IT technical support officers monitor and maintain the computer systems and networks of an organisation. They may install and configure computer systems, diagnose hardware and software faults and solve technical and applications problems, either over the phone or in person. Depending on the size of the organisation, a technical support officer’s role may span one or more areas of expertise.
Organisations increasingly rely on computer systems in all areas of their operations and decision-making processes. It is therefore usually crucial to ensure the correct running and maintenance of the IT systems.
IT technical support officers may be known by other job titles including help desk operators, technicians, maintenance engineers or applications support specialists. The work is as much about understanding how information systems are used as applying technical knowledge related to computer hardware or software.
Typical work activities
IT technical support officers are mainly responsible for the smooth running of computer systems and ensuring users get maximum benefits from them. Individual tasks vary depending on the size and structure of the organisation, but may include:
- installing and configuring computer hardware operating systems and applications;
- monitoring and maintaining computer systems and networks;
- talking staff or clients through a series of actions, either face to face or over the telephone to help set up systems or resolve issues;
- troubleshooting system and network problems and diagnosing and solving hardware or software faults;
- replacing parts as required;
- providing support, including procedural documentation and relevant reports;
- following diagrams and written instructions to repair a fault or set up a system;
- supporting the roll-out of new applications;
- setting up new users’ accounts and profiles and dealing with password issues;
- responding within agreed time limits to call-outs;
- working continuously on a task until completion (or referral to third parties, if appropriate);
- prioritising and managing many open cases at one time;
- rapidly establishing a good working relationship with customers and other professionals, e.g., software developers;
- testing and evaluating new technology;
- conducting electrical safety checks on computer equipment.