Help Desk skils?

awilliams1130awilliams1130 Posts: 2Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello,
A couple of years ago I decided to go back to school and found myself interested in the IT field. I ended up taking a 2 year degree with Computer Network Technology and some CIS. I have one semester left and I still feel like I do not have enough skills to get a job when I graduate. So with no experience in the IT field I thought instead of going for a job after I get my CCNA this Spring that I should start in Help Desk..
Can anyone tell me what certs I might need to get my foot in the door for an entry level Help desk job? Or any books I could get to help me learn about help desk? AW

Comments

  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    The Helpdesk is about customer service bottom line. No book can teach you that and more than likely you'll start by answering phone calls in many organizations if you get in the door. If anything the best advice I can give is to go in with a "can do" attitude and a willingness to learn and eat up any experiences you can. Not everyone starts at the Helpdesk but I think its a fundamental beginning to the IT field and a great place to get your mindset into the field. If you get an interview or you're writing your resume, focus on customer service and making sure they're happy and always in the loop on problems that you can't fix right away. That's the key to Helpdesk success and will help you stand out with management. I can attest to this as it's helped me tremendously over the last 10 years no matter what my job title was.

    If you want cert advice, well I started out basically with zero experience and just learned as I went so I'm going to rely on past experiences and pretty much de facto schools of thought. Things like A+ and Net+ are good for foundational learning. The CCNA might be a bit more to bite off with little to no experience and it's not going to instantly launch you into the career. The CompTIA certs are good starts and anything Microsoft related with regards to the Windows and Office platforms are solid time investments as most organizations use those at their core anyway.

    Basically when all is said and done, knowing how to take care of customers and who to ask questions when you don't know the answers and generally become interested in how they came up with those answers will carry you farther than most. GL and I HTH.
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    The A+ is a big help. A lot of people here will tell you to study Windows 7 but XP is still big in the corporate world so you might want to look at the MCDST.
    A+ is like a pre-requisite for entry level it seems and the things you learn from it will help you out. Net+ will also help some.
    I just had an interview today for helpdesk and nailed it . First scenario he gave me was A+ level, second was Net+ level, and the third was a combination of both.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    If you have the money (and drive) try to do the A+, network+ and Security+ before the end of the year. It would be a tight time period but it is doable.


    I think those three along with a MCITP:EST7 will help some. I am going to have to disagree with earweed on the MCDST - not because of XP doesn't have value but because I think certifying on a more current OS will be more beneficial (especially since you have no enterprise experience with either). If you do decided to do the MCDST I suggest you make it your business to do it quickly and upgrade to Win 7 right away. I think I remember hearing something about MCDST test retiring in March 2011 so get a move on!
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Yeah that's right about the MCDST tests retiring in March 2011, totally forgot about that. As for XP the "official" stat is that it has 60 something % of the OS market but in the corporate world it's way higher. I think Windows 7 is actually taking over the consumer market way faster than it is the corporate.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    earweed wrote: »
    Yeah that's right about the MCDST tests retiring in March 2011, totally forgot about that. As for XP the "official" stat is that it has 60 something % of the OS market but in the corporate world it's way higher. I think Windows 7 is actually taking over the consumer market way faster than it is the corporate.

    I agree about the corporate thing.

    As far as MCDST here are my other thoughts:

    If the OP goes for it, he will have to compete with (and have the same knowledge as) people who got their MCDST on the day it was minted. We are talking about some helpdesk techs with 8-9 years of Windows XP experience. Also there are probably way more MCDSTs than MCITP:EST7 (or MCTS 7) simply because of the age of the certs. I think he resume would have more pop if he did the most recent OS certs than older certs, especially since the OP has no experience.
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    That's true actually and I kind of agree that the "pop" factor of the resume is what'll get him interviews which he needs for a job.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Posts: 4,212Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Communication. Thats 95% of it.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • gunbunnysouljagunbunnysoulja Posts: 353Member
    I recently got my A+, and I'm working on my Network+. I took a course for MCDST and will be taking that shortly. After that, I'm going to take the 70-682 test which will give me MCITP: EDST so I'll have XP and Windows 7 covered for Entry Level. Also almost done with my A.S. in CIS. I'm hoping to get a help desk job soon!
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  • Mike-MikeMike-Mike Posts: 1,860Member
    spelling skills with two L's... sorry


    my first cert, HDI Support Center Analyst is supposed to be geared towards Help Desk...

