IT Support: A career of providing technical assistance
Looking to get into careers in IT and want to know exactly what IT is, what the job market in South Africa looks like and the many the different types of Information Technology jobs out there? Today we take a closer look at IT Support jobs, what the job involves and the training and qualifications you will need.
What is Information Technology (IT)?
So what is IT and what areas does it cover? IT, or information technology focuses on the management and processing of a range of information, from computers and networks across businesses and organisations.
This ranges from the hardware, applications, databases, servers and support systems. All of which play a key role in businesses and organisations’ operations and day-to-day functions, which is why having a strong IT, and IT support team is vital.
Careers in IT
As for the IT jobs market, it is one that is highly competitive across the world and South Africa is no different. With a range of IT jobs and options from desktop support jobs and working with hardware or software, to IT support jobs and working with systems, networks, cyber security and web development, it is a broad and all-encompassing field.
Careers in IT involves an industry where you can learn, grow, work and adapt as new changes and technology comes out. You can find yourself in a range of businesses and organisations, from financial institutions, retailers, government, healthcare, software suppliers and many more.
Almost all of the IT jobs ensure a fast paced and exciting environment, with ever changing technology and workplace opportunities.
A vital position in the IT industry is that of the IT technical support team. As one you would play a vital role in many organisations and businesses. Why? This is due to the fact that the main role is to monitor and maintain a range of relevant computer networks, systems and applications.
With desktop and technical support jobs, you help set up, install and configure various networks and work with a range of hardware and new technology in a bid to help streamline processes, minimise faults and solve a range of technical problems that clients run into. This is done either in person, or on a guided phone call.
As computer networks and systems are vital to just about every business, it is key to have a strong IT support team in place to run and maintain the various elements.
Responsibilities of IT Support Professionals
Your role in tech support jobs may change according to your workplace but there are many roles and responsibilities that you will need to take on regardless of where you find yourself.
These responsibilities include ensuring that all operations, systems and networks run smoothly and that customers and clients are dealt with, in a professional and efficient manner.
As such, you’ll find yourself installing, setting up and configuring a range of software and various applications for business use. You’ll also have to be on hand to maintain and keep an eye on networks and systems.
IT Support Technician jobs entail all of this alongside providing technical support and know-how on various problems and faults. You’ll also have to be on hand to repair and monitor various systems and issues that arise.
You’ll also have to prepare and compile relevant reports on the networks, systems and the overall operations for customers and clients, to help with efficiency.
You’ll need to help in the roll out of new applications, various jobs, project deadlines and new technology.
Your main responsibility with all technical support jobs is to provide support and guidance on a range of IT related happenings.
You can expect to find yourself in an ever-changing workplace, due to the changes in technology and various systems. The job may also require some travel and you may be on call, work shifts or work overtime on certain projects, if deadlines need to be met.
Skills Required for IT Support Jobs
While the workplaces may differ, the skills you will need for a range of IT support jobs are likely to be a combination of logical thinking, an understanding of operating systems and software, as well as problem solving skills, in order to get the job done.
You’ll also need to have excellent communication skills, as much of IT and Desktop Support jobs entail helping and interacting with a range of customers and understanding and explaining the problem as well as offering solutions.
Working in IT Support Technician jobs you will also need to be able to work well in a team, have great attention to detail, meet and manage a range of deadlines as well as juggle tasks.
All of these skills are vital for you to be the best in your role.
Benefits and Career Opportunities in IT Support
As for benefits of Information Technology jobs in this field, they include working in an exciting and always changing environment, working with a range of people and helping customers and clients in need of advice and professional technical support.
The career opportunities are endless, as the industry is so diverse and there are so many opportunities out there, you can choose your next steps depending on what you love doing and what role you love working in. You can choose to become more specialised in various technical aspects and move to a smaller and more niche team, or you can move up in the roles and work your way up to a managerial position.
You can also consult and contract out your work, offering advice and services to various organisations and clients who need IT support services.
If all that isn’t enough, you can choose to move within the industry and specialise in systems, networks, or any area you choose, after completing some short courses.
As for the salary expectation, the average salary for IT Support Technician jobs, is that of R111,224 each year. It differs and a changes according to experience level, years worked and proficiency, while Microsoft certifications also come in handy.
Education and Training Required
You’ll need a certain education level and some training in order to get your start in IT support jobs and there is a range of courses currently offered at various institutions in South Africa to help you get your start.
You’ll find that having a degree in information systems or computer science will be hugely helpful in filling tech support jobs, with software engineering, another route to this career path. That said, if you have a passion for IT, have a business or management background and have completed enough suitable short courses, the options may extend further.
All of the universities in South Africa have a range of options for information systems and the various course options range from computer software development, business information technology and much more.
If you have an interest in careers in IT, like Tech and Desktop Support jobs for example, you can choose between institutions that include the University of Cape Town, WITS, the University of Pretoria and UNISA, whichever best suits your needs.
You can choose an undergraduate program be it a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, where you can choose specialised fields, from computer science, applied computing and much more. You can also choose from a range of postgraduate options, including Computer Engineering or short courses to brush up, or expand on your knowledge of the industry.
Each of the offerings and courses differ in length and it can take you up to five years to complete a degree in information systems, with Honours, and Masters taking a further two years.
You’ll find that having a Microsoft certification or a working knowledge and experience in Linux, Cisco and other technologies can also prove useful on this path.