Careers in Computer Support: What's Your Role as a Helpdesk Analyst?

Updated December 2023

What would the world do without talented, patient, knowledgeable IT support professionals?

Organizations across the globe are absolutely dependent on high-functioning computer networks. And yet most people know very little (or zero) about how their computers actually work, and what to do when things go wrong.

Enter the helpdesk analyst. This is the person you call when you can't log in to your company network, your new software won't install properly, or you foolishly open a virus-laden email.

As our reliance on computers and connectivity grows, so does demand for technical support specialists who can quickly troubleshoot problems, and get systems back up and running.

Thinking about entering the growing field of IT technical support? Considering a career as a helpdesk analyst?

Take a closer look at what it's like to work on the helpdesk, the kinds of problems you'll solve on a daily basis, and your job prospects.


What Does a Helpdesk Analyst Do?

First, we should clarify titles for this role. If you're looking at job postings or articles on IT careers, you'll notice helpdesk analysts are known by several different names, including:

  • IT Service Desk Analysts
  • Helpdesk Technicians
  • Helpdesk Support Analysts
  • Technical Support Specialists

All of these titles refer to the same kind of position: one where trained professionals help clients with computer hardware, operating systems, applications, and networks. 

You might work for a company that handles outsourced technical support for several clients. Or "in house" with an organization that provides technical assistance to clients who purchase its products or employees who use its network.

This means you could work for an IT services company, a hospital, a government agency, an educational institution, or any other organization large enough to need ongoing IT support.

The next key thing to know about helpdesk jobs is that they're divided by level of difficulty and required expertise. Level one helpdesk analysts handle fairly routine technical issues, often working with a checklist of troubleshooting steps and procedures.

Level two requires more technical knowledge and problem-solving experience, and level three analysts handle the most challenging problems.

Smaller companies usually have just one tier of helpdesk support. All inquiries and issues go through that one single level, and when a problem is too difficult for the analyst to resolve, he/she escalates it to a specialist.

Large companies often work with the three-level system. As a recent computing support program graduate, you would be competing for level one helpdesk analyst positions, with the goal of working your way up to the more advanced ranks.

What would your main tasks be on a daily basis?

Level one helpdesk analysts handle the following:

  • Malfunctioning computer hardware and peripherals
  • Connectivity issues
  • Problems with software installation and configuration
  • Client information retrieval, like a lost password or username
  • Issues related to remote network access 

Helpdesk analysts are also expected to:

  • Manage the helpdesk ticketing system
  • Contribute solutions to the company knowledge base
  • Escalate tickets to the appropriate specialist, as needed
  • Assist with training new helpdesk analysts
  • Provide support online, through email, or by phone


What Skills Are Most Important for Helpdesk Analysts?

In addition to formal education (such as a diploma in computing support), excellent product knowledge, and superior problem-solving skills, what else will you need to excel as a helpdesk analyst?

These are the qualities almost every employer will look for:

  • Amazing customer service skills (you are patient, professional, and ensure each client's technical issue is completely resolved before ending the call)
  • Willingness to continue learning, building your product knowledge, and developing a stronger tech support skillset
  • Teamwork
  • The ability to work well under pressure, in a fast-paced environment
  • Excellent spoken and written communication, usually in both French and English
  • The ability to work independently, without a lot of supervision and assistance
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills

Related: Helpdesk Meltdowns—How Computer Support Techs Handle Upset Clients


Career Outlook & Salary for Helpdesk Analysts

The Government of Canada Job Bank gives IT support technicians/helpdesk analysts three to four stars for outlook for most areas of the country through 2025.

This is excellent news for computing support program grads looking to land their first helpdesk positions.

What kind of salary can you expect to earn, just starting out in this role? The Job Bank pegs starting helpdesk salaries at approximately $37,000 per year. The median salary is about $60,000, and at the highest range of the pay scale, helpdesk analysts are making around $99,000.


Want to Learn More About Careers in Computer Support?

Ready to take the next step and find a trustworthy computer technician college?

Explore the computing support diploma offered by Herzing College (training available in both English and French). Click below to see a list of courses, admissions requirements, and career options—or fill out the form on this page for free information. We're here to help!

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