    www.thinkhdi.com

    I had the course via a University, seems kinda pricey to pay for it on your own though
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  • XcluzivXcluziv Posts: 513Member
    If you have the money (and drive) try to do the A+, network+ and Security+ before the end of the year. It would be a tight time period but it is doable.


    I think those three along with a MCITP:EST7 will help some. I am going to have to disagree with earweed on the MCDST - not because of XP doesn't have value but because I think certifying on a more current OS will be more beneficial (especially since you have no enterprise experience with either). If you do decided to do the MCDST I suggest you make it your business to do it quickly and upgrade to Win 7 right away. I think I remember hearing something about MCDST test retiring in March 2011 so get a move on!

    That is true, I think alot more HR recruiters are looking at those people who hold MCITP certs, not saying the MCDST is a bad one though. If its expriring I would go for the most recent cert. But as QHalo stated, Helpdesk is customer service driven. Once you have that down pack you are good to go...the rest will come with experienceicon_thumright.gif
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  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    Your question is what certifications can get you into help desk? IMO with out a doubt number 1 is A+. It is the most recognized help desk / deskside support cert there is. Every HR department knows of A+, and actually might know what it mainly entails. That would be the best one to get imo. Once you get in helpdesk then things change. You can start to branch out Network + or CCENT or something like that. Also the MS certifications are really nice to have. Windows 7 would be another one to consider.
  • pakgeekpakgeek Posts: 53Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Mike-Mike wrote: »
    spelling skills with two L's... sorry


    my first cert, HDI Support Center Analyst is supposed to be geared towards Help Desk...

    www.thinkhdi.com

    I had the course via a University, seems kinda pricey to pay for it on your own though

    I second the HDI certifications, its been gaining traction and there is quite a bit of overlapping with ITIL.
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Posts: 4,298Member
    I agree about the corporate thing.

    As far as MCDST here are my other thoughts:

    If the OP goes for it, he will have to compete with (and have the same knowledge as) people who got their MCDST on the day it was minted. We are talking about some helpdesk techs with 8-9 years of Windows XP experience. Also there are probably way more MCDSTs than MCITP:EST7 (or MCTS 7) simply because of the age of the certs. I think he resume would have more pop if he did the most recent OS certs than older certs, especially since the OP has no experience.

    I agree. I have given my reasons in the MCDST forum:
    You already have an XP based certification. Microsoft has not gone back in time and rewritten the features of Windows 7 so that it is totally different from XP, really they have added features. MCDST + MCSA/MCSE 2003 with Win 7 as the client exam makes sense to me. This shows that you are firmly grounded in the present with technologies in use today (XP and Server 2003) but also that you have an eye on the future and are keeping your skills up-to-date and relevent. If I were starting on my MCSE today having already completed MCDST, I would not consider taking the XP exam unless it was specifically requested by my employer. Most employers do not look at the individual MCP exams you have taken anyway. They look at your cumulitive certs.

    If a person is looking to break into IT at the support level and has a plan of getting certified over the next 6 months I would still say go for the Windows 7 exams. XP will still be hanging around for another few years, but if your taking your exams in mid 2010 Win 7 is going to be important. I am not saying DON'T take any XP exams (maybe you should). But on a tight budget, if you have to go "either or" I think you will get more bang for your buck from starting with Win 7.

    Here is my perspective as a person who has done hiring in IT in the past:

    1. It's 2010 and Windows 7 has been out for almost a year. I am starting to deploy it in my environment. Here comes this newbie with an XP cert and all he knows is RIS. Now I have to train him in Windows 7 deployment and make sure he is familiar with all of the new features of 7. These features are the entire reason we are migrsting any way.

