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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

Chris Sheehan explains what being an IT support technician involves – 1.30 mins

Hi, I’m Chris. I work at Datacom Systems in Wellington and I’m an IT support technician.

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.

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 intiatives, 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 14 March 2019