What Does a Support Technician Do? (And How to Become One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A support technician works with information technology (IT) and solves issues for their colleagues or the general public. They typically have an excellent knowledge of computers and networks and use this knowledge to resolve various technological issues. If you are thinking of becoming a support technician, it's an excellent idea to have good knowledge of what the job means. In this article, we answer the question, 'What does a support technician do?' review their skills, outline the steps to becoming one and answer FAQs.

What does a support technician do?

If you're interested in this career, it may be helpful to learn what does a support technical do each day. A support technician deals with different IT-focused issues on behalf of other people. For example, they could work in the IT department of a business. In this role, they may help other staff members with any computer-related queries or problems.

They may also assist their colleagues with tablet and mobile related issues. Alternatively, they could work for a specific technology company and help customers who have problems with devices. Some support technicians work on an on-call basis, visiting their customers' homes to assist them with technology problems.

Support technician duties

The main duties of being a support technician include:

  • communicating with colleagues about potential technical problems and offering in-person support

  • answering customer queries on a support desk or working on an on-call basis

  • assessing and isolating the problem on a computer or other device

  • resolving various technical issues efficiently

  • learning about new resolution methods

  • analysing recurring problems and enforcing precautions to prevent issues from arising again

  • downloading and installing software

  • training other staff members and teaching them how to use software

  • recording all of the issues that come up and tracking them

Support technician skills

Support technicians have various hard and soft skills to enable them to do their job professionally. Hard skills can include:

IT skills

A support technician typically has exemplary IT skills. They may know exactly how to isolate and fix a problem and be fluent in common issues surrounding IT devices. Their skills may include knowledge of different software and hardware, cloud systems and networks. You can practise your IT skills by completing secondary and further education in the subject.

Related: What is Aptitude?

Mathematics skills

Advanced mathematics skills are typically optional to become an IT support technician. Some mathematic abilities may help with certain technical problems. Therefore, a reasonable competence in mathematics is usually beneficial to secure a job as a support technician. You could practise these skills by taking qualifications in mathematics throughout your education and career.

Coding abilities

While support technicians may not need advanced coding abilities, the knowledge of a few codes, like C++ and Python, may help with their role. You may use these codes occasionally and having coding skills also helps in job applications. You could take a beginner's course in coding and add that certification to your CV.

Soft skills could include:

Communication

Support technicians are typically good communicators. They often speak to their colleagues and explain complex computer issues in non-technical terms. In addition, some support technicians communicate with the general public. Public-facing support technicians can often reassure their clients and thoroughly explain any tech-related issues. You can practise your communication skills by speaking to a range of different people throughout your personal and professional life. You could also offer to explain technical problems to friends and family and ask them if they understand your explanation.

Related: 13 Transferable Job Skills That Employers Love

Patience

Some computer issues that support technicians receive are slow to solve. Therefore, they require patience. Support technicians may use trial and error to test different options and ultimately come up with solutions. Most support technicians are resilient and can patiently execute numerous methods to secure the best outcome. You can practise your patience skills by doing problem-solving tasks and games where trial and error is necessary.

Organisation

Support technicians may have multiple tasks and projects to complete at once. For example, they may have a general system update to perform and have colleagues' questions to answer simultaneously. Therefore, most support technicians can delegate their time effectively so they focus on the most important task first. You can practise your organisation skills by planning out school and university tasks in a diary and deciding when to do each.

Keenness to learn

As information technology is constantly evolving, most support technicians learn as they work. Therefore, an aptitude and excitement about learning is often beneficial. You can practise your aptitude for learning by researching and reading about different topics that interest you. Then, you could demonstrate these research skills on a job application or in an interview.

How to become a support technician

You may follow the steps below to become a support technician:

1. Finish secondary school

Most support technicians finish year twelve with qualifications in information technology. Candidates may show an interest and aptitude for IT throughout their studies. They may also be proficient in English and mathematics.

Related: Computer Literacy: What It is and How You Can Improve Yours

2. Consider a bachelor's degree

Many support technicians have a bachelor's degree in information technology or a related discipline, such as computer science or information science. This degree helps them understand technical terms and create solutions. They may also learn specific coding languages. A bachelor's degree could also demonstrate competence to potential employers.

3. Take other qualifications through TAFE

Candidates could take qualifications through TAFE either instead of or in addition to a degree. For example, TAFE offers a Certificate IV in Information Technology Support. Along with vocational experience, this could give candidates helpful information to become support technicians.

4. Gain work experience

Candidates who are considering becoming support technicians may benefit from gaining on-the-job experience. They could apply for internships or ask businesses if they have available work experience placements. Vocational experience could help them to see how problems can occur in the real world and educate them about how to resolve them.

5. Apply for entry-level positions

After gaining some relevant vocational experience and the appropriate education, candidates could apply for entry-level positions in IT support. These positions may include shadowing other technicians initially and then advance to work on some minor issues. Once candidates gain the confidence and abilities to work on larger problems, they may progress within the company.

6. Continuous professional development

Even after securing employment, candidates may wish to continue learning. Continuous professional development (CPD) is learning while working, and undertaking CPD in the workplace helps IT support technicians to stay updated with the field and remain knowledgeable about any new issues. IT is a dynamic and constantly changing sector, so it is typically important for professionals in the sector to stay up to date.

Support technician FAQs

The following are common FAQs about support technicians:

Where do support technicians work?

Support technicians may work in small to large businesses, universities or schools. They may have their own IT support office where they mostly operate while researching and troubleshooting potential issues. They may often work at other colleagues' desks as they attempt to fix IT issues for them.

Other support technicians could work on a remote basis, going to their client's houses to fix technical issues. Support technicians who work on this basis may be self-employed or work for a small company. Furthermore, they could work for a technology company and help customers who come in with their laptop, tablet or smartphone.

How much do support technicians earn?

On average, support technicians in Australia earn $69,892 per year. This takes into account factors like their location, skills, company and years of experience. Support technicians who have been in the role for longer may have a higher than average salary.

What is the career progression like for a support technician?

Some support technicians stay in this career throughout their professional life, possibly becoming the head of their department. Nonetheless, it is possible to use the vocational experience gained from being a support technician to move into other roles in IT. These could include an IT consultant, cyber security specialist or a developer.

As the role of technology expands more in our daily life, an increasing amount of support technicians are necessary. Therefore, it could be a career with job security.

Related: What Is an IT Consultant? (With Skills and Qualifications)

What are support technicians' working hours like?

A support technician typically works for the hours that the business is open. Typically, if they work in an office, their hours could be standard office hours from Monday to Friday. If they work in a school, they may finish around when the students finish and may have shorter days. They may finish later in a university or even work on a shift basis, as some parts of universities are open in the evening.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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