Desktop Support Engineer: A Day in Their Daily Job Life
The life of a Desktop support engineer can be hectic. If you are planning to start your career as a desktop support engineer/technician 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 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.
- User Phenomenon
The "user" is a strange phenomenon in this job. There might be (will be) umpteen cases whereby you'll find that the user itself could have easily figured it out what the problem could be, but you are called for that silly job which doesn't even took few seconds for you to do. Whereas, there will also be situations where a user or group of them don't inform the help-desk when a larger issue has struck and they might try to figure it by themselves. You never know; for a silly issue you would have to travel a lot (if you are in a field job) only to know that there wasn't really an issue.
For that you'll have to have patience, and a lot of it. Most of desktop engineers will be employed by an IT firm or a service provider firm. As a team member of desktop support engineers you have to show restraint 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 user should be 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 in your first job. Or else, you'll be getting a job as a field engineer. Positions are available in plenty in both the options. But single-office jobs will require you to have good command over English, have a pleasant personality, and most importantly have the required technical knowledge.
In an in-office location there is less stress. And also that 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.
Also, there might be times when you won't have any work and would be chit-chatting with your colleagues.
Most probably there would be a call management software from where you'll come to know which users are having an issue. What happens is that the user would call 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, reasons for which are not known. After finishing the call you'll have to close the call by entering data in the application how you solved the issue.
- Field Job
Field job is tough. Be it marketing or as a computer/network engineer. However, marketing people do know where is their area and which place they will cover on a certain day.
For a field engineer you might not know until the last minute that something has gone wrong with the server and the internet is down, that too when you thought there might not be any more calls. So, you have to be there to solve the problem.
- Helping and Getting Help
There will be a lot of situation when you encounter a totally different problem. But your job is to solve it, by hook or crook. For that you can take the help of the internet. Just know the problem and a quick Google search will generally give you an answer which you are looking.
Remember that the problem faced by you or rather by the user might have faced by someone else also, there comes the internet to your rescue, make Google your friend. Joining computer support forums and actively participating in them will also help in long-term.
There is nothing better when you can just call up a friend and ask for help when you are stuck. For that networking is required. 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 you expect when suddenly the whole network is down and something is very urgent (seriously). Would you solve the problem or not? Think by keeping yourself at the user's place.
You are expected to solve the problem as soon as possible.
Now the real thing - why you can't just ignore a user's problem at your own will. As a service provider your company would have agreed to provide certain level of service to the customer. Generally known as the Service Level Agreement (SLA) which might be legally binding to your company. Such things should be taken with utmost seriousness.
Nevertheless, in most cases it is not that you are expected immediately on the site, if in actuality the customer's office will be closed in an hour or so. There are priorities. Sometimes you might be required immediately, and sometimes not.
Getting contracts is not easy as eating pie. Your company's marketing department would have worked their fingers to their bone to get that esteemed contract. Now it is your job to provide the service which was promised.
Keeping in mind that you have to communicate with a range of people. Right from a guy who has just joined a job, to the CEO or Director of the company. Getting your language first becomes of great importance. Behavior, dressing sense, listening skills also count. Training new joiners is also a part which some company require. Whenever a new software is launched you might have to get trained first and then provide training to all the employees of the company.
- Final Word
Now that you all know what is expected from you; be confident and rest will follow. While in the job you'll definitely have your share of laugh and fun (in both office or field job). Also, you do get an opportunity to talk to many people. When you solve an issue you are bound to get the smiles from them. Respect follows. Work wholeheartedly and you'll find this job that offers great fun, money, and the way for promotion is often fast.
Questions & Answers
What are different levels in desktop or help-desk support?
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 Reddy