Information Technology Helpdesk/Support Technician
Kaihangarau Āwhina Hangarau Pārongo
This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Information technology (IT) helpdesk/support technicians help prevent, identify and fix problems with computer hardware and software.
IT helpdesk/support technicians usually earn
$43K-$60K per year
Source: AbsoluteIT, 'Remuneration Report', June 2017.
Pay for IT helpdesk/support technicians varies. According to AbsoluteIT, IT helpdesk/support technicians in the:
- lowest-paid group earn an average of $42,500
- middle pay range earn an average of $50,500
- highest-paid group earn an average of $60,000 a year.
IT helpdesk/support technicians working as contractors earn an average of $17 to $29 an hour.
Source: AbsoluteIT, 'Remuneration Report', June 2017.
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 make suggestions for prevention of 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 IT.
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 and 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?
IT Helpdesk/Support Technician
Playing with new gadgets is what Paul Thornley likes most about his job as an IT helpdesk/support technician at architecture firm Warren and Mahoney.
Setting up technical equipment and solving technical problems
As soon as you get the title of technician, anything remotely technical lands on your desk, from telephones to voice recorders, says Paul. "The best thing is you get to play with those new toys and set them up before anyone else.
"But mostly we help staff with problems they are having with their computers or programs. It might be someone is trying to move a file and it won't copy – it's my job to solve the problem as quickly as I can."
It can be tricky but also satisfying, says Paul. "It's a good feeling when you figure out a problem, especially when it's one that has taken you a few days.
"Occasionally there will be a bigger project, like implementing a new system or software program. We have to do the research and run tests to make sure there are no bugs before it's released to staff."
A great career ahead
Paul says it’s a career with good prospects once you get a bit of experience. "Two years' experience will give you some pretty good money and a lot of job opportunities."
- Earning good money early on in your career.
- Getting to set up new technical equipment.
- Dealing with people who are stressed because of a technical malfunction.
- Sometimes having to work after hours.
Chris Sheehan explains what being an IT support technician involves - 1.30 mins
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
My job can consist of me responding to technical queries raised by our customers. It can sometimes mean updating new software, application releases, new websites releases that we have for our customers.
What do you need to know to do your job?
They need to know a wide variety as an IT support technician. You need to know a little bit about everything – about software development, about service support, about networking issues.
So this is where you work from every day?
Not all the time, no, I don't have to be at my desk. Sometimes I work from home.
It depends on whether it is scheduled after-hours work and that's really the only time we can do this sort of work if we're looking after a busy website.
What is it you love about being an IT support technician?
That's the sense of achievement sometimes when you do happen to fix major issues with websites, for example. After you fix the issue you can see people connect from all over the world to their website so you can take credit for that.
There are no specific requirements to become an IT helpdesk/support technician. However, you usually need one of the following:
- a diploma in IT support or other computing-related subjects such as information systems
- hands-on training through internships.
Self-learning through online courses and tutorials, and working on your own projects, are common ways of gaining IT-related knowledge.
If you are a graduate from a field other than IT, you can gain a fast-tracked IT-related qualification through ICT Graduate Schools.
- NxtStep website - find IT internships and graduate programmes
- Summer of Tech website - information on the IT internship programme
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website - find out about ICT graduate schools
A tertiary entrance qualification is needed to enter tertiary training. Useful school 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.
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
- skilled at verbal and written communication.
Useful experience for IT helpdesk/support technicians includes:
- fixing computer hardware or software problems
- computer programming
- customer service or resolving complaints
- creating websites
- hands-on training through IT-related internships and volunteer work.
IT helpdesk/support technicians spend a lot of time using computers, so it is important that they know how to use computer equipment properly to avoid occupational overuse syndrome (OOS).
IT helpdesk/support technicians may choose to become certified through professional associations such as the Institute of IT Professionals.
Find out more about training
- (04) 473 2023 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.futureintech.org.nz/
- IT Professionals NZ
- 0800 252 255 - email@example.com - www.itp.org.nz
- (09) 475 0204 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.nztech.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Demand for IT helpdesk/support technicians is high because organisations are increasingly relying 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.
Shortage of IT helpdesk/support technicians
While demand for IT helpdesk/support technicians is expected to remain strong, the number of information technology (IT) trainees coming through is insufficient to meet demand.
A survey of IT employers in March 2017 reported that 79% of employers were planning to hire more staff. However, a third of employers also said their biggest problem was finding and retaining staff.
As a result of these factors, 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.
Increasing range of initiatives to get young people into IT
To deal with this skill shortage and get more young people into IT, the Government and the IT industry have introduced a range of initiatives. You can improve your chances of getting a job by gaining experience through these 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.
- Summer of Tech website - find out about their IT internship programme
- NZTech website - find out about ShadowTech
Types of employers varied
IT helpdesk/support technicians can work for a variety of medium to large businesses, 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.
- AbsoluteIT, 'Digital Remuneration Report', August 2017, (www.itsalaries.co.nz).
- AbsoluteIT, 'Employer Insight Report', March 2017, (www.itsalaries.co.nz).
- Hudson Recruitment, 'Hudson Report – Forward Focus', 2016, (nz.hudson.com).
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Long-term Skill Shortage List', February 2017, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
Progression and specialisations
IT helpdesk/support technicians may be promoted to team leader or management roles, or become software developers or business analysts. Some may also set up their own businesses.
- Information technology manager job information
- Software developer job information
- Business analyst job information
Last updated 17 November 2017