IT helpdesk analysts give advice via telephone, website or email to computer users who need help solving their technical problems. They can also be called helpdesk support technicians or service desk analysts.
You could be:
providing 1st line technical support to customers – taking enquiries by phone and email
dealing with problems for hardware, such as servers, computers and printers, and software programs
asking questions about the problem and explaining possible solutions
dealing with common or basic technical issues such as resetting passwords
using automated diagnostic programs to solve network problems
updating knowledge bases with details of common problems which customers can view online
using helpdesk software to log calls with descriptions of issues, progress and solutions
passing calls to a team of 2nd line support analysts if the problem is more complex
arranging for a technician to visit the customer if a problem can’t be solved over the phone or by email.
You might start your career in 1st line support, dealing only with routine problems and working from a script, then move into 2nd line support, dealing with more technical issues.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job and the level of your own skills.
Starting salaries could be around £18,000 to £22,000 a year. With 1 or 2 years’ experience this can increase to between £22,000 and £28,000 a year.
With more skills, experience and some supervisory responsibility, the salary can rise to around £30,000 a year or more.
You might earn extra through bonuses and performance-related pay.
You usually sit with other IT helpdesk analysts in an open plan office.
You work at a computer and use a phone with a headset.
You might work normal hours Monday to Friday, although with some employers there may be shifts, covering 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, if they provide international support.
There are no set entry routes into this profession.
You might be able to enter through a Modern Apprenticeship in Digital Applications, for which you may need 3-5 subjects at National 5, usually including English and Maths.
Some employers will take school leavers with a group of subjects at National 4 or 5 and perhaps 1-2 Highers, and train them on the job.
Some employers ask for an HNC (SCQF Level 7) or HND (SCQF Level 8) in Computing: Technical Support, or other relevant discipline.
Entry requirements for an HNC or HND are usually 1-2 Highers.
Studying for a relevant Foundation Apprenticeship, such as IT: Hardware and System Support, while in fifth and sixth year at school could count towards entry to a course, apprenticeship or job. Entry requirements vary between colleges, but you usually require some subjects at National 5 including English and Maths.
You may have to take an aptitude test for entry.
You need good keyboard skills.
Ability in foreign languages can be useful. Some companies recruit those with languages and IT skills for specialised helpline support jobs.
You might work with a computer company which gives support to users of the company’s own hardware or software. There are also in-house support jobs with banks, retail companies, educational institutions and central and local government.