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Whats it like in 1st line/helpdesk support?

Discussion in 'A+' started by scott-jordy, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. scott-jordy

    scott-jordy Bit Poster

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    Hi everyone hope you can help with a few on the job questions

    I,m currently studying towards my A+ and starting to get a little unsure has to how much information/skills/knowledge i would need in a 1st line helpdesk support type job,has i think i know a lot but has you know theres always something new to learn.

    What is a job like in helpdesk/1st line do you use things like vmware to go through step by step helping customers on diffrent operating systems or is it all off the top of your head knowledge,im trying to get an idea of a typical day/problems and what to do next ie: pass on to line 2 line support if im not able to resolve problems.

    When you started your job did they give you time to get used to things or was it just a hit the ground running scenario.

    Hope you can help and thanks to everyone that posts scott.:)
     
    Certifications: Ecdl A+ Mcp 271
    WIP: Network + Mcdst Then ????
  2. Evilwheato

    Evilwheato Kilobyte Poster

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    We mainly support Windows users, but there will come the occasion when a customer will ring up using Mac Mail/Entourage :p
    I will admit and say I know hardly anything about them- which is why I go to the Internet and read through a user guide so I can take them through it.
    I work for a small company, so there really isn't much of a 2nd line support. However, you are never going to be asked to know everything. The skill is being able to find what your looking for and then solve the user's problem :)

    I was given a couple of days to get use to the systems/applications we were using, and then I was answering phones and replying to emails :)
     
  3. del_port

    del_port Byte Poster

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    Don't first line often pass the job straight on to 2nd line,who have more knowledge?

    To go straight from only doing the A+ to answering everybodys problems 100 % accurately,a possible 300 times per week seems impossible.

    There really isn't enough skills training in the A+ to be at that level.

    I've got 8 to 9 years repair experience,and the a+ and the mcdst ,but i'd have to pass quite a few jobs onto 2nd line if i began in 1st line,i'm not a walking encyclopedia of computer faults.

    If i got 1000 new faults to deal with per month i wouldn't know the answer to all of them.I don't think they expect you to know all the answers in 1st line.
     
    Certifications: A+ and MCDST 70-271
    WIP: mcdst 272
  4. scott-jordy

    scott-jordy Bit Poster

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    Hi thanks for the reply its good to know i dont need to memorise everything,im ok when it comes to having the machine in front of me troubleshooting has i can look around the Os when finding the problem just not to sure when guiding people over a phone and at what point id hand over to 2nd line.

    im hoping they would have help in some form or another ie: internet or software like vmware so that you go through the steps in a virtual program like vmware where you have vista,xp,2000 or similar in front of you to guide the customer through on there paticular OS has im not to good and remembering the sequences on 2000 or before ie:click start,control panel,internet options,etc.

    Not to sure about passing it on to 2nd line support when and if you do though.

    Do agree i would think you got to start somewhere and the A+ cant help you with it all has its more entry level

    Thanks for your replys so far keep them coming scott:D
     
    Certifications: Ecdl A+ Mcp 271
    WIP: Network + Mcdst Then ????
  5. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Depending on the company you work for, you probably won't end up getting 1000 new faults per month :biggrin

    My first job was (and is) "first line" but it's about as representative of "First Line" work as my left foot. I've never logged and flogged on calls, and work on a variety of systems between our XP users, our 2K3 servers, resolving VPN issues, SQL stuff, and am about to foray into Citrix.

    I also create the master images for our PCs; if these are solid, user calls aren't that varied tbh, and they're usually 'user error' based ones.

    It's really difficult to say, therefore, what your first job will be like - until you get it. Sorry, vague answer I know lol. If it helps, I got this job with my A+ and studying for the N+, but my boss has never regarded Certs as a requirement for hire or for progression.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  6. Pheonicks56

    Pheonicks56 Kilobyte Poster

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    I haven't landed my first job either so I'm guessing it is going to be much like any other entry level job. I would imagine they would train you to a certain degree like any other job, I mean they don't just hire you on and expect you to know everything. Your most likely going to have a supervisor you work under who will give you guidance and slack for the first month at least. Take advantage of other 1st liner's knowledge and experience.
     
    Certifications: BSIT, AAIT, A+
    WIP: Network+
  7. Tomsolomon

    Tomsolomon Bit Poster

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    I do wonder about 1st line support. Every one keeps telling me to get a job in first line, but my skills are tailored towards hardware support, I applied for a job first line and not one of the people in the call center had a single IT qualification between them.. They all had A'levels in like English and Maths.
    1st line is more of a memory test, and most of it is scripted anyway. If you want to go into software support then this is fine, and as far as I can see, its a job for monkeys, who cant use screwdrivers, and therefore, a dead end job that anyone with a scripted manual can do.... IMHO....
    I know your going to say well "you can learn alot about trouble shooting" but if there is a hardware fault nine times out of ten you dont need an OS to fix the problem, which is where you guys pass it on to the 2nd line to sort out. That with the fact that I am also training to become a Networking technician, It realy would be of no advantage to me to sit behind a telephone all day.....
     
    Certifications: C&G IT System Support, A+ Certification
  8. scott-jordy

    scott-jordy Bit Poster

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    Thanks for the info,im heading towards 1st line myself has a starting ground has this seems to be where entry level it tech's on the forums recommend then progress on to other jobs when proven experience is gained has my last 8 years has just been more of a hobby helping friends and family get back up and running.

