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Helpdesk jobs- good or bad?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by ee01akk, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. ee01akk

    ee01akk Bit Poster

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    I have done 2 helpdesk jobs now, and neither of them really sparked my interest.

    The idea of waiting for the phone to ring everyday, answering questions that you either have no interest in answering or are so vague silly you feel like you're wasting your life irritates me.

    I have worked in IT support, and my advice to anyone thinking of a career in this area is, avoid it.

    The only areas that you can make real money in IT are software development, programming, web design, networking and database design.

    Support is no fun at all, and the pay is much lower than other areas of IT.
     
  2. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    All I can say to this is, what a load of twaddle. Just because you didnt like it, doesnt mean anyone else will.

    The fact is, Helpdesk is a fantastic area to get your foot in the door with little to no experience. Sure its a dull job (for a lot of people), but its good experience, and helps you get yourself onto another job up the ladder.

    I started as a helpdesk analyst and 3 years later, Im a software developer. All from no experience or qualifications. Theres little to no chance I'd have managed that aiming straight for a developer position.

    Helpdesk is a vital aspect of IT, and it needs to be done. It makes sense to delegate it to the newer people in the industry, as its a great way to learn without a great deal of stress to be too technical (to start with). Its good experience and a step onto the ladder.

    I have to say, if all you are interested in is money, then you are unlikely to find much enjoyment elsewhere. I work in development and I can Garuantee you here and now, you always get handed work you have little interest in doing. Im working in Baku right now, and a VB3 application. Its so old its unbelievable. But im paid to do it. I dont like it, but its my job.
     
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  3. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    So, I take it you think helpdesk jobs are bad? :biggrin

    I have a helpdesk job, and I love it.

    Whether or not you flourish in the environment would depend on a number of things including how large the helpdesk (or helldesk) is, what industry you work in, and what kind of SLAs you work to.

    I work for an SMB that has a small first line support team (3 people) that I head up. The entire IT department consists of 8 people. We have no SLAs. The work is challenging as our users are challenging (and by challenging, I don't just mean that they're idiots).

    You can't recommend to people *avoid helpdesks if you want a career in IT* because, like it or not, that's where a lot of people have to start. You get the more mundane jobs at the bottom of the ladder, but they're unfortunately essential for most people to make their way. Still it doesn't mean you need to work in a corporate calldesk environment, with a script you trip out every time your phone buzzes. A career is what you make of it.

    Oh, and the pay for Helpdesk Support is *sometimes* lower than the rest of the IT field, because we don't tend to need to know as much. That's why it's called experience. And learning. :wink:

    Pay will vary by industry sector, I'm afraid. What you've said above is generalistic shash. I know a Network Admin for a school who is paid only 2K or so more than I am. I also know first line techs that are paid that amount. Pick your industry and the company you work for carefully, and your first experiences of IT support need not be comparable to beelzebub and all his little demons using some kind of garden instrument to do nasty things to your nether regions... :biggrin
     
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  4. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Got to say, I disagree with this as well.

    If you are after money, working on a Helpdesk you can be a Backup Specialist in things like Veritas etc and you should be able to command £40K min, along with other perks, for just waiting to answer calls!
     
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  5. ee01akk

    ee01akk Bit Poster

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    Well I guess everyone's experience in IT is going to be different.

    I started off doing a 14K job as an IT configuration engineer, where they claimed I would be building, configuring and supporting servers, desktops, laptops, printers, MSAs, etc, and I ended spending my time filing, photocopying, doing distribution and the remaining 5% of the time getting to power on test laptops if I was lucky.

    Then I ended up in a helpdesk job paying 16K, where they crucified me when I was asking questions about their call systems, or support systems, saying that I should know it already and show initiative.

    Now I end up in a company paying 18K in another 1st line helpdesk job, where they criticise me for NOT asking enough questions, and time is dragging and I'm clockwatching because only 5 calls come to the support desk in a day split between a team of 4 people.


    I am a university graduate and I have had nothing but bad luck in IT support.
     
  6. Hades

    Hades Nibble Poster

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    18k a year with plenty of spare time to get your head in a book to expand your knowledge and your complaining?!!! :rolleyes:

    Make the best of your spare time and get studying in those gaps between calls, i mean if work says anything you are simply expanding your knowledge which must be a good thing for them! :D
     
    Certifications: City & Guilds Diploma in ICT level 2+3
  7. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    especially if they are complaining about you not asking questions about their systems. Just make sure you study systems they use.

    Dont mistake a couple of bad personal experiences with the level as a whole. Thats like having a couple of ginger people kick you in the nuts as they walk past in the street, and immediately proclaiming (at the top of your voice) 'ALL GINGERS ARE C*NTS!', then telling everyone to stay well clear of them.

    I feel sorry that you've had a hard time with the helpdesk jobs you have had, but they arent all like that. Even so. soldier on and move up the ladder to where you want to be. Few people enjoy staying in helpdesk (fewer still who are actually good at it - even good IT folk are not necessarily good at the skills to be a good helpdesk op).

    18K is not a shabby wage by any stretch. Helpdesk I worked on was paying 12K until very recently (a few months ago - long after i left helpdesk). And if you have plenty of time, I agree, study study study. Or look into scripting and develop ways that will make your job easier/better. I learned vbscripting in an account admin job for just that reason. And now, im a developer. Go figure.
     
