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Information Technology Helpdesk/​Support Technician

Kaihangarau Āwhina Hangarau Pārongo

Alternative titles for this job

Information technology (IT) helpdesk/support technicians set up computer and other IT equipment and help prevent, identify and fix problems with IT hardware and software.  

Pay

Information technology helpdesk/support technicians usually earn

$46K-$65K per year

Source: AbsoluteIT, 'Tech Remuneration Report', January 2018.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as an IT helpdesk/support technician are good due to a shortage of workers.

Pay

Pay for information technology (IT) helpdesk/support technicians varies. According to AbsoluteIT, IT helpdesk/support technicians in the:

  • lowest-paid group earn an average of $46,000
  • middle pay range earn an average of $55,000
  • highest-paid group earn an average of $65,000 a year.

IT helpdesk/support technicians working as contractors earn an average of $17 to $29 an hour.

Source: AbsoluteIT, 'Tech Remuneration Report', January 2018.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

IT helpdesk/support technicians may do some or all of the following:

  • identify and solve computer software, hardware and website problems
  • analyse user problems and suggest how to prevent future problems
  • assemble, install and test computer software, networks and servers
  • update and repair equipment
  • keep records of software and equipment.

Skills and knowledge

IT helpdesk/support technicians need to have knowledge of:

  • computer hardware, software, networks and websites
  • the latest developments in information technology.

Working conditions

IT helpdesk/support technicians:

  • usually work regular business hours, although they may need to work overtime or be on call
  • usually work in offices, call centres, computer rooms or at their clients' workplaces
  • may work in stressful conditions because they have to work to short deadlines, and fix faults quickly.

What's the job really like?

Elaine Hiroki

Elaine Hiroki

Service Desk Analyst

What sort of person did you imagine worked in information technology (IT)? 

“I assumed the IT guys would know everything - they’re so brainy”, says Elaine Hiroki, service desk analyst. But once she got into the IT world herself she discovered their secret.

“You don’t need to know everything – but you do need to know how to find out. Google is your best mate.”

How did you get into IT?

"I was in our business support [admin] team, and our CEO had issues with his phone. The IT team weren’t in so I went over and got it working. He said to the chief technology officer that I’d helped him.

"Then I asked if our team could have some IT training so we’d be the first port of call before the IT team got in. Later, I was asked to fill an IT position for one month in that team – and that secondment just kept rolling over.”

Several years later, she still loves her job, “I like problem solving and being able to help people, so I actually enjoy coming to work.”

What about dealing with stressed-out people whose equipment isn’t working?

“I’ve been that person on the other end, so I can feel their pain. We prioritise the problems that come in – P1 would be ‘Got to sort it now’ – for instance, if all the email is down. And team support is great – you say, ‘I’ve got a P1,’ and everyone jumps in to help.”

Information technology helpdesk/support technician video

Tom talks about what it’s like to be a service desk analyst – 4.58 mins

Tom: A Service Desk Analyst is someone who monitors and seeks to rectify any issues that are going on with networks and any telecommunication issues that our clients and customers could be experiencing. We're a middleman between the customer and the experts.

Well what we can do to resolve that is just do a password reset. No problem.

Our team is split into two parts. We have incidents and requests. The incident team take calls from customers that are experiencing faults. It can range from faults on their equipment or an entire site or an entire network across the country. I would work with my team to help resolve those issues as soon as possible, whether or not that means configuring something on our side that I can do through our many tools and applications or if it means assigning the ticket or the fault to the right team, the specialists. We need to get those sorted within a time frame and that means productivity, collaboration, fast and effective troubleshooting.

Is this just limited to that one application or is it all of them that you can't access?

And is that issue just related to yourself or are there other people experiencing that issue as well?

On the request side of the fence we deal with new broadband connections, new mobile connections, hardware, installation, responding to people's requests, logging these requests, monitoring them, managing them and seeing them through.

As soon as I’ve submitted the order I’ll let you know. I'll give you the reference number as well and we'll be in contact with you as soon as possible with an update.

Providing a good customer experience is always key.

Just give us a call back and we'll be more than happy to assist you further okay.

We'll keep in touch with the customer. If they need anything else we'll make sure that they're engaged and they're up to date. The end goal is to just resolve these problems and fulfil these requests as soon as possible and in the best way possible.

No worries, you have a good day.

Take care, bye.

It's always good to see if we can leave a smile on their face when we hang up.

Other aspects of the day can entail meetings with clients, with customers, meetings with management and collaborating with the people that are around you. It is a lot of emails, a lot of calls.

Okay yeah no problem at all.

Be prepared for that but to be honest it's probably the best part of the job. It keeps you stimulated, keeps you on your toes.

Okay thank you very much, you have a good day okay.

Enjoy the weather down there.

Bye-bye.

To be a Service Desk Analyst you don't really need any prior qualifications. The most essential skill for you to have is just be generally polite and just make sure the customer feels like they're getting the assistance they need.

