Computer support engineer
Computer & Systems Management

Computer support services engineers help customers or colleagues with their computer needs. They install, demonstrate, maintain and update computer equipment and software.

Some computer support services engineers provide assistance through telephone helplines.

Work Activities

Computer support services engineers look after the IT needs of colleagues within the same organisation or external customers or clients.

They give advice on all aspects of the installation and use of computers. Some provide support through a phone/email helpline, answering queries from simple questions to complex, highly technical problems.

Computer support services engineers also install software, making sure that it works properly.

Maintenance and servicing of equipment involves routine testing, identification of faults and sometimes the replacement of faulty parts.

If equipment breaks down during operation, the engineer may be able to diagnose and repair any minor faults there and then. Or, they may have to refer more complex faults on.

They may also work on related equipment, such as printers.

Computer support services engineers may produce technical material, including manuals, to help customers understand their software.

Some engineers go out to customers' premises to fix problems.

It's important for engineers to keep up to date with developments in information technology.

Personal Qualities and Skills

  • A sound technical background in ICT.
  • To be knowledgeable about the products or services provided to customers/colleagues, as well as keeping up to date with any new developments.
  • To understand hardware and software, as both of these can cause operating faults.
  • Good analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Patience and perseverance for solving problems.
  • A logical, methodical approach to your work.
  • Tact and consideration to work with clients.
  • Strong communication skills, especially when explaining technical information.
  • To be able to remain calm under pressure.
  • A reasonable level of fitness, for moving equipment.
  • Good time management skills to meet users' needs and problems.
  • A driving licence is required where work involves travelling to clients' premises.

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of computer support engineers

Employers are firms in industry and commerce, from large multinational corporations to small computer-system suppliers. Other employers include banks, building societies, insurance companies, local and central government departments, the NHS and public utilities - any type of organisation where computers are used.

Qualifications

There is no formal academic requirement for entry to this career. However, most entrants have at least 4 GCSEs or National 4/5s (or equivalent) at grade C or above, including Maths and English.

Some have higher qualifications, including A levels / Highers, an HND or degree, for example, in electronic engineering, computer science or computer engineering.

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