    2. Here is a another entry level newbie with Windows 7 certification who has used XP for the past 7+ years. He knows XP because he's been using it for a long time and because most of the concepts learned from his Win 7 studies will be easily transferable to XP because he has used both. I don't have to teach him as much about deployment and the new group policy features we will be using when we roll out Win 7.

    Who do I choose?
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Posts: 4,212Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    N2IT wrote: »
    Your question is what certifications can get you into help desk? IMO with out a doubt number 1 is A+. It is the most recognized help desk / deskside support cert there is. Every HR department knows of A+, and actually might know what it mainly entails. That would be the best one to get imo. Once you get in helpdesk then things change. You can start to branch out Network + or CCENT or something like that. Also the MS certifications are really nice to have. Windows 7 would be another one to consider.

    +1 When I first got my job, I had A+ Net+ and MOS.

    A+ is heavily focused on the customer service aspect as well as some basic troubleshooting. Next would be an operating system (either windows xp or windows 7, arguments could be made for both). That will solidify the technical skills that the A+ touched on as well as set you up for a promotion into a desktop support role. (Actually depending where you work, that isn't always a promotion).
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • Computer idiotComputer idiot Posts: 46Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    earweed wrote: »
    The A+ is a big help. A lot of people here will tell you to study Windows 7 but XP is still big in the corporate world so you might want to look at the MCDST.
    A+ is like a pre-requisite for entry level it seems and the things you learn from it will help you out. Net+ will also help some.
    I just had an interview today for helpdesk and nailed it . First scenario he gave me was A+ level, second was Net+ level, and the third was a combination of both.

    Do you mind me asking what your helpdesk level position starts at? I'm wanting to move more into the helpdesk/desktop side of things from networking. And what's the natural upward progression from helpdesk? Thanks.
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Posts: 4,212Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Do you mind me asking what your helpdesk level position starts at? I'm wanting to move more into the helpdesk/desktop side of things from networking. And what's the natural upward progression from helpdesk? Thanks.

    Helpdesk can lead wherever you want it to lead. The most popular is probably desktop support, but I'm hoping to move to more of a system administrator role when I make my jump.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Posts: 4,298Member
    Devilsbane wrote: »
    Helpdesk can lead wherever you want it to lead. The most popular is probably desktop support, but I'm hoping to move to more of a system administrator role when I make my jump.


    What's your current path look like Devil?
  • DevilsbaneDevilsbane Posts: 4,212Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    What's your current path look like Devil?

    My current path is that I'm not ready to make a move yet. I've only just finished my first month working as a official employee (after 5 months of contracting). I think it would be quite rude to try and move around now. Maybe when I'm in the 4-6 month range (and after I have finished the MCSE) then I can really start trying to make that leap. As for now, sit back and do the best job that I can where I'm at and try to do some networking with the people that I would like to be my direct co-wokers.
    Decide what to be and go be it.
  • eteneten Posts: 67Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Devilsbane wrote: »
    Helpdesk can lead wherever you want it to lead. The most popular is probably desktop support, but I'm hoping to move to more of a system administrator role when I make my jump.

    Help desk is just a stepping stone. It also depends the size of your team.

    For example, I'm part of 1/80 agents who provide L1 support for the banking industry. I joined this team 3 months ago, and there are many agents who've been working for 3+ years. Heck some been here for 7-8 years. As good as you may be, there is no way in a few months you could get a L2/Team Lead position (if there is an opening) before the seniors. And in this locked down environment where promotions only occur under the recommendation of your manager (ie no job postings), its pretty hard to stand out.

    IMO helpdesk is a dead-end path if you don't continue to educate yourself, it doesn't come magically.
  • puppy001puppy001 Posts: 31Banned ■■□□□□□□□□
    you dont need any quals or experience to start out in helpdesk, most of the ppl in here got a leg in helpdesk witthout any experience or quals, u just need good communication and perssonal skills.
  • Repo ManRepo Man Posts: 300Member
    I think A+ should be all that's needed for an entry level position but it depends on the company as some jobs may be log and routes while others expect you to resolve the majority of the issues.

