Does Help Desk Hurt You?

garv221garv221 Member Posts: 1,914
I'm just throwing neutral thoughts around about the position possibly crutching you from a better position.

This would mainly pertain to resumes.
On a resume "Help Desk" may not really do anything for you. Everyone at any job knows help desk is a straight forward, sometimes simple position. Instead of relying on a Help Desk position to get you a better job...Wouldn't you be better at a small office (15 people) doing system work for the same hourly wage. Or Best Buy bench tech? College Help? These positions pay roughly the same -ie $12.00...With a position other than the infamous "entry level, stepping stone" Help Desk job, you can gather experience & alter your resume accordingly to look superior. Help Desk is basically a laid out template of hands off experience. I never had a help desk job, I skipped right over that phase. I however head A LOT of people complaining or using it as a bridge for greener grass. Thoughts?

Comments

  • NPA24NPA24 Member Posts: 588 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Help Desk was a stepping stone for me. I worked as a help desk tech for about three years. Those 3 years were the my last 3 years of college as well. It helped alot because I was able to put those experience in my resume. Now I am in an IT job and I still use those skills I learned to this day and probably forever. It also helped me prepare for certifications which was beneficial for prospected companies that I wanted to work for. That's my 2 cents...
  • Ricka182Ricka182 Member Posts: 3,359
    I would list Help Desk as Systems Support. Sounds more professional. Although, I've never worked HD, but I'm thinking I may have to get in somewhere, seeing my IT job is more like 5%IT, and 95% known troubleshooting......
    i remain, he who remains to be....
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    I think the word Help Desk hurts you. Help Desk is generally considered as someone who tells people to reboot their PC or rest password and if that doesn't do anything forward to the technical people. Now a lot of Help Desks do not run like but alot of Help Desks do to so most people tend to take the worst opinion first.

    The only Help Desk job I had I called IT Support officer because we did all desktop support (other than hardware) remotely and also did Systems Admin stuff as well. So make sure you list your best experience at the top of the list under your "Help Desk" job. For example I list Novell Netware administration because its the most technical and I did a lot of it.
  • qsubqsub Member Posts: 303
    I just started my help desk job at DLink recently. I believe it helps me. Jobs out there exists, I think it's not the fact that you're talking on the phone. It's the troubleshooting experieince. I'm also in school. I have two years to go. The last year I get a co op semester, I believe the fact I have experience as tech support at DLink will help me get a non-tech support job. Hopefully I can shadow a administrator.

    Anyways, right now. There's people in my training who got hired through co op through there college/university, and there's also people who got hired AFTER finishing the same program I'm doing right now.

    I did some phone choaching yesterday for like three hours, where I just sit in and listen to the call. I seem a bit more confident in taking calls now. I still have 7 days of training left though :)

    I think as long as you remember it's just a "stepping stone" and you don't get adjusted to it and start to hate it, think you're going no where. It will be a stepping stone. Also, it seems like lots of people get promotions at DLink within a year or two so that's a bonus.
    World Cup 2006 - Zidane - Never Forget.
  • bighuskerbighusker Member Posts: 147
    I worked as a bench technician last summer at a small PC store. This summer I'm working as a "desktop technician" with a medium-size insurance consulting firm. I don't know whether that qualifies as "help desk" or not, but it's definitely a step up from being a bench technician and pays better ($12/hr compared to $8/hr last year, and yes I was ridiculously underpaid at that last job).

    At this position, I've gotten all kinds of experiences that I *never* encountered as a simple "bench technician." I've learned a lot about enterprise-level networks, file/print servers and domain controllers. I wouldn't classify all of my work as "straightforward" either. There's a lot of very strange problems that creep up that inexperienced people would have problems solving. Not to mention we have a lot of specialized financial programs that require you to think logically and have good problem solving skills so you can fix things on the fly rather than learning about 8,000 different programs.

    Any experience with a company's IT department is great experience. It's not as simple as "skipping right over that phase" for most people. If they go right for a network admin job, they're going to have a hard time competing with other candidates with more experience. Even if they get the job, they might be completely over their heads depending on how complex their setup is.

    As for working at Best Buy/Geek Squad as a technician, I don't see how that's any better than help desk. I'm sure it's similar to what I did last summer at a small computer store, and as a person who's done both, I think my current position is much more valuable experience.
  • ryan5081ryan5081 Member Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    i am currently working help desk position for the navy, most of the calls i recieve can be fixed by remoting into the computer and troubleshooting the problem that way. if the problem cannot be fixed remotely i send an agent out to physically work on the computer. I think the experience that i will gain here will definitely get me a better position somewhere else. especially since i will obtain a top secret clearence here.
  • SieSie Member Posts: 1,195
    I guess it really depends what you do on the helpdesk.

