- What do you do in IT support?
- IT support career path
- IT support salaries
- Qualifications & training
- IT support skills
- Pros and cons of being in IT support
- Work-life balance of working in IT support
- Typical employers hiring IT support
- Related jobs to IT support
Do you love technology? Are you great at helping people? If you want to combine your interest in computer systems with assisting people on a daily basis, working in IT support could be perfect for you.
Are you interested in IT support? Explore the technology, IT and software development sector jobs available to you right now.
What do you do in IT support?
Working in IT support has two main focuses. You can either assist your colleagues within one organisation by helping them with any technical support they need with the software and computer systems that the organisation uses. Or, you can work for a company that provides services or products, whether this is software or merchandise, to the public or to other businesses. In this role, you provide technical support to people outside of the company you work for. Here are the daily tasks and responsibilities that you may have in IT support:
- Communicating with clients, whether internally or externally, and providing information about what how to get the most of their software or technology
- Troubleshooting problems that come your way
- Speaking to colleagues and team members to discuss any more complex issues
- Suggesting changes to the IT systems within the company you work for
- Writing reports and filling out documents about the support you gave
- Checking out any technical issues and solving them by hand
IT support career path
In the IT support career path, you can embed yourself well within a company with all the benefits of having a secure job. Here is the career path associated with IT support technicians:
You begin your working life as a junior IT support technician. This job teaches you the skills that you need for your working life in IT support. You learn from senior members of the team, completing work that they assign you and sometimes helping out on projects that they’re running.
As a mid-level IT support technician, you’re given more responsibility. You might be trusted to work on your own projects and take on clients without supervision and without asking for help. You might suggest changes that the organisation can make to the software and computer systems based on your understanding of that system and others. You have the opportunity to train junior colleagues when they begin working and answering their questions when they need support.
Whilst some people in the IT support industry progress to senior IT support, which means more responsibility and a greater workload, others decide to take a step towards more specialised areas of work.
Systems analysts work with the IT networks within an organisation, monitoring how effective it is for the organisation’s needs and suggesting changes that would improve efficiency or make areas of work easier for employees.
IT project managers oversee the implementation of new technology and software into a company, making sure the process runs smoothly and doesn’t cause undue disruption to work.
IT support salaries
In IT support, there are many avenues for careers that you could take as the IT sector is so large. Here are the salary levels that you might expect when working in IT support.
- In an entry-level position, you could work as a junior IT support technician. In this role, you earn an average of £24,000 per year.
- Mid-level IT support technicians earn a range of £26,000 to £33,000 per year.
- Senior IT support technicians earn up to £35,000 per year.
- You could progress sideways to IT security analyst, earning you an average of £38,000 per year or IT project manager, earning you an average of £48,000 per year.
Qualifications and training
Having the right education and experience sets you up really nicely to impress any hiring manager and get your dream job in IT support. Here’s what you need to succeed in the sector:
Working in IT support doesn’t require you to have a degree. Whilst there are degrees that could help you do the job like computing, there are other qualifications which are more suited to the type of work you’ll be doing in the job.
There are many diplomas that you can get to qualify you for IT support work. This gives you more specialised experience than a degree and may help you make contacts in the IT support sector. You can look into the available IT support diplomas using this government course search tool.
Alternatively, you can look into apprenticeships in the area. Unlike with a diploma, you’re taught how to do the job by people currently working in the industry and learn by doing the job. Apprenticeships often come with a modest salary and may give you a job after you finish. If you want to know more about apprenticeships, you can use this government apprenticeship search tool to see what’s available.
Getting great work experience helps you understand what it’s like working in the industry and gives you relevant, hands-on experience. One way of getting some work experience is through an internship. There are two main ways of securing an internship. Firstly, you can explore the options available and apply through the company’s application portal. If you’re interested in seeing what’s available right now, explore the current internship opportunities.
The second way to approach internships is through networking. You make contacts by asking professionals questions about the work on social media platforms like LinkedIn and building up rapport. After a few weeks, you can enquire about any opportunities available. To get a more in-depth understanding of how to successfully network, read this Bright advice for networking.
IT support skills
Another way to set yourself up for a job in IT support is to have the necessary skills. Here are the ideal skills for candidates hoping to go into this job:
- Technical knowledge. To work well in an IT support job, you need to have a good understanding of the IT systems available and how to deal with common problems that come up.
- Communication. To work well in IT support, you need to communicate well with people asking for assistance. If you don’t communicate well, they might not understand the solution you’re providing for them.
- Problem-solving. Your job is about finding ways around problems. Effective problem-solving, and being able to find ways around issues that others might not, makes you successful in IT support.
- Research. You might come across some problems in your work that you don’t know the answer to. Being able to research the problem, including the best places to look and the right keywords to use, helps you solve even the most obscure problem that might arise.
If you want to know more, learn about the top skills to excel in the technology sector.
Pros and cons of being in IT support
Before you jump into a career in IT support, here are some positive and negative aspects of the work that you should take into account:
- Many organisations need IT support so there are quite a few jobs available
- You have the opportunity for sideways progression if you decide you want to specialise in an area of IT like security or project management
- You don’t need high level qualifications to do this job
- It is a stable job and often offers a good pension scheme
- IT support offers a relatively low salary even in senior positions
- You can have irregular and unsocial working hours
- There is little to no travel involved
- For external IT support, you might have to deal with unhappy and sometimes tricky customers
Work-life balance of working in IT support
The working hours of IT support jobs depend on the work you’re doing. If you’re in-house support, assisting your colleagues throughout an organisation, you work the hours that the organisation is open which could be 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday. If you’re helping external users, for example providing technical support to customers, your working hours are set by the company and completely depend on the amount of hours in a day they want to provide support. For example, if a helpline or email chat is available from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Saturday, you will most likely have shift work and work non-standard business hours.
Most of the time, IT support work is in an office, call centre or at home. If you’re in-house IT support, you often work in the organisation’s office so you can go and look at any IT issues which a colleague might have. External IT support doesn’t require this level of in-person assistance so you can do it from a call centre or even from home.
Typical employers hiring IT support
Knowing the top employers who provide jobs helps in securing a great job in IT support. Here are some of the top companies that you should consider when looking at IT support jobs:
Learn more about the leading graduate employers in the technology sector.