Whether you’re entry-level or you have a few years of experience under your belt, a job on the help desk at a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can be a great springboard to a fulfilling IT career. The help desk (or service desk) is a place where IT professionals can develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, as well as learn what customer service is all about as it relates to technology users.
You might think that being on the help desk sets you in the line of fire for people who are less than pleased with how their technology is working, and you’d be right. Some people on the other side of the phone will indeed express frustration and there will be some personalities that are more challenging than others to deal with, but what you have to remember is that you’re their helper with the solution that’s going to turn their day around.
What’s more, you’ll get plenty of feedback for your success and for those times when a solution is harder to find, you’ll have a team behind you when you need assistance or escalation.
Some people who work as Service Desk Technicians find that this is their niche. They enjoy working with people and as they get more experience they act as mentors for new employees coming into the department. Other people use their Service Desk job as a stepping-stone to a different role.
Either way, there’s a lot to learn that you can use to build your IT career.
What You’ll Learn on the Help Desk
1. Exposure to Different IT Environments
A managed IT service company works with many different companies, and they all have unique IT environments. As a Help Desk Technician, you’ll work with employees at all of these companies so you’ll be exposed to various infrastructure arrangements and software. You might be working with an attorney whose law firm has an onsite server on one call, then the next call will be from a construction worker out in the field on a tablet accessing cloud apps, which brings us to our next point.
2. Learn How People Interact with Technology
You’ll definitely gain a good understanding of how people use and learn technology by the kinds of issues that arise. People who are fairly tech savvy will have different questions compared to those who take more time to learn new technology. Your encounters will teach you how to adjust and you’ll get really good at asking the questions that get to the heart of the matter that’s plaguing the user.
3. Learn How an MSP Operates
Working at a managed IT service company is very different from working with only one IT environment. In addition to exposure to different IT environments and types of technology users, you’ll find out how teamwork, documentation and accountability are at the core of how an MSP operates. You’ll also discover how it takes a team of people who bring a wide variety of expertise and experience together in order to deliver all of the services that are expected in an outsourced IT department.
4. Exposure to Various IT Roles
Learning how an MSP operates will give you unique insight as to the roles that are needed for sophisticated IT and cybersecurity management. As you develop your career, you can explore different roles for yourself and find which aligns with your interests and personality, and energizes you. As you have the opportunity to try out different positions, you’ll build your skillset and background knowledge which will become a foundation for career success whichever direction you decide to go.
5. Exposure to IT Support Technologies
The technology tools that one MSP uses aren’t necessarily the same as another’s but learning about IT support technologies will help you learn how activities flow through the organization. You might not be able to get your hands on all of the tools while you’re working on the help desk, but you should be able to access dashboards and get a feel for how network health and security are tracked and evaluated.
6. Earn Industry Certifications
The knowledge and skills that you build from your experience working on the help desk will be supplemented by your attainment of industry certifications. You might start with CompTIA A+ (if you don’t already have it) and move along to Network+. Microsoft offers numerous certifications as do the manufacturers of technology tools like firewalls, EDR and cloud services. It’s standard for MSPs to offer reimbursement for the costs that are incurred from taking certification tests.
7. Gain Customer Service Experience
While you’re working on the help desk, you’ll soon discover the importance of providing customers with a great experience. As you move to other roles you may find that your interaction with clients increases. You’ll gain self-confidence in your ability to communicate with every conversation that you have.
Up Your IT Career Game at XPERTECHS
Here at XPERTECHS, we often have openings on the Service Desk team because many of our employees who started there have moved on to other roles. They used the experience as a springboard for their IT career, and so can you.
Learn more about Service Desk job opportunities at XPERTECHS.