What does an IT technical support engineer do?
A technical support engineer (also known as a technical support officer, IT support technician or technical support analyst) is responsible for monitoring and maintaining a company’s hardware and software systems.
IT technical support engineer job description
Exact responsibilities can vary depending on the type of organisation and industry, but as a general rule you will be required to:
- Install and configure computer hardware, software, networks and applications
- Continuously monitor and maintain systems and networks
- Respond to technical support calls from other staff members or clients and communicate how to resolve issues
- Diagnose and troubleshoot system and network problems, software faults or hardware complications
- Support the roll-out of new applications
- Keep a record of issues, along with solutions, to refer back to in future instances
Types of employers
IT technical support engineers are required to work across a wide range of industries, so you could look for jobs with:
- Pharmaceutical, medical device or biotechnology companies
- Software, equipment and application service providers
- IT support companies
- Call centres
- Educational institutions (schools and universities)
- Engineering companies
- Manufacturing companies
- Security organisations
To find out who’s hiring right now, search technical support jobs here.
Qualifications and experience required
You will likely be required to hold a degree or HND in order to get into this area of work. Relevant subjects include computer science, software engineering, information technology and business technology – and can all improve your career prospects. You won’t need to undertake a postgraduate qualification to gain work as a technical support engineer, however it can sometimes be advantageous within highly competitive companies or if your undergraduate degree is not in a related subject.
It may be beneficial to complete a professional IT course to improve your chances of finding work. Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA and (ISC)2 all offer highly-regarded, widely recognised industry certifications which can help demonstrate your technical skills to potential employers.
In terms of experience, you should try to gain as much practical work experience as possible during your degree that relates to IT support. This can be done through university placements, summer internships or module assignments – or even part-time work alongside your studies.
Find downloadable CV and cover letter templates for an effective job application here.
How to become an IT technical support engineer
To get into this career field you will be required to have a range of skills, including:
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
- The ability to handle large amounts of information
- Teamworking skills
- The ability to think logically and strategically
- A methodical approach to tasks
- Customer service skills
- Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
- Organisation and planning skills
- Flexibility and adaptability
Along with these basic skills, you will need to have good working knowledge of the programs and applications typically used within IT support roles, which include Microsoft, Linux and Cisco technologies. You will also be required to understand technological equipment, scripting languages and computer systems.
Within an interview, you are likely to be asked questions that explore your familiarity with troubleshooting technical problems and maintaining systems, such as “what is your troubleshooting process?” and “if I am experiencing problems with my Windows 10 system whenever I login, what should I do?”. An employer will also want to know about your ability to communicate effectively with customers, and may ask you to describe a time when you have gone above and beyond to provide assistance. You should always aim to use the STAR technique when answering interview questions, which you can find out more about here.
There are a variety of ways to search for IT support positions. Job sites such as New Scientist, Just Engineers and Indeed are a great place to start, as well as professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. Specialist recruitment agencies like CK Group are one of the most effective ways to find engineering and IT roles, as they are able to offer tailored advice and support as well as speak with employers directly to provide candidate recommendations.
Sign up to CK+ to apply for roles at the click of a button and receive job alerts straight to your inbox here.
Starting salaries for IT technical support technicians/engineers can range between £18,000 and £23,000 depending on the industry, type of company and location of the role. With some experience, this can rise to an average of around £30,000, and more senior roles can pay up to £40,000.
There are a variety of career progression possibilities, such as:
- Progression into a more senior role that takes on a higher level of responsibility and the opportunity to manage teams
- A move into a different industry using the transferrable skills gained
- A move into a different area of IT such as software engineering, data analysis or project management
- Becoming a freelance or contract worker
- Data Analyst – involves collecting, analysing and interpreting data in order to produce sets of insights that are useful to organisations.
- Software Engineer – responsible for using scientific and mathematical knowledge to develop, build and maintain computer systems.
- Technical Writer – uses technical knowledge to write specialist information about products and services, how they work and how to use them.