    Thanks again everyone for the info :D
     
    Certifications: Ecdl A+ Mcp 271
    WIP: Network + Mcdst Then ????
  9. del_port

    del_port Byte Poster

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    All the 1st line workers i spoke to were averaging 300 answered calls per person per week.

    So 1000 calls a month seems perfectly normal.

    Also, if you work out the weekly wage for a person to be doing much less than that the figures don't add up.

    Say they only take 30 calls a day,5 minutes each call,what do they do with the remainder of the day?

    If i was employing someone i'd be looking for at least 60 calls a day as well.

    60 calls answered,rough estimate for each call £1- ,daily wage £60- ,weekly wage £300.

    Line 1 does not pay much more than this figure.
     
    Certifications: A+ and MCDST 70-271
    WIP: mcdst 272
  10. Jiser

    Jiser Kilobyte Poster

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    I pretty much been 1st line since 2006. Also upwards in what you could describe as being 2nd line and 3rd line in some circumstances.

    In my current job @ a school we do things via VNC/Remote desktop/phone or actually walk to the problem itself.

    In other jobs we used Citrix, VNC, phone, remote desktop once more. It was hard when we had to get laptops back from the upper reaches of Scotland etc.

    Pretty much in every job I was expected to just get on with it unless I didn't know how to do it - then I was told how (pen is useful here). Where I was the lone tech, it was just me and therefore I had to fix it and me only fix it. If i didn't know how to do it, I had to find out somehow. google :)


    Jobs you may get may be from toner changing, mouse won't work, password not working, user can't login, can't access outlook, pst file problems, emails not sending.

    Generally one would try everything possible in his/her own knowledge before passing on to next line which in my case is the Network Manager and the other tech who is more knowledgeable than me.
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), PGc, MCTS:Win 7, MCSA W7/MCITP EDST, ITIL Foundation, Prince 2 Foundation, C&G: Web Design, MOS 07: Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook.
  11. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    I think there is different types of first line, in the environment, that I'm in we have approx 15 first line bods who take around 20 - 30 calls per day.

    I would say they are skilled 1st Line as they are required to do the following:

    - No script
    - Fix re-occouring issues such as Outlook setup, reset passwords.
    - Troubleshoot Hardware issues
    - Troubleshoot Network connectivity issues
    - General advice on Office, usability etc.

    So, from the envirnonment I'm in, 1st Line is definatley a good place to start. Plus you get someone like me as a mental....err mentor to help you progress with exams and general training.
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  12. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

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    Your pulling me leg...
     
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  13. del_port

    del_port Byte Poster

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    things is,even to do the work you have just described the A+ is not enough.

    A+ doesn't cover outlook express at all, the MCDST does.
    The A+ doesn't cover microsoft office either, the MCDST does.
     
    Certifications: A+ and MCDST 70-271
    WIP: mcdst 272
  14. Tomsolomon

    Tomsolomon Bit Poster

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    About which part?????:blink
     
    Certifications: C&G IT System Support, A+ Certification
  15. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    The type of work you will get in first line will vary depending on the size of the organisation and also what hardware\software is being supported.

    Some of the SLAs on corporate level helpdesks are very strict, for example a call will have to be answered after X amount of rings. Compare that to a medium sized company where you don’t have those targets to meet so you can help user out and it’s not the end of the world if a few calls go through to voicemail.
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  16. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Jeeez, now that is one big ego you have there. :biggrin :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  17. ally_uk

    ally_uk Nibble Poster

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    Spent 2 years on a help desk poviding 1st line support to 250+ user's in a Windows XP / 2000/ Server 2K3 environment.

    Here are some of the jobs I did

    * Hardware, diagnostics, Repairs, Upgrades, Cleaning,
    * Operating System installation, Redeploying faulty computers including installing relevant upgrades + Software
    * Outlook Troubleshooting, Office troubleshooting.
    * Customizing the O/S to suit end user needs. I.e you may have a user with a disibility.
    * Maintaining System integrity i.e ensure hardware is running well, Clean up Malware, Spyware, Virus.
    * Troubleshoot Network issues, i.e switch failure, cable failure, I.P address conflict, Incorrect TCP/IP settings
    Server failure, User cannot access specific shared resources. Mapped drives not working.
    * PASSWORD RESETS!!!!!! you better get used to this! you will be doing it alot lol.
    * PrinteR Problems, i.e user cramming up Print queue, Faulty fuser units, Toner replacement, Lack printer connection due to someone has accidentally knocked the cat5 cable out of the printer lol.
    * Patching in phones and new network connections.
    * Making endless cups of tea
     
  18. Tomsolomon

    Tomsolomon Bit Poster

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    What you have to remember is....
    There are three different A+ certifications you can achieve, specific to the type of career you would like to follow......
    220-602 Technical support. (what I did) Desktop support/Field Technician (2nd line)
    220-603 Remote support Technician/Help desk Technician (1st line)
    220-604 Depot/Bench Technician (3rd line)
    How do you eat yours?????
    Like I said......
    My line of work does not invole me sitting in front of a monitor all day, answering phone calls from irate customers who shouldn't be allowed near computers.....
    So, tell me, why would you like me to take that job as a phone operator???:eek:

    PS... Advise for anyone taking A+......
    Make sure you are doing the correct module.
     
    Certifications: C&G IT System Support, A+ Certification
  19. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    What line of work? Do you actually work in IT? :blink
     
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  20. Tomsolomon

    Tomsolomon Bit Poster

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    I'm a Bricklayer m8 actually.
    Y? U offerin me a job then?????
     
    Certifications: C&G IT System Support, A+ Certification

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