Updated April 2021
What are your job options in Montreal as a computer network support specialist?
Which career paths are most likely to provide steady employment and competitive salaries after graduation?
Important questions for anyone considering a career in the IT support field.
In this post, we look at two of the most popular employment options for graduates of computer support programs.
Get a detailed job description for both roles, including the latest info on salaries and job outlook in the city of Montreal.
Career #1: Computer Network Technician
Computer network technicians (also known as IT technicians) work in-house for companies and organizations large enough to require on-going computer support.
Potential employers include telecommunications companies, large businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions.
If you pursue this career path, you'll be responsible for maintaining your employer's network—ensuring all systems are up-to-date, secure, and functioning optimally.
Tasks you'll perform on a regular basis include:
- setting up and optimizing new workstations
- taking charge of user accounts in the Active Directory (including creating/disabling accounts, setting attributes, assigning group and policies, etc.)
- installing, configuring, and updating new hardware and software as needed
- researching and recommending new hardware/software to meet the specific needs of users
- responding to requests for technical support from users, and troubleshooting problems
- providing technical training to company employees
- maintaining filing systems, training manuals, and logs
- organizing the use/booking of technical equipment for company employees
What else should you know about this role?
Computer network technicians usually report to a director of IT, and are expected to work fairly autonomously. Employers are looking for candidates who can quickly diagnose and resolve hardware, software, and communications issues, without a lot of supervision or "hand-holding".
Since you'll probably be dealing with users in this role (helping with training and troubleshooting), communication skills will also be key.
Montreal employers will prioritize candidates who are fluent in both English and French, and have demonstrated a talent for patient, professional customer service.
Working in-house as a network support technician is an excellent way to develop expertise in a particular field or industry. Permanent/full-time positions offer a great opportunity to hone your skills, and work your up to more advanced network administrator and supervisor roles.
Job outlook for computer network technicians in Montreal
The latest report from the Canada Job Bank is extremely positive for this career. The position of "network technician" was awarded 3/3 stars for demand and employment growth—primarily because of the expanding IT industry in Montreal.
Computer networks are growing more and more complex, and an increasing number of companies are relying on them for daily operations—which is driving demand for skilled technicians.
This is an excellent time to start a career in this field.
Network Technician Salaries
The Job Bank pegs starting salaries for this occupation at about $31, 000 per year. But the current, median salary for technicians in Montreal is closer to $60,000 per year.
According to the latest analysis from Statistics Canada, the highest paid network support technicians in Montreal are earning approximately $89, 000 per year.
So, there is certainly room to advance and increase your earning potential in this field.
Career #2: Helpdesk Computer Support Specialist
Are you really good at troubleshooting and resolving hardware and software issues?
Have a talent for walking other people through technical problems on their computer?
You would do very well in a helpdesk support position.
Helpdesk computer support specialists—also known as helpdesk analysts— work for companies who handle outsourced tech support for many different clients.
Or, they work in-house for a single organization, and provide support to its employees and customers.
Either way, your primary goal is to fix technical issues for users as efficiently as possible. Some of the challenges you'll deal with on a daily basis include:
- problems with remote network access
- hardware, peripheral, and software issues
- lost login information
- lost network connections
What else should you know about this role?
Helpdesk analysts offer support through online chat, over email, by phone—and also in person.
Your responsibilities could include training users and adding new technical solutions to the company knowledge base.
As a new graduate, you will probably get hired for a level 1 helpdesk position.
This is an entry-level position, where you'll be dealing with fairly routine IT issues, and will have a checklist to help you resolve common problems.
After gaining experience, you can work your way up to level 2 and 3 helpdesk roles, which demand a higher level of expertise.
The more difficult helpdesk problems are escalated to level 2 and 3 professionals, who are skilled in handling more complex networking issues.
Job Outlook for Helpdesk Computer Support Specialists
Just like computer network technicians, helpdesk support specialists get 3/3 stars for demand all across Quebec.
The Job Bank employment forecast for this profession is very positive, with steady growth predicted over the next several years.
Some positions will become available due to retirements, but it's our growing dependence on computer systems and networks that is creating new jobs for support specialists.
Helpdesk Support Salaries
According to Statistics Canada, the starting salary for helpdesk staff in Montreal is about $30,000 per year.
As of 2017, the median salary for technical support specialists in the city was $45,000—and at the highest end of the spectrum, professionals in this field are earning about $68,000 per year.
Learn more about careers in computing support
Explore the Computing Support Diploma offered at Herzing College Montreal, in both English and French.
Training takes just 14 months and prepares students for a variety of IT support jobs, including:
- IT support technician
- Computer support specialist
- Helpdesk Analyst
- Network Technician
- Network Support Technician