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  8. Hades

    Hades Nibble Poster

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    Definatley worth looking into.. improving the working system and creating "Noddy Guides" will at least make you look busy instead of sat there twidling your thumbs. Its not a bad thing to be seen as proactive and an asset to the team...

    that and the easier you can make your job the better I allways say :biggrin
     
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  9. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    or... if you really are that bored with nothing to do. ask for more responsibility. extra things you can do will fill your time, make you look keen and responsible, and expand your knowledge.
     
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  10. Timewyrm

    Timewyrm Bit Poster

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    I wouldn't call that bad luck:

    1. You've managed to get a foot hold into the industry (which is something a lot of other people on here would kill for, lol)

    2. You've got spare time on your hands, at your workplace. You can use that to show initiative and to study, and then you'll be a lot closer to those "higher paying jobs"

    Make the most of it mate...
     
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  11. mickaveli2001

    mickaveli2001 Byte Poster

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    I think this would be an ideal job to get settled into, as a pillow, just to allow you to have the "IT Experience".. I don't think the job wold be that great - but what job is??? Even footballers would go off football when it is performed for the purpose of income rather than a hobby...

    Does anyone know what the basic pay is for a help desk job???

    I seen someone posted they got one with basically no experience, where would you look to get a job like that? just sopme regular job search site?
     
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  12. Hades

    Hades Nibble Poster

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    Most 1st line helpdesk jobs are achievable with little experience to no experience... as long as you show you have the aptitude to learn or can demonstrate some IT skills.

    Dont forget job descriptions are often a "Wish list" as long as you can get a tick in the right boxes during the application process's you can achieve the job... their are plenty of places to look for these jobs.. local papers, www.reed.co.uk etc.. :biggrin
     
    Certifications: City & Guilds Diploma in ICT level 2+3
  13. Finkenstein

    Finkenstein Kilobyte Poster

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    Helpdesk jobs are generally a huge stepping stone for most into the IT industry. That's how I went from a guy who tinkered at home to Network Admin. You get that Helpdesk job, learn all you can, study the stuff you want to know about and take on extra work where you can. You'll get the knowledge and the exposure and then you can move on. Of course it varies by company, however this has been my experience *most* of the time.
     
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  14. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Absolute rubbish. I was making decent money before I was a network admin.

    Support is what IT is all about... even as a network admin. Our jobs exist solely because we support users in some shape, form, or fashion. Lose sight of that, and you become one of those "anti-social server room rats" that companies really don't like hiring.

    There is a fairly standard career progression in IT administration, from entry-level to desktop support to server support to network support. Unless you've got an uncle who is an IT manager and is willing to risk the company's network in order to hire his inexperienced nephew (or niece) to be the network admin, then you'll likely follow the same career path that everyone else takes. And that means starting out supporting users doing some form of desktop support, like it or not.

    You don't have to stay in desktop support forever... but you do need to build up experience while you're there. Sounds like you think you're "too good" for that. If that's the case, and you are truly irritated when people call you for assistance, you probably shouldn't be in IT, because if that's your attitude, you're in for an uphill climb.

    I, like several of the others on here, actually enjoy doing support - even desktop support. I enjoy talking to users and helping them with their problems. As a result, my employers have seen my positive attitude and my career has done quite well for it. On the other hand, I've seen people with negative attitudes be passed over for projects and even lose their jobs. Make no mistake, employers see your attitude. The choice is up to you: which type of tech do you want to be?
     
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  15. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Exactly right. THIS is showing initiative.

    To be honest, if you've got four techs for five calls a day, you're in a poorly run company. That's just wasteful. But let management make that mistake, and you take the initiative to learn everything you can NOW, while you have the opportunity.

    And, at some point, you'll have to take the initiative to get another job... one where you can do desktop support while occasionally assisting server admins with server administration. This, in turn, will help you build experience for the NEXT level.
     
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  16. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Eh? Total BS mate.

    You really need to change your attitude if you are to get anywhere in IT. The further up you go in IT support, even into network design, you will still have to answer questions that will irritate you.

    Today I was asked by one of my customers “Do I need to renew the anti-virus subscription?” :rolleyes:

    <sigh>

    But in the afternoon I installed a couple of web servers so its all good! :biggrin
     
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  17. Bambino1506

    Bambino1506 Megabyte Poster

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    Great post BM, couldn't agree with this more.
     
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  18. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

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    I'm 90&#37; desktop support (which about 40% is done over the phone - even though we have a dedicated 1st line team) and 10% server support.

    This is my 2nd IT job, and I'm on pretty good money.
     
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  19. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

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    Cant add much more to this thread thats not been said already, but IT has peaks and troughs when it comes to being busy, the times when you are not busy seperates those who will head up the ladder, and those who will stagnate.

    I personally use any downtime in my current role either revising, reading many of the IT blogs or websites out there, or doing something like documentation or finding ways to make my job a little easier.

    My quick launch bar for example, is full of VNC shortcuts, MMCs to servers and AD, and links to some of our websystems.

    The 30 mins I spent one day setting this (theres a lot of shortcuts lol) save me 10 mins a day, so really you can choose what to do with your day, also this looks good in front of people (especially when colleagues take twice as long to do the same thing).
     
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  20. slyuen

    slyuen Byte Poster

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    I went from... onsite network support engineer

    to......

    helpdesk engineer..

    :-) not a demotion, just changed company, but am I supposed to be sad?

    Hopefully I could break out again soon.
     
    Certifications: ECDL,A+,Network+,CST,CNST,MCDST,MCSA
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