Technical support refers to support services that commercial entities offer to end users of certain technologies or products. In simple terms, technical support provides assistance regarding specific technical issues with a technology or product, and not providing a general service, customization, or training of the product itself. Technical issues may involve software downloads, hardware installation, and software applications. Some companies also provide support for wireless devices and Internet-related services such as voice and data. In most instances, a managed service provider is the primary contact for technical support.
A computer system, for example, usually consists of hardware components
such as a motherboard, memory, processor, hard disk, and graphics cards. These elements are connected through a cable or network and then installed in a specific machine. The operating system, on the other hand, is the software program that makes it possible for machines to communicate with each other and with applications on a network. Each time a new program or hardware is installed, it is stored in the computer’s memory and executed in the appropriate machine. To provide support for software programs, an IT professional must be able to provide instructions to install it and perform specific tasks. It would be a challenge for an ordinary computer user to follow instructions provided by a software program, much less to carry out any kind of maintenance or troubleshooting.
The goal of every IT support team is to resolve technical issues according to the customer’s needs. For smaller organizations with just one or two machines, it is usually enough to have a single IT professional to manage the entire team. The tasks include basic functions such as repairing a damaged drive, upgrading a software program, installing an updated version of a hardware component, and providing technical support for software programs. Large companies, however, require additional support tiers such as network service, virtual services, enterprise content management, and video gaming, just to name a few.
IT support staff must also understand the different levels of support. Some companies use “hot” solutions – those that resolve specific technical problems instantly and include minor aesthetic improvements at the same time. Other companies use “cold” solutions – those that require downtime for which the client pays. A third option is “soft” support – which means evaluating a problem and determining whether it can be resolved on your own, without outside assistance. In any case, the specialist must assess the severity of the problem and determine how to best solve it.
Most IT specialists begin their careers by working in the field of computer software.
Most specialists start their work experience in a similar position (meaning that they started in an administrative capacity). However, there are a number of positions that are available in the field of information technology that do not involve working directly with hardware or information technology. These positions include network support, desktop support, help desk support, and testing. In many cases, these positions do not require any kind of actual on-site work experience.
One type of position that IT support managers can hold is that of a business analyst. Business analysts perform assessments on specific organizations, such as small businesses or large corporations. They typically use data and statistics to provide advice on how best to improve the operation of these organizations. Many times, business analysts are required to perform assessments in a work environment that will include both hardware and information technology. Typically, these positions are only available to those who have obtained a bachelor’s degree in computer sciences or a related field.
- IT tech support is another position that can be found in the IT support field.
- A technician supports specific hardware or information technology devices, such as computers and telephones.
- A technician performs diagnostic services on these items.
These types of positions often only require a high school diploma and usually do not require any kind of on-site work experience. Those who complete this certification may be eligible to become a supervisor.
The job of an IT support specialist can be extremely varied. The position can involve a wide range of tasks, depending on what type of position is desired. In most cases, the job involves providing support for information technology hardware or software programs, including repair or maintenance of hardware devices and software programs. Some IT support specialists provide hands-on training for IT professionals who want to work in on-site computer systems. By learning how to troubleshoot hardware or software programs, an individual can learn how to fix hardware issues and resolve computer system issues, allowing the person to provide assistance to other employees of the company.