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Your help desk career: Dead end or launching pad?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by hbroomhall, May 1, 2008.

  1. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

    Bearing in mind the frequent suggestions on here of starting on a help desk I thought this article might be of interest.

    Read the article here.

    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  2. sunn

    sunn Gigabyte Poster

    It's all about the culture at a given organization. The only companies I've seen that segregate job responsibilities are large organizations. Small and medium sized companies just don't have the resources. Even the large orgs with quite large remote offices have people that wear multiple IT hats.

    What I mean by 'job segregation' is where the UNIX team does UNIX only; Networking team is only that (can be more broken down to WAN team & LAN teams), Windows teams (i.e. Exchange Group; Server Team; etc...)

    Most helpdesk roles now (that I've seen) will open doors to more opportunities as it helps the org and the staff. Company gets away from additional people acting as filters between tech team and helpdesk. While staff get more exposure to IT processes, troubleshooting techniques, and just general tech.
  3. Lev Arris

    Lev Arris Byte Poster

    I've been on both sides of the fence on this one.

    I think when u walk into a helpdesk u need to be asking:

    "What is the remit?"

    "Where are second level based?"

    If the remit is tiny and 2nd level are based abroad then the chances of progression are slim.

    Alternatively if they sit together etc.. then the chances of progression are great.

    I think any helpdesk provides a foot in the door. but the majority u'll want to be leaving after 6months to a place with better prospects.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, MCSA (270,290,291)
    WIP: CCNA ..Global Domination
  4. funkodrunko

    funkodrunko Bit Poster

    i got a helpdesk/service cesk job in january where I was first introduced into the world of remote fixing. After learning how to fix many problems remotely, I enquired about how I would go about making the move from the service desk to desktop support and I was advised that unless I had x amount of experience in x things then a move would be unlikely. basically the jump was too big. This news and the fact I couldnt stand talking to ignorant idiots over the telephone all day made me look elsewhere.

    I got a job in 2nd/3rd line support where they'll give me all the training i need and I feel that i got the job because of my previous position and mentioning the remote fixing, etc. So, yes, the helpdesk offered me something...a way out
    Certifications: HND Computing, BSc Computing
  5. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

    I agree with Sunn, in that the 'worthwhile' experience you gain is wholly dependant on the size of the company you are with.

    Sure, all experience is technically 'good' experience, as even logging and flogging should enable you to make some kind of move up the next rung of the ladder.

    As my only IT experience at all is with a medium sized company, I have no real basis for comparison other than what I read and hear from others within IT. From what I can gather, a medium company is the best kind to go for. Especially one that is investing in its staff and on a great growth curve.

    Most of you know I'm 'First Line Support' and yes, that does involve directly answering helpdesk calls. I think my job is made easier by the fact that a lot of my users are intelligent people. That doesn't mean they know diddly about IT; they are incredibly advanced in their own fields, but most can't change their own default printers. But their level of demand increases in line with the level of their perceived abilities. No matter how minor the fault, I'm kept on my toes by the fact that everyone believes their problem should be dealt with *now*. So despite being lower on staff numbers and calls logged than a lot of helpdesks might be, the complexity of the people I deal with more than makes up for it as far as my interest level is concerned!

    And then there is the workload as a whole. There is no way that when, talking in the 'Support Line' stereotypes, the job I do would be classified as First Line. Aside from knowing Domain Admin details and working on servers, I work on DMS data rooms; server configs; PC builds; software assessment; internal programming projects (not the programming bit, but the speccing of the project. I have also built websites for clients, and am often consulted by the people I support on the internet, on how forums work and suchlike, as they often get mentioned but aren't well understood. On top of this, I do hardware purchasing and asset maintenance, and support the admin team with our IP telephony system. It's neat, this first line malarky :)

    With the right company, first line will never, ever mean first line. As already mentioned, the resource wouldn't be there for members of staff to be so rigidly segmented. Helpdesks shouldn't be underestimated, but there again, they shouldn't be seen as a place to stay for heinously long, as there is always the danger of stagnation. Unless you like it. In which case, if it's what you want to do, and you like it, then where's the problem? lol.

    But I can't see corporate helpdesks ever expanding past the 'logger and flogger' script level of working. You want a helpdesk job to be effective? Hunt down jobs in your local paper and by word of mouth, rather than going for the corporate jobbies that may be thrown at you through sites such as Reed and Monster.

    EDIT: thanks for the article, Harry. A certain good find. Hope job hunters on CF find it handy :)
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  6. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    That's what it's for: a stepping stone to something better.

    Everyone starts at the bottom. Nobody says you have to stay at the bottom forever! Good job!
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!

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