IT support refers to specialized services that organizations offer to users of certain technology-based services or products. In simple terms, IT support provides assistance to customers in terms of certain technical issues with a particular product or service, and not offering training, provision or modification of the product itself. To provide IT support, an organization usually contracts with an external service provider that provides support as and when required. The term ‘IT support’ can also be used as a generic term for a set of related activities involving IT professionals (such as network security, software product management, database server management, and software testing).
IT support specialists are IT professionals who work on specific IT issues. A typical IT specialist works in the area of computer systems or hardware. These professionals may specialize in a particular area like database server management, web site design, application design, desktop management, or any other specialized field. Many IT support specialists work in close collaboration with network security experts so that a well-defined overall security solution is provided to the organization. Network security specialists often work as part of a team of IT support specialists and rely on their shared knowledge and experience in providing IT support to organizations.
Computer support specialists deal with questions and problems regarding computer systems. They are called upon by a customer when a new computer system is installed or when it fails to operate properly. The typical computer system specialist will have extensive knowledge about hardware, software, networking, desktop machines, memory, computers, peripherals, servers, and all of the different software programs that are installed in a computer system. Most computer system specialists use specialized software programs to assist them in their work. In most cases, a computer system specialist will be called upon to answer questions concerning hardware problems, support for software programs, or problems with network operations.
IT support specialists may also come into contact with customers who have questions regarding computers and their hardware. Often times, they will find themselves called upon to provide technical support at an organization’s data center or at a customer’s location. In both situations, it is important that the specialist has the correct knowledge, software tools, and training to do his or her job.
There are many job listings on the Internet for IT technical support specialists. Some of the most popular fields for IT technical support careers include network security, online data administration, network management, information technology training and consulting, computer repair, and software development. Each of these job fields requires different skill sets and different amounts of education and training to become employed as a specialist. The level of education and training needed varies with the type of IT support position that an individual specialist hopes to get into.
All IT support specialists have some level of responsibility for troubleshooting computer systems that have gone out of order. Their primary responsibilities would include fixing problems that involve telephone lines, modems, networks, and email systems. Their primary job duties are usually not as complex as those of network technicians since most of their work involves fixing basic software problems.
When IT support specialists are called upon to evaluate a network, it is their job to make sure that all necessary upgrades are performed to get the network running properly again. A trained technician may also need to troubleshoot hardware issues, such as when a computer system fails to send or receive information or when the hard drive in the system cannot be salvaged. Computer repair specialists usually work under a general contractor, although smaller businesses sometimes hire their own technicians.
IT technical support specialists must learn a variety of computer programs as well as troubleshoot different types of hardware and software installations. They often must work in close collaboration with network technicians, as they each have slightly different roles in the IT support process. Network support specialists usually handle the technical side of network setup and maintenance, while computer technicians usually deal with hardware upgrades or software installations. Both support specialists must be licensed in their respective states in order to work in the state of their choosing.