Skills Needed To Become An IT Support Specialist
IT support refers to various services which entities offer to users of particular technology-based products or services, usually in response to customer calls or emails. In essence, IT support offers assistance regarding certain problems with a computer software product, hardware or service, instead of providing customized support, provision or modification of the said product, or any other support services. IT managed support services are typically provided by computer software companies, though they can also be outsourced in some cases. These companies specialize in offering IT support services to clients in need of assistance in their use of particular computer software products and/or services, or in dealing with issues involving their usage and maintenance. A typical IT support agreement includes periodic technical support activities, which may include the installation and use of computer software products and other related procedures. In most instances, it also involves updates to such computer software products and other related procedures.
It is important for a computer software company to have IT support specialists,
as these specialists are qualified to answer questions and provide assistance in cases of need. The scope of IT support specialist duties depends on the nature of the support being provided. For example, in case of commercial use computer hardware and software products, a support specialist has a slightly different responsibility from that of a support specialist with regard to computer software. In this case, the support specialist must provide assistance with troubleshooting hardware problems, like when a computer hardware device fails to connect with the personal computer software. He or she may also be asked to troubleshoot problems with specific software products, including when the software cannot load because of a problem with the hardware, for which the user must install the specific software again.
Similarly, in cases of computer software, an IT support specialist must be skilled enough to troubleshoot problems associated with installing and using certain software programs. In some cases, support specialists are also called upon to configure computer hardware. This is especially necessary in the case of computer software products, where a person must configure the appropriate drivers before a program can function. Another IT support specialist job is to troubleshoot the security systems of a network. Security specialists must be proficient in network security, especially in applying security measures after a system’s security was compromised, fixing security vulnerabilities of a system and preventing and repairing unauthorized network access.
Computer hardware troubleshooting requires not only IT support knowledge, but also certain specialized certifications. There are several certifications in the IT support field, and one of them is the Certified Information Technology Auditor (CITA) certification. This certification is also a combination of a Test Foundation Award (TFA) and a Security Foundation Certification (SFC) examination. In addition to this, individuals who hold this certification also have the responsibility of becoming a Registered System Administrator (RSA). Aside from these two responsibilities, the RSAs also are required to undergo further training to improve their technical abilities and to become proficient IT support specialists.
IT support specialists may come in different forms.
Some may work on a direct support line, which means they will work by themselves in dealing with technical problems that individual computer users encounter. A few others may have to answer customer calls and provide technical information on support options available with their company. Still others may have to answer phones and emails during business hours and may be called during holidays or special events.
Some companies hire IT support staff who can work as part of a dedicated team. These professionals are called “tier one” IT specialists and they provide support to the organization as a whole. Their job is to take phone calls and solve basic technical problems of customers. Some may have to handle basic problems while others will have to deal with more difficult IT issues. The “tier two” IT support staff, on the other hand, provide assistance to the managing IT personnel for specific IT related issues. They have the duty to solve problems in areas beyond the basic functionality of a PC such as system set-up, upgrades or changes in software programs.
- There are also third-party companies that hire IT support specialists
- To offer their own line of products or to work as vendors of hardware that belongs to a vendor chain.
- Vendors include Dell, Toshiba, Compaq, E Machines and HP.
These companies usually contract IT support staff who are independent contractors. The hardware that they sell comes from famous brands like Dell, Toshiba, HP and E Machines but they also have developed their own hardware to compete in the market.
IT support specialists may need to upgrade systems when new hardware becomes available. Upgrades include installing the new hardware, adding software or changing configurations. When upgrading systems, IT support specialists must follow certain processes in order to make sure that the upgraded system functions properly.