Although in many ways, computers have helped businesses improve their efficiency and delivery, when they malfunction or when software programs have glitches, there can be trouble. Most companies employ a team of support staff expressly to address computer problems. These individuals are sometimes described as help desk analysts. The main job of an analyst is to answer employees' technology-related questions and to strategize favorable results. He or she can work either within a company and for a company, and any time computers or technology are involved, this person is usually standing by to help fix things when they break.
The majority of help desk duties involve technological problem-solving. Most of the time, an analyst diagnoses problems over the phone, and there is often a special telephone hotline that employees can use to reach the department. After listening to the employee’s description of the problem, the analyst will usually ask the employee to try executing certain commands to resolve the problem. Depending on the set-up, this person might also be able to access the employee’s computer remotely in order to get a better sense of the problem.
If possible, the help desk analyst will resolve the problem with the employee still on the phone. If the problem is complex, however, he or she may have to visit the employee’s work station personally to get a better sense of what has gone wrong. To effectively do their job, these individuals must have a firm understanding of all the different computer programs and hardware that the company uses. The analyst must also be a good communicator and be able to effectively manage employees who may be frustrated or upset by their malfunctioning equipment.
The help desk analyst job description largely depends on the setting. Not all work with employees; some interface directly with customers. Individuals who work for Internet service providers or computer manufacturers, for instance, will usually answer calls from customers who are often far away, but nonetheless experiencing difficulty getting things to work properly. If the analyst cannot fix the customer’s problem over the phone, he or she typically will either schedule an in-house service call or offer instructions for getting hardware repair.
In order to be hired as a help desk support analyst, a person must generally have an in-depth knowledge of computers and technology, as well as the ability to get and keep certification. There are several leading industry certification programs available for people who do this job, ranging from technical competency on specific platforms to broad customer service training. It is up to an individual company to set the requirements for the kind of certification required to be a help desk support analyst, as well as the contours of any required training.