Your Next Move: Help Desk Technician

by Pranita Sarangabany | Sep 06, 2017

Your Next Move: Get the Inside Scoop on IT Job RolesThis article is part of an IT Career News series called “Your Next Move.” These articles take an inside look at the roles related to CompTIA certifications. Each article will include the responsibilities, qualifications, related job titles and salary range for the role. As you consider the next move in your IT career, check back with CompTIA to learn more about your job prospects and how to get there.

If you like to solve technical issues and work with people, then help desk technician may be a good next step for you.

What Is a Help Desk Technician?

A help desk technician’s responsibilities include:

  • Diagnosing and solving computer issues.
  • Installing and training end users in new technologies.
  • Providing remote technical support over the phone or internet.
  • Backing up and restoring data files.
  • Repairing hardware and configuring software to maintain operating systems.

A help desk technician must have both hard and soft skills because the position requires a strong technical understanding as well as the ability to communicate clearly with others. For example, when a user has a question, the help desk technician must be able to diagnose the IT issue as well as explain the solution to the user. Read more about the daily life of a help desk technician here.

How to Become a Help Desk Technician

While a formal education may help you get the job, a college degree is not necessary to become a help desk technician. IT certifications will prove that you have the skills to handle the job. CompTIA A+ is a widely recognized certification held by help desk technicians.

The Details

Salary Range

The median salary and wage for computer support specialists are $52,160 per year and $25.8 per hour (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Job Outlook

From 2014 to 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an increase of 12 percent for computer support specialists, with 88,000 net new jobs expected during that 10-year period.

Job Titles Related to Help Desk Technician

  • Computer support technician/specialist
  • Help desk support engineer
  • Desktop support specialist

Will your next move be help desk technician? If so, check out CompTIA A+ to get you there.


  • Hayalu Bogale

    Friday, September 15, 2017

    I have A+ cert, Network+ cert and Server+ cert, but I couldn't get a job because I have no prior experience in the IT industry, so what do you think I should do to get a job?

  • Friday, September 15, 2017

    Hi, Hayalu! Getting a job can be tough, and there are a lot of things that have to come together. If experience is a missing piece of the puzzle for you, find ways to gain experience on your own, like volunteering, tinkering with computers in your free time or helping friends and family with technical issues. Writing a killer cover letter and highlighting the skills you have - whether or not you got them in a paid job - will help get employers attention, and being able to convey your technical knowledge and soft skills in the interview will help you convince employers that even though this may be your first job, you have the skills and abilities to be a great employee. Good luck!

  • Johkell

    Friday, September 15, 2017

    Similar to Hayalu Bogale, I am currently N+, and Cloud+ certified. Also VCP6-DCV certified, and I also am unable to gain employment. The deal breaker is the lack of "hands-on experience" . The catch 22 that is the bane for a large number trying to forge a career in IT. I am in the process of completing Linux+ with the hope it may give me an edge. However, given how the last couple of years (yes.. years!!) has gone, I am not holding my breath....... ๐Ÿ˜•

  • v.bulusu

    Friday, September 15, 2017

    I am Security+ and A+ certified. Like to know where to get practical experience. Am willing to work without pay, in (or near) Oakland CA. Please advise.

  • David Johnson

    Friday, September 15, 2017

    Greetings all, I agree with what Johkell stated above. I will also suggest for those in the USA to look for jobs at smaller non-profits.

  • jose claudio

    Friday, September 15, 2017

    I'm was a Jr Network admin and am now working as a Tier II Help Desk. I worked as a temp. It gets you XP and a foot in the door. The income listed here is way too high for a starting position in support.

  • IT User Support

    Friday, September 15, 2017

    I am A+ and Net+ certified and before this I had worked technical support in a call center. I can say you will gain a lot of work experience with a variety of issues working in a call center due to the sheer volume of calls you will receive. This would be my recommendation to to break into the field and gain the hands on experience. You may also want to look into an apprenticeship or internship.

  • Junior Shepherd

    Saturday, September 16, 2017

    I have a 4 year degree in Computer Science and 3 years of experience. I started out as an I.T. Technician making only $13.25 . I did not have any certs but i was able to do alright since i was a fast learner. Nonetheless i quickly realized that to get ahead in the industry you need to constantly push your self through self study and little projects. I started pushing myself and asked my employer for any ways they could help me improve myself. Surprisingly they did NOT want to help me out at all in any way to become certified. In fact i would say that it was almost like they wanted me to stay where i was. Well after a year more i decided i had enough. I took some time off of work to dedicate my self to full study, with my wife's support. I am working on my Comptia A+, Net+ with Microsoft Certs and Cybersecurity certs on the horizon. Never again will i let an employer determine the heights to which i will soar. I am only 25 at the moment, but by 35 i envision myself being an I.T. Manager, CTO(Chief Technical Officer), or running my own tech company. I did not know how much i could achieve until i started doing some research. Turns out even school bus drivers can make up to $15 an hour. School bus drivers with no degrees or certs! I knew i could do better. Entering the industry is tough and you will face a lot of dream crushers but keep motivated! Don't let anyone determine your worth.

  • amdc

    Sunday, September 17, 2017

    This might sound sad but sometimes competition will be just way too high to break into the field. Even volunteering has proven to fail at times as employers though appreciate that they wont have to pay you for the volunteer job they are even cautious and consider that the time they will spend on you will eventually cost them. All you can do is try again and don't let it get into what you really want to do. Best wishes!

  • Steve

    Sunday, October 1, 2017

    I would get your resume on as many job sites as possible. I would also find out about the temp agencies in your area and contact them. Keep looking. The first job you land will probably not be great hours or pay but you will be gaining experience. Once you gain that experience your second job will be much better. Don't give up and don't be picky about your first job.

  • Jonathan

    Friday, October 6, 2017

    I agree with the statement that experience is necessary in order to land a great intro position in the IT field. Having A+/ Network + Certifications certainly helps, but a strong background in customer service, as well as being technically proficient (understanding and working with technology for several years and building your own devices) is the key to getting an employer's attention.

  • Robert

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

    One of my work is to strive into the business. Make sure that we don't forget the years we have spent together. Our customer are the most important thing to us. We build on our Customer Satisfaction. Our devices are just part of our work. Our Administrator is at work. Several years later we will have more to come and believe in.

  • IT Support Manager

    Wednesday, November 7, 2018

    The salary listed is high. Help Desk does not pay well, (my part time folks earn under $13/hr and my Full Time folks make around $40K/yr). Don't shoot the messenger, I don't have control over that. Help Desk technician positions are starting points for many in IT. Many move on to be SysAds, NetAds, Security, etc once they have the experience and more education or certificates under their belt. There is a high turnover at the help desk, but that is expected, because it is a starting point for most IT folks. I would recommend to those that are having a hard time finding a place to get experience, 1) don't expect a lot of money and don't screen your search for only high paying jobs, and 2) consider your local community colleges and universities who typically have part-time positions that allow those with little to no experience to work in their Open Computer Labs. Some schools require at least a year of formal IT education, but some may accept certs in lieu of that requirement. Best of luck to all.

  • Wednesday, November 7, 2018

    Hello and thanks for your advice! You are right that at first glance median salaries might look high. You have to remember that a median takes into account all help desk positions in all locations - in a major metropolitan area like New York City or San Francisco, salaries will be higher than a smaller city or rural area. Help desk positions also run the gamut from very entry-level to tier II or III tech support, and the more advanced your role, the higher your salary will be. Like you said, help desk/IT support is a great way to get your foot in the door in IT and gain a wide range of experiences that will serve you well throughout your career.

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