You need to be able to converse clearly, work well as a team definitely. When you first get here it's new, it's fast-paced and it's professional. You sit down in an office, buzzing. There's a lot of new things that get put in front of you. A lot of new applications, essentially a new language. Looking at that you're like oh my god. Am I going to be able to do this? The answer is yes, you can. All the technical stuff that you need, that is provided to you as you go.

And then essentially that is everything we do.

You're never alone and I think that's key. As long as you have that drive. If you're positive and you put in the effort and the hard work, you can do it, you can achieve it and you will be given the chance to do that.

For me the most rewarding thing is having a difficult task be presented to us and working as a team, breaking it down and resolving it. I also get a great sense of achievement when I get a call from someone who's a bit distressed or not as tech savvy. I think if you help that person get to that end point and just help people in general, I feel like that's great. For me that's the biggest part of the job.

Overall this role is fantastic for someone actually starting off in this industry. It's a good way to build bridges, make new connections and also see where it is that you want to go. There's a lot of options. You're not alone and the people are open to teaching you new things. It is a springboard to other places.

Yep no problem at all.

Okay you have a good day, thank you very much for your time.

All right take care bye bye.

Entry requirements

There are no specific requirements to become an information technology (IT) helpdesk/support technician. However, you usually need at least one of the following:

  • a certificate, diploma or degree in IT support or other computing-related subjects such as information systems
  • strong interest in computers and familiarity with their technical aspects
  • hands-on training through an internship. 

You can also learn through online courses and tutorials, and work on your own projects.

If you are a graduate from a field other than IT, you can gain a fast-tracked IT-related qualification through ICT Graduate Schools.

Secondary education

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include digital technologies, maths, physics and English.

For Year 11 to 13 students, the Gateway programme is a good way to gain industry experience.

Personal requirements

IT helpdesk/support technicians need to be:

  • methodical, accurate and patient
  • able to work well under pressure, and meet deadlines
  • able to work well as part of a team, and with minimal supervision
  • skilled at problem solving and decision making
  • good communicators.

Things are constantly changing in IT so you need to be able to use a step-by-step process and follow that methodically to troubleshoot problems.


Photo: Elaine Hiroki

Elaine Hiroki

Service Desk Analyst

Useful experience

Useful experience for IT helpdesk/support technicians includes:

  • fixing computer hardware or software problems
  • computer programming
  • customer service or resolving complaints
  • designing and creating websites
  • hands-on training through IT-related internships and volunteer work.

Physical requirements

IT helpdesk/support technicians spend a lot of time using computers, so they need to know how to use computer equipment properly to avoid occupational overuse syndrome (OOS).

Registration

IT helpdesk/support technicians may choose to become certified through professional associations such as the Institute of IT Professionals.

Find out more about training

Engineering New Zealand
(04) 473 9444  - hello@engineeringnz.org - www.engineeringnz.org
IT Professionals NZ
0800 252 255 - info@itp.org.nz - www.itp.org.nz
NZTech
(09) 475 0204 - info@nztech.org.nz - www.nztech.org.nz
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Demand for information technology (IT) helpdesk/support technicians is strong because:

  • organisations rely on computer systems and networks to operate effectively
  • technicians are needed to support staff using those systems and networks, and to identify and fix any problems
  • there is a trend towards having IT helpdesk/support technicians in-house, so they can provide immediate help to staff.

Shortage of IT helpdesk/support technicians

The number of information technology (IT) trainees coming through is insufficient to meet demand for their services. 

There are about 8,000 IT helpdesk/support technicians, according to Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, but this is not enough to meet the demand for their services.

As a result, ICT customer support officer (IT helpdesk/support technician) appears on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled IT helpdesk/support technicians from overseas to work in New Zealand.

How to get your first IT job

You can improve your chances of getting a job by gaining experience through government and IT industry initiatives, which include:

  • internships like Summer of Tech
  • graduate programmes offered by IT companies
  • mentoring programmes
  • programmes to encourage more women into IT, such as ShadowTech.

Types of employers varied

IT helpdesk/support technicians can work for a variety of medium to large organisations, including:

  • companies that provide computer, database and network services to clients
  • software and web development companies that produce film, games and animation
  • marketing and advertising companies
  • government departments.

Ten percent of IT helpdesk/support technicians are self-employed. 

Sources

  • AbsoluteIT, 'Tech Remuneration Report', January 2018, (www.itsalaries.co.nz).
  • Hays, 'Information Technology: Hotspot of Jobs in Demand January- June 2018', accessed February 2018, (www.hays.net.nz).
  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Long Term Skill Shortage List', 19 February 2018, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, ‘2006-2014 Occupation Data’ (prepared for Careers Directorate – Tertiary Education Commission), 2015.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

IT helpdesk/support technicians may progress to set up their own IT support business, or move into management roles. They may also become software developers or business analysts.

Elaine Hiroki and two teammates sitting and looking at a computer, one person pointing at the screen

Helpdesk/support technicians help people resolve their computer IT issues

Last updated 8 June 2021