Important Skills for Tech Support Jobs

•••

 Blend Images - Inti St Clair / Getty Images

Most large or medium-sized organizations that use computer systems (which is just about every organization) hire in-house tech support staff. Smaller companies and private individuals often rely on independent contractors for the same services.

Qualified tech support specialists are in demand, but the work is not easy, often requiring on-call or shift work.

It is possible to spend a career in tech support, moving up to supervisor and management levels. Alternatively, technical support work can provide a firm foundation for careers in other fields that also involve extensive computer use.

What Are Tech Support Skills?

Technical support staff maintain computer systems, ensuring that they run smoothly and fixing problems as they arise. Tech support staff may also install and configure new hardware and software, undertake regular upgrades, and help other employees set up accounts, reset passwords, and respond to other computer system-related questions. Duties also include maintaining records of software licenses, re-stocking equipment, and staying abreast of current developments in technology.

Requirements for entry-level tech support jobs vary. It is possible to find employers who will accept candidates without a degree, provided you can do the work.

Others require a degree but do not care about the type of degree, again, as long as you can meet the other job requirements. In general, though, a college degree helps a great deal, especially if it is related to computer science. Some jobs may require certification, either in place of a college degree, or in addition. 

Aptitude for new ideas plus a willingness to learn are vital, due to the simple fact that technologies change so quickly. 

Additionally, experience in customer service also helps. Experience or training in recent computer/software developments helps a great deal.

Types of Tech Support Skills

Technical and Analytical

Of course, you need to know how computers, tablets, and other related electronics work and how to troubleshoot them. You must not only understand the systems that you work with but also any new developments in related hardware or software.

While the technical part of technical support is indispensable, it’s not enough by itself. You also must have the soft skills necessary to work efficiently and to work well with others that lack the same experience that you do.

  • Ability to Learn New Software and Hardware
  • Active Listening
  • Adaptability
  • Analysis of Technical Issues
  • Application Support
  • Assessing Customer Support Needs
  • Attention to Detail
  • Case Notes
  • Data Migration
  • Data Settings
  • Detail Oriented
  • Diagnosing Hardware
  • Diagnosing Software
  • Error Logs
  • Explaining Technical Information Clearly
  • Identifying Process Improvements
  • Mechanical Reasoning 
  • Mobile Devices
  • Operating Systems
  • Networks
  • Patience
  • Redirecting Problems to Appropriate Resources
  • Web Applications
  • Web Support
  • Troubleshooting

Organizational

To work efficiently, you will need to organize both your time and your equipment properly. While being organized comes more easily to some than to others, these are skills you can learn and practice.

There are various techniques you can use to improve your attention management, keep better track of your materials, and plan your projects well.

  • Productivity Software
  • Follow Technical Instructions
  • Help Desk Reporting Systems
  • Meeting Deadlines
  • Multitasking
  • Prioritizing 
  • Scheduling
  • Attention (Time) Management
  • Working Quickly
  • Writing Clear and Concise Emails, Memos, and Reports

Interpersonal and Communication

Tech support means working with both machines and people.

Not only do you need to work well with your coworkers, but a major component of tech support is customer service.

Most of the people you assist will not know anywhere near as much as you do about technology. That means that you must rely on your interpersonal skills to demonstrate that you are taking their problems seriously and working to resolve the issue as rapidly as possible.

If your first suggestion does not work or if the problem recurs, your clients won’t be able to tell that there is a legitimate reason—unless you can earn their trust.

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Customer Service
  • Empathy
  • Flexibility
  • Following Scripts
  • Friendly Demeanor
  • People Skills
  • Conflict Resolution 
  • Convincing Customers to Persevere with Platforms
  • Interacting Calmly with Agitated Customers
  • Maintaining Composure
  • Managing Customer Expectations
  • Mentoring Junior Staff
  • Soliciting Customer Feedback to Improve Service
  • Teaching Customers How to Work Around Product Limitations
  • Teamwork Skills
  • Training Customers to Use Technology
  • Stress Management

More Tech Support Skills

  • Accuracy
  • Administrative Skills
  • Phone Etiquette
  • Application Installations
  • Comprehending Technical Documents
  • Conducting Online Chats
  • Critical Thinking
  • Debugging
  • Decision Making
  • Documentation
  • End User Support
  • Enterprise Systems
  • Hardware
  • Installing Systems
  • Microsoft Office
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Promoting Additional Products and Services
  • Quality Assurance
  • Quality Consciousness
  • Reliability
  • Reporting
  • Software Support
  • Software Upgrades
  • Support Systems
  • Technical Aptitude
  • Technical Support
  • Testing
  • Ticketing Systems
  • Working Independently

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

ADD RELEVANT SKILLS TO YOUR RESUME: In your resume and application, remember to highlight the skills your prospective employer is looking for.

MENTION SKILLS IN YOUR COVER LETTER: Allow your cover letter to expound concisely on ways that you’ve maintained or upgraded technologies in past jobs.

SHARE EXAMPLES IN JOB INTERVIEWS: When you prepare for your interview, plan to give examples of particular ways you have embodied the various skills your prospective employer wants.

Article Sources

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Computer Support Specialists." Accessed April 29, 2020.

  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics."What Computer Support Specialists Do." Accessed April 29, 2020.

  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "How to Become a Computer Support Specialist." Accessed April 29, 2020.