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A Day in the Life of a Desktop Support Engineer

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I love to interview people from different industries and write pages to help readers.

You'll have to play with bits and bytes!

You'll have to play with bits and bytes!

IT Desktop Support Jobs

The life of a desktop support engineer or technician can be hectic. If you are planning to start your career in this field, then it would be of great help to you to know about how a computer support engineer goes about their daily life—how they start their day, what is expected from them, and what all goes on to complete their day.

Broadly speaking, your job could be in-house (single-office) or a field job. In both cases, you have to troubleshoot and provide solutions for whatever problems the user is facing.

The "User" Phenomenon

The "user" is a strange phenomenon in this job. So many times, you will find out that a user put in a call to you for a silly job that they could have easily figured out themselves and which only takes you a few seconds to do. You may have to travel a lot (if you are in a field job) only to find that there was no real issue, only a silly one. And then again, there will be situations where a user or group of users experience some tremendous issue and keep it a secret from the help desk; they wait and try to figure it out by themselves until they are desperate. You never know.

So you'll have to have patience and a lot of it. Most desktop engineers will be employed by an IT firm or a service provider firm. As a member of a team of desktop support engineers, you have to show restraint and consideration for your customer. Yes, they are your customer. As an engineer, you are representing your company; your actions could botch up your company's name. Which is where the real stake of your job lies. Serving the customer, or in this scenario, the user, should be a top priority.

Single-Office Location Job

If you are placed in an in-house office location and are responsible for the maintenance of a single office, then you are really better placed than field engineers. Consider yourself lucky and deserving if you get a single-office location as your first job rather than a job as a field engineer. Positions are available in plenty in both options. But single-office jobs will require you to have a good command of English, a pleasant personality, and most importantly, the required technical knowledge.

In an in-office location, there is less stress. And also you meet the same people daily, which makes your job easier. Slowly you get to know the people you are working for, which makes your job smoother. There might even be times when you don't have any work and can chit-chat with your colleagues.

Most probably, there will be a call management software that will let you know which users are having an issue. What happens is that the user calls the help desk, and the person at the help desk will lodge a call with adequate details for you to know about. A visit is known as a "call" in most cases for reasons I don't know. After finishing the call, you'll have to close the call by entering data in the application showing how you solved the issue.

Field Job

A field job is tough, whether it's marketing or being a computer/network engineer. At least marketing people know where their area is and which place they will cover on a certain day. But as a field engineer, you might not know until the last minute that something has gone wrong with the server and the internet is down. Even if you , thought there might not be any more calls, you have to be there to solve the problem.

Helping and Getting Help

There will be a lot of situations when you encounter a totally new and different problem. But your job is to solve it by hook or crook. For that, you can ask for help from the internet. Just describe the problem, and a quick Google search will generally give you the answer you are looking for. The problem you are facing, or rather that the user is facing, might have been faced and solved before by someone else. So here comes the internet to your rescue; make Google your friend. Joining computer support forums and actively participating in them will also help in your long-term development.

There is nothing better than when you can just call up a friend and ask for help when you are stuck. For that, networking is required. Develop a network. Don't hesitate to help your colleagues, and in turn, they will also do the same.

What Is Expected From You?

Consider this, now you are a desktop engineer, and with some experience, you'll move to other network-level jobs. What do you expect when suddenly the whole network is down and something is very urgent (seriously)? Is it up to you to solve the problem? If you put yourself in the user's place, you will understand you are expected to solve the problem as soon as possible.

You can't just ignore a user's problem at your own will because, as a service provider, your company has most likely agreed to provide a certain level of service to the customer through a Service Level Agreement (SLA) which might be legally binding to your company. Such things should be taken with utmost seriousness.

Since your company's marketing department worked their fingers to their bone to get that valuable contract, it is now your job to provide the service which was promised.

You won't always be expected to show up at the site immediately, for example, if the customer's office will be closed in an hour or so. There are priorities. Sometimes you might be required immediately, and sometimes not.

Keep in mind that you will have to communicate with a range of people, from a guy who has just joined a job to the CEO or director of the company. Getting your language right becomes of great importance. Behavior, dressing sense, and listening skills also count. Training new employees is also a task some companies require. Whenever new software is launched, you might have to get trained first and then provide training to all the employees of the company.

Make It Rewarding

Now that you all know what is expected from you, be confident, and the rest will follow. While on the job, you'll definitely have your share of laughs and fun (in both office or field jobs). You get an opportunity to talk to many people. When you solve an issue, you are bound to get smiles from them. Respect follows. Work wholeheartedly, and you'll find this job that offers great fun, money, and often the way to promotion.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: What are different levels in desktop or help-desk support?

Answer: There are various levels of desktop support. They start from Level 0 to Level 4. Level 0 being the lowest and Level 4 the highest level of support. Please note the short description below:

Level 0: This is the most basic level where the user can resolve their own issues. These may include resetting passwords, accessing user manuals, internal knowledge base, FAQs, and forums. For example, if a printer is short of paper, nobody calls the IT guy to refill the paper tray.

Level 1: This involves resolving basic issues which do not fall in the Level 0 category. The problems that they are required to solve are like assisted password reset, printer fixes, Windows support, etc. They are also required to escalate any issues to the next level if they are not able to fix them.

Level 2: Issues like Windows and software installation, as well as hardware support, is handled at this level. For example, if a computer is running slow then IT support may upgrade the RAM to counter the problem.

Level 3: Any other difficult issues which were not resolved will be escalated to in-house experts. They may be systems administrators, network administrators, or even data administrators. Many companies will have a single person handling such issues. They are expected to resolve issues pertaining to the domain, network, or any other widespread issues affecting one and all. An example here will be to patch all PCs in a domain or sub-domain for cyber security.

Level 4: Issues which require assistance from vendors are categorized as Level 4 support. A common example will be of an internet downtime. The internet service provider can only resolve these issues.

© 2012 Kannan


Kannan (author) from Mumbai on January 19, 2018:

@Shweta Thank you....Nice suggestion I'll definitely think about it.

Shweta on January 19, 2018:

Really Nice Article. I want you to make another article on different roles and responsibilities.

Kannan (author) from Mumbai on November 14, 2017:

@sudhakar Thanks for the encouraging word.

sudhakar on November 14, 2017:

Very nice to red this article.

much appriciated