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Top Software Support Analyst
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Support Analyst Duties and Responsibilities
The support analyst's specific duties depend on their organization's area of focus, but many of these core responsibilities are the same across industries:
Field Incoming Help Requests The primary duty of the support analyst is responding to user queries and help requests, which can arrive by email, through the IT help desk, or over the phone. The support analyst gathers information related to incidents or issues, then determines the root cause of the problem and devises solutions to resolve the user's issue. They also manage the flow of incoming support requests and escalate issues to other IT specialists.
Deploy Solutions to User Issues Support analysts directly resolve the user's technical issues if possible. This can include remotely accessing the user's computer to examine their settings and system. If the problem is simple to resolve, the support analyst may walk the user through steps they can take to resolve the issue on their own. In either case, the support analyst attempts to quickly develop and introduce a solution to the problem without further IT department involvement.
Prepare Service Records Support analysts maintain detailed records of user issues with software and hardware and use these notes to diagnose and repair complex problems. They may also provide these reports to the IT department to track problems reported by multiple users. Additionally, the support analyst may examine records of a user's history of software or hardware problems and offer suggestions to prevent future issues.
Oversee Escalations The support analyst may escalate complex issues or problems outside of their field of expertise to IT support specialists. These escalations usually include notes related to the problem, records of unsuccessful solutions, and any data they've gathered related to the user's problem. On occasion, the support analyst may also retrieve the user's computer so that IT specialists can analyze the system and enact a solution to the problem.
Develop IT Documents Many support analysts also support IT department operations and best practices by creating, editing, and distributing IT-related documents. These can include FAQ documents that cover common errors and known issues and provide guidance on resolving them, as well as help sheets that are used by personnel across the organization. Within the IT department, the support analyst maintains documents containing procedures and best practices.
Perform System Testing and Updates Finally, support analysts conduct periodic system tests and deploy updates to applications, servers, and hardware. They may also manage troubleshooting activities and ensure that software or hardware updates do not cause unforeseen problems elsewhere within the system or result in excessive downtime. In addition, they may provide user support during update and installation procedures for software and peripherals.
Support Analyst Skills and QualificationsSupport analysts provide day-to-day user support, relying on their technical abilities and knowledge to resolve IT-related issues. Companies tend to hire candidates with at least an associate's degree and the following skills:
- Technical skills - excellent technical and computer skills are vital in this role, since support analysts work directly with users to resolve software and hardware issues
- Team collaboration - support analysts tend to work within larger teams of IT professionals to resolve user issues, so effective collaboration within the department is essential
- Problem-solving skills - this role requires excellent technical and creative problem-solving skills, since support analysts develop and deploy solutions to user issues and conduct troubleshooting
- Time management - support analysts typically handle multiple user issues at once, so they should be able to effectively manage their time, set priorities, and resolve problems in a timely manner
- Communication skills - effective communication is vital in this role, since support analysts prepare and maintain reports about problems and frequently talk users through steps they can take to resolve software and hardware issues
Support Analyst Education and TrainingSupport analysts typically need at least an associate's degree in a related field. A bachelor's degree in a subject such as computer science or information systems can enhance employment and advancement opportunities. Support analysts should also be familiar with computer software and hardware, and applicants who have completed computer classes may be able to secure a support analyst position without a degree. In addition, support analysts can obtain certifications from several different organizations.
Support Analyst Salary and OutlookThe Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that computer support specialists (a field that includes support analysts) earn a median annual salary of $52,810. The highest-paid workers in this role earn over $82,900 per year, while the lowest-paid 10 percent earn less than $30,550. The BLS expects employment in this field to grow 11 percent through 2026, which is a slightly higher rate than the average for all jobs.
If you're interested in learning more about a career as a support analyst, we found several resources on the web for further reading and information:
Association of Information Technology Professionals - this professional organization provides opportunities to connect with other support analysts, access continuing education materials, and learn about industry developments
ITSM QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner's Guide to IT Service Management - support analysts can use this quick reference guide to learn best practices and procedures for providing user support and resolving a variety of computer issues
CompTIA IT Fundamentals - CompTIA offers a certification course that covers the support analyst's duties, providing hands-on examples and guidance for resolving user issues and managing a help desk queue
IT Help Desk: Your Blueprint to Service Success, Mastering User Support & Troubleshooting Like A Genius - this book provides support analysts and IT technicians with up-to-date information on help desk management and exceptional user support
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