    In my opinion you will learn the majority of the stuff you need on the job. I'd suggest knowing Microsoft Office apps in depth (Excel, Access) as it's not something your job will train you in but people will expect that you know it.
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Posts: 4,298Member
    Devilsbane wrote: »
    My current path is that I'm not ready to make a move yet. I've only just finished my first month working as a official employee (after 5 months of contracting). I think it would be quite rude to try and move around now. Maybe when I'm in the 4-6 month range (and after I have finished the MCSE) then I can really start trying to make that leap. As for now, sit back and do the best job that I can where I'm at and try to do some networking with the people that I would like to be my direct co-wokers.

    No, I mean your strategic career goal for the next 3 years or so. For example

    1st year: Progress within the helpdesk to become recongnized for skills with network protocols, Windows OS and Active Directory knowledge. COmplete certifications X, Y, and Z. Figure out who is on the sys admin team and who their managers are. (5 months already gone since you have been there a little while).

    2nd year: Begin to eye internal positions for systems administration. Become friendly with current members of the sys admin team. If no chance to progress internally is available begin to look at other firms. Start applying for jr and mid-level admin positions. Begin study for enterprise application certs like SQL Server, SharePoint, Exchange.

    3rd year: Attain jr. level sys admin position. Consider a specialization (Exchange, SQL Server, SharePoint) and attain professional level certification in that specialization.

    From there you would need to reformulate your goals and consider what is next for you. I believe that these types of goals are important to cultivating a real career and not just going with the flow. I try to implement these on a 30, 60, 90 day basis. My 30-60-90 plans tend to be very flexible and tactical in nature. Right now I am being far to lazy about things and need to reformulate my own goals on a more solid basis.
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    Devilsbane wrote: »
    +1 When I first got my job, I had A+ Net+ and MOS.

    A+ is heavily focused on the customer service aspect as well as some basic troubleshooting. Next would be an operating system (either windows xp or windows 7, arguments could be made for both). That will solidify the technical skills that the A+ touched on as well as set you up for a promotion into a desktop support role. (Actually depending where you work, that isn't always a promotion).


    DB funny story here:

    I have friend/colleague who use to work where I currently still work. We make around low to mid 40's depends but you get the point. Well, one day my friend came in with a smile ear to ear and just whispered "I got it". So of course we inquire about what he got. Well, he told us he landed a system adminstrator/network position. Dual hybrid type. Big time job paid closer to 70 than 60. Anyway push comes to shove and he finally breaks down the whole process. Come to find out there was 3 big reasons why he was called in for an interview. First was his experience. Second was the A+, I am not lying! Thats what he told me. He said out of all of his certification which consist of N+, two MS server certifications from 2003 OS, and a bachelors in IS. They liked the A+. I am not saying they didn't like the others, but they didnt mention them. 3rd was his degree and the fact he almost has his masters.

    But think about it. A lot of people skip that certification, personal I think that's a bad move. It is one of the most recoginzed certs in IT.

    I spoke to a good friend of mine who happens to be technical recruiter and he said the two most asked for certifications bar none is A+ and the PMP. He said nothing else was even close. Of course I asked him about ITIL and he said it was making ground in the last 2 years but it's still A+ and PMP.

    (This is in the midwest it might vary in your region it might not)
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    If I was a hiring manager I would look for these skills

    1-2 certfications. Like DB said A+ and either N+ or maybe an OS certification. A perfect canidate would have A+ N+ and XP or Windows 7 cert. Not even the MCDST or MCIPT just an OS certification.

    Of course HDI or ITIL could take the place of A+ if they another technical cert.

