IT technical support officer
Computer & Systems Management
IT technical support officers make sure that companies' computer systems are kept as reliable and efficient as possible.
The work typically involves:
- installing and configuring computer hardware, software, systems, networks, printers and scanners
- planning and undertaking scheduled maintenance upgrades
- setting up accounts for staff, ensuring that they know how to log in
- solving password problems
- talking to clients and computer users to determine the nature of any problems they encounter
- responding to breakdowns
- investigating, diagnosing and solving computer software and hardware faults
- repairing equipment and replacing parts
- supervising junior engineering and technical staff
- obtaining replacement or specialist components, fixtures or fittings
- checking computer equipment for electrical safety
- maintaining records of software licences
- managing stocks of equipment, consumables and other supplies.
Shift and on-call work may be required, particularly where computing equipment is in continual 24-hour operation.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for technical support officers
- Technical and analytical skills
- Organisational skills
- Interpersonal and communication skills
- Problem-solving skills
- A meticulous and methodical nature
- Attention to detail
- A logical mind
- The ability to work well under pressure
- Enthusiasm for continual learning
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of technical support officers
All large or medium-sized organisations that use computer systems will need IT support but local authorities, the NHS, academic establishments and private IT companies are key employers.
Vacancies are advertised online, by careers services and recruitment agencies, in newspapers and publications such as Computing and Computer Weekly, plus their respective websites. It is worthwhile attending on-campus company presentations and applying early for advertised positions. Further information is available in TARGETjobs IT & Technology.
Qualifications and training required
There are routes into this career for both school leavers and university graduates.
It is sometimes possible to enter the profession with a degree or higher national diploma (HND) in any subject. However, some employers prefer graduates with qualifications in relevant subjects such as computing, computer science, IT, software engineering, electronic engineering or maths. The computing world evolves very quickly and new technologies are always being developed, so it is important that candidates keep their IT knowledge up to date.
It is also sometimes possible to enter this career without a degree or HND, although exact requirements vary from employer to employer.
Prior work experience gained in any position involving contact with customers or the general public can be advantageous. You can also apply for IT and technology-related industrial placements, summer internships and insight programmes.