal hardware and software issues and help employees with general IT questions. Additionally, hardware and software companies have their own dedicated IT help desk to help external users of their products. Since technology is used in most industries, IT help desk support staff can find themselves employed within a wide variety of industries. They are also employed directly by software and hardware companies. IT help desk support staff spends most of their days at a desk behind a computer. Those who work for corporations work standard office hours, but those who work as direct support for hardware and software companies may have to work evenings and overnight shifts.

The role of IT help desk support staff is a junior level position. They typically work under the direction of an IT support manager. Senior IT help desk support staff are paid more and have more complex responsibilities. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for computer support specialists, which includes IT help desk support staff, is set to rise 10 percent through 2026.


IT Help Desk Support Staff Duties and Responsibilities

IT help desk support staff deals with tasks related to helping end-users use hardware and software properly. We analyzed several IT help desk support staff job descriptions and came up with the following list of the most important IT help desk support staff duties and responsibilities”

Interview Users to Determine the Scope of the Issue

IT help desk support staff is a customer service role. To provide good support, they have to be good listeners. This duty requires active listening skills to understand and to remedy the problem.

Diagnose the Root Cause of Hardware and Software Issues

IT help desk support staff has to use problem-solving and analytical skills to troubleshoot hardware and software to find the root cause of the issue. They either address the issue or hand the problem to someone who is more qualified.

Resolve Basic Hardware and Software Issues

IT help desk support staff is responsible for taking care of basic hardware and software tasks. This includes first-run installations and regular updates of all software, as well as hard-wiring new machines such as CPUs, monitors, printers, scanners, and copiers to their employer’s network. This requires knowledge of WAN and LAN.

Hand Complex Issues up the Chain of Command

Some IT issues are too complex to be handled by IT support desk staff. In these cases, they are responsible for keeping the user calm while handing the issue to their direct supervisor.

Train Users on New Hardware and Software

Internal IT help desk support staff is responsible for training all employees on new hardware and software. This involves designing and implementing a specific training strategy for each project.


IT Help Desk Support Skills

While one may think of this role as strictly a technical position, it does require some soft skills to be successful. On the technical side, IT help desk support staff has to possess a working knowledge of WAN and LAN to address network connectivity issues. They also have to be experts in the software used by their employer—which ranges from common commercial software to specialized proprietary software. Those who have an analytical mind and thrive as problem-solvers do well in this position. In addition to these traits, the following skills are needed to find employment as IT help desk support staff:

  • Listening actively to and documenting user issues for use in troubleshooting
  • Troubleshooting hardware and software issues using IT knowledge
  • Exhibiting patience with users during training and troubleshooting


IT Help Desk Support Tools of the Trade

  • Help desk software – help desk software is used to document customer queries, assign queries to technicians, and keep track of query statuses


IT Help Desk Support Education and Training

It may be possible to get an IT help desk support position with just a high school diploma if one has the right technical knowledge, but many candidates have at least an associate’s degree in information technology or computer science.


IT Help Desk Support Salary

According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median salary for computer support specialists, which includes IT help desk support staff, is $52,160. Those in the bottom 10 percent make less than $29,440, while those in the top 10 percent make above $82,160.


IT Help Desk Support Resources

Many careers in IT begin with the IT help desk support position. Check out the following list of resources if you’re interested in pursuing a career in information technology:

Association for Information Technology Professionals – The Association for Information Technology Professionals has been around since the 1950s and has more than 30 local chapters around the country. This organization values IT education and provides a platform for IT educators to publish their latest research. It also holds several events throughout the year that let students, educators, and practicing IT professionals mingle with each other.

ZDNet – ZDNet has been reporting on the world of information technology since 1991. Its articles cover the entire spectrum of topics related to the IT industry. While some of this information doesn’t apply directly to IT help desk support staff, it is a good blog to follow to keep up with industry trends.

Nerds on Call – Nerds on Call is the blog of an IT consulting firm. It is updated on a regular basis with educational articles, and it has a section of how-to articles for tinkering with technology. It’s a good read for the more technical aspects of being IT help desk support staff.

The Compassionate Geek: How Engineers, IT Pros and Other Tech Specialists can Master Human Relations Skills to Deliver Outstanding Customer Service – To succeed in the role of IT help desk support staff requires more than just technical knowledge; it takes someone who is a good communicator. This book is a great read and reference resource for those who want to improve their communication and customer service skills.

A+ Guide to IT Technical Support (Hardware and Software) – The 9th edition of this top industry resource contains comprehensive visual guides that break down maintenance and management of the most common hardware and software. It is a good desk resource for IT help desk support staff.


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