While many people may have a drive to go into the IT field, it can seem intimidating without access to education. Fortunately, there are many paths in tech support, and many of them include on-the-job training with little to no experience necessary. That said, the tech industry is a much more competitive field than it used to be with today’s reliance on technology, and it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd even with certifications.
Tech Support Job Description
Before you can apply to have a tech support position, you must first know what the job entails. In short, tech support is a range of services that companies and enterprises provide to better their customers with support for electronics, mostly consisting of mobile phones, televisions, computer, software and other related products.
When a customer calls tech support, they are usually looking for additional help or information on the product they have purchased through the company. With the advancements of the internet, technical support is no longer offers just through local stores and over the phone, but also through email communications and online chat support.
The majority of recognized companies and brands in the world currently offer technical support to their customers. You can see a list of ways to contact these companies here.
If you’re still in school, there’s a good chance that your college has an IT department. A student position like a lab monitor may not pay much above minimum wage, but it gets your foot in the door if you want to climb the ladder, and it also provides an excellent way to develop your skills. Many IT departments will hold weekly training for their employees, which gives you a chance to learn while getting paid. Tech support jobs for students may not progress beyond a supervisory role, but those contacts will be invaluable when you graduate, and you may even be offered a full-time position higher in the company. As a student worker, expect to make around $8 – $10 an hour on average.
While it doesn’t pay anything, work experience is work experience. Volunteering at a church or school can be a great way to build up a network of support when it comes time to apply for a job that pays. Education is not always enough in the IT industry; you often need to have experience as well. Doing some A/V work for your church or helping your local school set up its network may not net you an income, but it can help you stand out among a pool of applicants as both a demonstration of your experience and your character.
Work From Home
Call centers all over the world need technicians to work around the clock, but they also don’t necessarily want to keep their business open all night. Tech support jobs from home are often considered one of the best work-at-home jobs out there. The Occupational Outlook Handbook also projects that these kinds of jobs will increase rapidly in the next few years, so those concerned about job security can rest easy.
Skills and Education
Unless you intend to be a programmer or an engineer, there’s a good chance you can get started without a four-year degree. Certification in popular programs or systems like those made by Microsoft or a CompTIA A+ certification may be all you need. Though it may be tempting to seek out every test you can find, don’t neglect the other half of your skill set: customer support. Being able to demonstrate professionalism and quality of service is equally important as companies rely on you to guide frequently frustrated users through a problem.
As a novice, you should have a good understanding of popular software, basic hardware troubleshooting and some degree of networking experience. A/V knowledge can also be beneficial depending on what company you’re interested in working for. Experience in some form of service industry is also a plus.
While salary depends a great deal on the company you work for, experience and education, most tech support jobs offer a starting salary ranging from $35,000 – $45,000. Once you’ve gained some experience in the company, you can earn substantially more.
Furthering Education/Career Progression
The IT industry is a versatile field offering many opportunities for growth as well as lateral moves into new areas. Because it’s imperative that support technicians remain current in their training, many companies also provide training or certification courses for their employees as well as incentives to go to school.
If you’d like to learn more about securing an IT job in 2013, be sure to view our top ten tips list here.