In the world of digital transformation, organizations are being compelled to integrate technology into their business strategies and operations to become successful. When implementing technology, the services of IT professionals with strong knowledge and experience in IT infrastructure are essential to ensure the functional continuity of an organization.
Most businesses hire IT support specialists to provide guidance and advice to their employees and customers. In this article, learn more about what an IT support specialist is, their duties and responsibilities, and how to become one.
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What Is an IT Support Specialist?
IT Support Specialists provide assistance and guidance to the users of technology systems so they can operate with fewer failures and problems. They possess strong knowledge of computer systems, networks, and applications, which helps companies to analyze and evaluate their information technology systems appropriately.
With their skills and experience, IT support specialists provide instructions and all levels of IT support for employees and customers so they can use specific business applications and troubleshoot issues that may arise.
IT support specialists work with technicians to resolve technical, hardware, and software issues. They improve the operational efficiency of organizations through the proper installation, evaluation, and optimization of IT systems. In addition to these tasks and responsibilities, they also analyze existing digital systems and provide suggestions for upgrades and expansions that are suitable to enhance organizational functions.
What Do IT Support Specialists Do?
IT support specialists are required to perform a wide range of tasks crucial for the functional improvement of organizations, including analyzing digital systems, diagnosing issues, and supporting technicians. These are some of the most common duties and responsibilities that IT support specialists perform in an organization:
- Assist employees and customers in using information technology systems without failure and troubleshoot issues quickly.
- Perform regular maintenance on IT infrastructure and application programs.
- Analyze and evaluate existing computer systems, networks, and applications.
- Diagnose technical issues and fix them as quickly as possible to ensure smooth business operations.
- Monitor performance metrics of IT equipment and software programs.
- Support operational efficiency by implementing appropriate system upgrades and expansions.
- Implement and manage new information technology systems that increase productivity.
- Identify cybersecurity threats and prevent them from affecting data security.
- Answer IT-related queries from users and help them to use technology.
- Train staff and prepare assistive materials on best IT practices and new systems.
- Provide proper backup services to enhance data security.
What Are Required Skills for an IT Support Specialist?
Apart from education and work experience, IT support specialists must possess the following skills:
- Communication: IT support specialists need to communicate effectively with employees and customers through chats or emails when giving IT instructions and advice.
- Analytical problem-solving: IT support specialists should be able to analyze digital systems, identify issues that may arise, and determine proper solutions when troubleshooting.
- Organization: IT support specialists must have organizational skills as they need to manage a number of tasks at one time. IT ticketing systems can support them in this endeavor, but independent time management and task prioritization skills are essential.
- Technical skill: A deep understanding of computer systems, networks, and software programs makes it possible for IT support specialists to solve technical issues quickly.
Where Do IT Support Specialists Work?
IT support specialists mainly work with an organization’s IT department or within an IT company’s help desk systems. They can work in a variety of organizations, including IT companies, educational institutions, finance companies, and the telecommunication industry.
They can also work as employees or independent contractors. Some IT support specialist employees can either work from home or the office, whereas independent contractors are usually required to travel to clients’ offices or homes.
How Can You Become an IT Support Specialist?
The requirements for an IT support specialist role vary depending on the nature of the organization requiring this type of support. However, some basic qualifications and skill sets are required to become an IT support specialist. Here are the essentials steps to follow:
Earn a relevant bachelor’s or associate’s degree
A bachelor’s degree in computer science or another area that relates to information technology is the preferred qualification to become an IT support specialist. Some companies also hire professionals with associate’s degrees in computer science or other preferred areas.
Pursue professional certifications in IT
Earning certifications helps IT support specialists become experts in a specific platform. Most companies prefer to hire IT support specialists who have certifications, along with bachelor’s or associate’s degrees in related areas of information technology. These are some of the most commonly sought-after certifications in the IT support industry:
CompTIA ITF+ and CompTIA A+ certifications provide an introduction to fundamental IT skills. The CompTIA ITF+ certification includes fundamental IT concepts, software development, IT infrastructure, database fundamentals, security, and more. The CompTIA A+ certification consists of more elaborated topics than CompTIA ITF+ has. It involves hardware, networking, mobile devices, operating systems, troubleshooting, cloud computing, and security.
Microsoft offers a range of certifications that help IT professionals across experience levels improve their IT skills. MTA IT and Microsoft Certified Teams Support Engineer Specialty are some of the most commonly earned certifications.
Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP)
Apple provides certification courses like ACSP for IT professionals who want to become an expert in macOS IT support.
Look for opportunities to gain professional experience
It’s important to look for entry-level opportunities to test IT support skills, whether as an intern or as a member of a larger IT support team where coaching and mentorship are available. IT support specialists can prove their abilities in these settings by improving the performance level of companies. Eventually, they can attain higher positions like system administrators.
Network with other IT professionals
Developing connections and good relationships with fellow IT support specialists and other IT professionals can facilitate career growth. Network in person, attend industry events, and join online professional groups in order to meet your peers and build professional relationships.
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