Updated December 2023
Aiming to break into the IT field as a technical support specialist? Right now is a great time to do so.
The Government of Canada Job Bank forecasts moderate to good demand for this occupation across much of the country through 2025. What’s more, Randstad recently named IT support analyst one of the best remote jobs in Canada.
So what qualities and skills does it take to thrive in this role? What makes a truly exceptional and successful tech support analyst?
Read on for six skills amazing helpdesk professionals work on building throughout their careers.
1. Thorough product knowledge & ongoing learning
It should go without saying that successful IT support analysts know their products inside and out. This knowledge varies according to where you work, but generally includes hardware, software, operating systems, application installation, updates, security features, mobile devices, peripherals, etc.
In addition to thorough product knowledge, the best IT support professionals are committed to ongoing learning. They stay on top of new technologies, product changes, and upgrades—evolving with the industry and working hard to maintain relevant skills.
You may have just graduated from computing support training and feel you've studied enough, or you may already have a few years of work experience under your belt—but rest assured, there's always more to know. You'll perform better and advance more quickly in your career by actively seeking out new knowledge.
2. Advanced analytical skills for identifying problems & solutions
Whether you're troubleshooting tech support issues via chat, email, or phone, you'll need strong analytical and communication skills to determine the source of each problem and devise a solution.
Most customers will not have your level of expertise. They may use the wrong technical terms or have difficulty describing their problem in detail. The best helpdesk staff know how to read between the lines, ask the right kinds of follow-up questions, and piece together relevant information quickly.
3. Strong writing skills for taking detailed, relevant ticket notes
It is standard procedure for IT support staff to take notes on each call or "ticket" they work on—a record of what the technical problem was and how it got resolved (or whether a solution is still pending).
Detailed documentation is extremely helpful when following up with a client who has reported issues in the past or continues to struggle with an ongoing problem.
Ticket notes should clarify which troubleshooting steps were already tried as well as other pertinent information about the client and system.
Well-written notes can help speed up problem solving or help you direct the client to a more appropriate department/team member. This is a key component of superior customer service.
4. Ability to break down and simplify technical concepts
One of the most important skills for helpdesk staff is tailoring instructions to each client's individual level of technical knowledge. There is no "one size fits all" script; you will need to break down technical terms and troubleshooting steps further for some clients than others.
The best IT support professionals know how to quickly gauge their client's familiarity with technical terms and processes. They adjust their instructions accordingly, ensuring each individual receives easy-to-follow solutions.
Patience is obviously a key component here, as is careful listening, so you can make an accurate skills assessment right at the beginning of each interaction.
5. Knowing when to escalate a tough tech support issue
No client wants to waste time struggling to resolve their tech issue with the general helpdesk when what they really need is a specialist. Excellent helpdesk staff avoid frustrating delays by quickly identifying and escalating tough tickets to the right department or person.
While you may feel obligated to find a solution on your own, or reluctant to admit your limitations, your company will likely have a policy about escalating tickets—and it benefits everyone to follow it closely.
6. Reassuring the client you're available for follow-up help
It can take quite a bit of time for clients to explain their technical issue and walk through troubleshooting and resolution steps with a helpdesk analyst. We all know how frustrating it is to close the call or chat, assume the issue is resolved, and then realize it's actually not—and have to start the process all over again with a different agent.
If possible, offer clients a way to follow up with you directly, just in case the solution you provided doesn't end up working as planned. Really great support analysts take ownership of each problem, from first contact through to completion, making total client satisfaction their highest priority.
INTERESTED IN BECOMING A TECH SUPPORT ANALYST?
A quality training program can help you gain the skills employers value in IT support professionals.
Consider Herzing College's computing support program. It takes just 18 months to complete and is available at our Montreal campus.
Click below to get further details on the program or chat live with a friendly admissions advisor. We're here to help!