    Again this is just from a certification standpoint. Experience and a degree can offset any certification. Especially experience!
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    A+ has been mentioned in every job posting I've seen here lately. Even for System Administrator postings. I have only recently started to see some places start to replace the old MCP designations as a plus with the newer MCTS.
    In a recent interview for helpdesk that I had the NOC manager (who holds MCSE and CCNA) was actually impressed with my Project+ certificate as he wasn't aware CompTIA had that. I have been considerring removing that cert from my IT resume but if it can help me to stand out then it is definitely staying put.
    Weird about how highly that hiring people view the A+. I'm actually considering, as a way to brush up my skills, taking the A+ bridge exam (or at least studying for it) as my A+ is 2 years old. It never hurts to refresh your basic skills.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    earweed wrote: »
    A+ has been mentioned in every job posting I've seen here lately. Even for System Administrator postings. I have only recently started to see some places start to replace the old MCP designations as a plus with the newer MCTS.
    In a recent interview for helpdesk that I had the NOC manager (who holds MCSE and CCNA) was actually impressed with my Project+ certificate as he wasn't aware CompTIA had that. I have been considerring removing that cert from my IT resume but if it can help me to stand out then it is definitely staying put.
    Weird about how highly that hiring people view the A+. I'm actually considering, as a way to brush up my skills, taking the A+ bridge exam (or at least studying for it) as my A+ is 2 years old. It never hurts to refresh your basic skills.


    Earweed I agree

    Obviously ever situation is different, but a lot of hiring stories have the A+ involved some way.

    Not to be story teller, I do that a lot ;), but I know this guy who has your normal CIS degree and 7-8 years of deskside support, remote tech, and system admin. What seperated him apart from the others was his A+ and his communication skills / what was perceived as drive and intiative in the interview.

    That silly little A+ isn't so silly after all. To be honest I really should get it. Security and Network are great, but nothing is queried as hard as A+.
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Posts: 4,298Member
    N2IT wrote: »
    Earweed I agree

    Obviously ever situation is different, but a lot of hiring stories have the A+ involved some way.

    Not to be story teller, I do that a lot ;), but I know this guy who has your normal CIS degree and 7-8 years of deskside support, remote tech, and system admin. What seperated him apart from the others was his A+ and his communication skills / what was perceived as drive and intiative in the interview.

    That silly little A+ isn't so silly after all. To be honest I really should get it. Security and Network are great, but nothing is queried as hard as A+.

    Although I believe it has far less value than it did in the past, I agree. Especially for someone getting started, the A+ is very good and has a ton of recognition.

    Although I have to say I have never felt that any certification by itself ever got me a job. It was most certainly what I knew, what I had done professionally and how I communicate. What I really like about the modern A+ is that is seems to focus on two of those things (knowledge and communication).

    I skipped my A+ because I had several years of experience as a tech at the Geek Squad. I was only ever asked about it by a recruiter. Never by someone interviewing me and I said that I believed my experience at the Geek Squad demonstrated my hardware knowledge and customer service ability.

    I have a budy, though, who did not have any direct hardware tech experience and he complained to me that he got asked so often about that he just went and took the exam. So I think there is a real difference between the usefulness of the A+ for an established IT guy and a person getting started. The guy in you one story being an exception to that.
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    Although I believe it has far less value than it did in the past, I agree. Especially for someone getting started, the A+ is very good and has a ton of recognition.

    Although I have to say I have never felt that any certification by itself ever got me a job. It was most certainly what I knew, what I had done professionally and how I communicate. What I really like about the modern A+ is that is seems to focus on two of those things (knowledge and communication).

    I skipped my A+ because I had several years of experience as a tech at the Geek Squad. I was only ever asked about it by a recruiter. Never by someone interviewing me and I said that I believed my experience at the Geek Squad demonstrated my hardware knowledge and customer service ability.

    I have a budy, though, who did not have any direct hardware tech experience and he complained to me that he got asked so often about that he just went and took the exam. So I think there is a real difference between the usefulness of the A+ for an established IT guy and a person getting started. The guy in you one story being an exception to that.

    I agree when I went for my first IT job I have nothing but a degree, which is something, but not IT related. I was never asked about A+ either, just situational questions. Where is the access point on your home network. How can you tell if the it's the systemboard or the hard drive stuff like that, but nothing to do with certs.
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