Help Desk Positions You for Tech Career Advancement
Editor’s note: This is the last in a four-part blog series called “Help Desk 101.”
Throughout the series, CompTIA Tech Career Academy has explored how starting work in the IT industry as a help desk technician develops your hard technical skills and soft professional skills, and positions you for future career advancement in both responsibility and salary.
Besides being the perfect springboard to a long-term tech career, help desk jobs abound and can be readily secured with CompTIA A+ certification.
In this post, CompTIA Tech Career Academy explores how the help desk positions you for career and salary advancement within IT.
Help Wanted: No college degree or previous experience required. $25 an hour, plus benefits.
The information technology industry is hiring — and a great start to a lucrative and rewarding tech career can be found on the help desk.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 800,000 help desk positions remain vacant throughout the country. That number is expected to increase by 10 percent next year.
Why is the help desk such a great “foot in the door” to an IT career?
1. No college degree or previous IT experience is necessary.
As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics points out, a help desk employee — or computer user support specialist, to use an industry term — needs to have a basic understanding of technology. But that doesn’t mean you need a college degree or previous tech experience.
Certification that demonstrates broad foundational tech skills — such as CompTIA’s vendor-neutral A+ certification – shows you can support end-users having problems with their desktops, laptops, mobile phones, printers and other devices.
“I can’t think of a time since America’s manufacturing industry was at its zenith when someone without a related college degree or prior work experience could secure such a well-paying job,” said Charles Eaton, CEO of CompTIA Tech Career Academy. “Help desk jobs pay living wages and many provide a full array of benefits. For people struggling to make ends meet working in service or gig roles, the help desk offers the possibility of financial security.”
2. Help desk jobs are everywhere.
Help desk jobs abound, and they aren’t affiliated only with tech companies.
“Pretty much every medium-sized company or larger offers its employees help desk functionality,” Eaton said. “This includes banks and hospitals, utility companies and universities. You do not have to work for a tech company to work on a help desk.”
3. A help desk role broadens the knowledge you bring to it.
On a help desk, your daily responsibilities will include running diagnostics and troubleshooting systems; installing software; updating computer hardware; helping new employees set up office systems; training employees in new technologies; and providing technical support over the phone or Internet.
“Coming into a help desk role possessing fundamental knowledge like the CompTIA A+ certification, you already will know how to perform many of these tasks,” Eaton said. “But experience is the best teacher, and with each ticket you complete, you will discover and learn and grow as a technologist, making you even more valuable to your employer.”
4. A help desk role allows you to discover your tech niche.
Most specialists who work on a help desk find the experience helps them identify the aspect of information technology that appeals most.
“While working as a help desk technologist, you may learn you have a real knack for networking or servers,” Eaton said. “Or maybe you’d like to be a white-hat hacker and build your security expertise to protect companies and people from harm. You might find that cloud infrastructure is what you enjoy the most.”
If you know what tech specialties interest you most, CompTIA offers free advice and insight into career pathways — so you can understand what certifications can propel your career forward in terms of responsibility and salary.
“One person could spend their entire career on a help desk and find that completely fulfilling, whereas another person might want something different,” Eaton said. “The beauty of the tech industry is that no matter what your individual interest — or your experience — you can find work that is professionally rewarding and that pays family-sustaining wages.”
To help you start your career on the IT help desk, CompTIA Tech Career Academy — CompTIA Tech, for short — offers an intense, 8-week program, IT-Ready Technical Support. It combines practical knowledge, technical expertise, soft skills development and career services. At the end of the training, participants sit for the CompTIA A+ certification exam. To learn more about CompTIA Tech or to apply, visit https://www.comptiatech.org/apply.