    You can list the time as experience but if you list the actual duties and tasks you did in your daily job i believe this would help.

    Depends how you sell yourself at the end of the day and what you can prove you can do, Through certs etc.
    Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools
  • jim_staszjim_stasz Member Posts: 123
    I would look at Help Desk experience for all the non-technical experiences. I think Customer Service skills are huge no matter what the position and a Help Desk will diffidently help you tweak those skills. I’ve had people scream, I’ve had people cry, I’ve had people who you wonder how they make it through a day without causing themselves great, bodily harm. You learn how to deal with all of them and those skills are invaluable no matter what your position. It’s not just telling someone to reboot their machine; it’s being able to tell a VP to reboot his machine without making him feel like an idiot.
  • dgtalhvkdgtalhvk Member Posts: 13 ■□□□□□□□□□
    jim_stasz wrote:
    I would look at Help Desk experience for all the non-technical experiences. I think Customer Service skills are huge no matter what the position and a Help Desk will diffidently help you tweak those skills. I’ve had people scream, I’ve had people cry, I’ve had people who you wonder how they make it through a day without causing themselves great, bodily harm. You learn how to deal with all of them and those skills are invaluable no matter what your position. It’s not just telling someone to reboot their machine; it’s being able to tell a VP to reboot his machine without making him feel like an idiot.

    Good point. The interpersonal skills you gain from working in Helldesk will assist you throughout your career.

    Name me a job that does not involve communicating with other people. ;)
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
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  • jim_staszjim_stasz Member Posts: 123
    strauchr wrote:
    A grave digger icon_lol.gif

    OMG LMAO!
  • vexvex Member Posts: 113
    jim_stasz wrote:
    strauchr wrote:
    A grave digger icon_lol.gif

    OMG LMAO!

    Too Funny!!!!!
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  • shadown7shadown7 Member Posts: 529
    I'm working a help desk job but I'm planing on staying here until retirement ( I'm 27). I'm at 21.50 an hour with that only being starting pay. I got this job straight out on college with an A.A.S in Networking. I guess it all depends on what company you work for and what your job duties in tale.
  • strauchrstrauchr Member Posts: 528
    Sorry, just couldn't resist :)
  • oldbarneyoldbarney Member Posts: 89 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I was recently offered a contract level II help desk position at a regional ISP paying $17.50/hr + 10 hr/wk mandatory overtime. Although I've worked and even set up a help desk - including developing a tracking/escalation system on an extremely limited budget - while with one employer, none of my experiences involved any real high call volume. By the way, I declined the position only because of recently receiving a more lucrative offer.

    In my opinion, working for 1-2 years at a dedicated, structured help desk definitely represents a career-enhancing move for numerous reasons.

    First, because most customers - internal and external - are typically remote, the experience serves to develop problem solving skills. On a couple of calls, I've really wanted to reach through the phone to resolve the issue, but could not. I was therefore constrained to work with the client and/or incident in order to achieve resolution, which consequently taught me to use my available resources more efficiently.

    Second, as others here allude, a stint at the help desk can develop important people skills. Having the ability to tactfully handle various types of users with moods ranging from depressed to furious to elated is quite valuable.

    Third and last, a structured help desk instills discipline. The structure - as in scripts, logging, tracking, escalation, metrics, etc. - literally forces one to adhere to defined processes.

    On the other hand, help desk is not for everyone. Sitting for long periods of time taking call after call in a monitored environment can become rather tedious after a while. Depending on the organization, you begin to think your life is driven by the position. Sometimes, a few precious moments of autonomy appears a distant fantasy.
  • petedudepetedude Member Posts: 1,510
    I think it depends on how you pitch the help desk experience. That is, in your resume, you explain specifically what you did over and above "reboot your PC" as well as what skillsets/knowledge you relied upon.

    As soft skills are becoming increasingly important, you'll want to emphasize what that experience did for you as a communicator (i.e. "provided support to all levels of company staff via support desk"). You can also tweak to demonstrate business value ("helped reduce downtime for users/departments, thus maintaining productivity" or some such).

    To launch a separate soapbox: These two areas are going to become an even more huge issue for support specialists seeking career advancement in coming years: demonstrating added value (or lowered costs) to business, and interaction skills. These are becoming more significant given the glut of support people available from tech schools, and the increased penny-pinching in many businesses (thus fewer open positions).
    Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
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