IT help desk jobs can be a career in themselves, or a stepping stone to some other areas in the IT field. They can range from in-house to online help desk support for a single company or, thanks to help desk outsourcing, support and consulting for many companies.
Obviously, with such variation in the jobs, the skills needed to do them vary accordingly, but here is a look at some skills common to all help desk jobs.
Computer knowledge To work in the IT help desk support, you need to be able to use troubleshoot, and repair computers and computer equipment. Not only do you need to be capable of doing it yourself though, in many jobs, it will be necessary to be able to walk an unskilled end user through simple troubleshooting and repair procedures over the telephone or Internet. This brings us to the next skill that all help desk jobs require.
Communication and the ability to listen to people
Help desk work is, in many cases, more about dealing with people than it is about fixing hardware. Having the ability to listen to an end user's problem, usually in nontechnical language, translate it, then form a response that they can understand and implement, can be far more challenging than the actual hardware malfunction itself.
Capacity of a good help desk service What truly separates good help desk service though, isn't just the ability to fix the problem. If the support desk personnel is capable of preventing the problem from reoccurring by teaching the end user what went wrong and how to prevent it in the future, they not only provide a better service to the user, but make their own job much easier.
Company policy This requires a bit of judgment and an understanding of company policy, because every user and employer is different, but a knowledgeable end user is, usually, both more productive and easier to work with in the future.
Organising the paperwork Call logs, help desk tickets, maintenance schedules, data backups, and hardware/software upgrades are are just a few things that the help desk personnel may need to keep track of on a daily basis. Add to this the fact that it may be for several companies at a time and it becomes obvious that it can be quickly overwhelming for someone who doesn't have or follow a planned tracking procedure, paperwork is a must.