How to Become a Desktop Support Engineer
What is Desktop Support Engineer?
A Desktop Support Engineer is a person who is responsible for solving the technical problems faced by a computer user. This could involve installing operating system, to making a computer run faster, to even assembling or disassembling the computer. In addition, they are also expected to keep the systems updated with software updates and patches.
A desktop support engineer may also be called as a Desktop Support Technician, Technical Support Specialist or a Desktop Engineer.
Many companies usually outsource this to independent contractors to support its computer network infrastructure. A desktop support engineer usually works in a group. This group of engineers will have to help the user in tackling their day-to-day computer problems. With technical expertise they are also required to have good listening and communication skills.
An ideal candidate will have a degree in Computer Science or Information Technology. These days it is not compulsory, but a graduation in any stream is necessary to join and prosper in the industry.
The stream of your graduation will have minimum effect on your job. Students from different streams other than computers have performed equally well on par with students which have science background. The only thing that will land you in better job is the kind of training you get and the knowledge acquired.
With the right technical certification and most crucially, sound know-how of the job will serve you better in the long run.
Before giving further thought to certifications the first step for you would be to join a good institute. Frankly they are only few institutes that come in the category of good. Many students fall in the trap of marketing by the institutes. Your job is to carefully carry a thorough research before enrolling in an institute.
The steps below will help you in zeroing on a good institute provided you follow the steps.
Step 1) Look for training centers in and around your area. The closer the better if you already travel for your college. Pragmatic step would be to find an institute in your way of to college, of course if you are a collegiate.
Step 2) Visit many centers and ask students about their experience. Inquire about the details such as the speed at which the portion is completed, faculty details and his/her way of teaching.
Step 3) Also inquire that, if they will give any discount coupons for appearing in certification exams. Ask the counselor if they can provide a demo lecture, you will be amazed how eager the management will be in order to get a new student. But only making your decision on the demo lecture will be disastrous.
Step 4) Select a center by measuring the pros and cons of the it.
Step 5) Take the necessary classes.
Step 6) Appear for any international certification exams.
Step 7) Look for jobs in newspaper and on the Internet.
Step 8) Ask friends and relatives for references.
After getting enough experience you can advance in other managerial positions or can also go for other technical positions involving Cisco, Juniper and IBM to name a few.
Technical certifications can make you stand out of the crowd and will also have a positive effect on the employer.
Certifications are very important nowadays as the job market is getting competitive by the day. Many successful engineers have certifications as well as years of experience.
For Desktop Support Engineer
Microsoft Certifications: Microsoft has many certifications available that will help you in your quest to become a good engineer. Microsoft certifications are easier and most candidates appearing for the first time clear it with good score. But still a good amount of preparation should be given. These certifications do come at a cost that is the examination fees and the guide books that one needs. The cost of the examination fee depends upon the country of your residence.
Certifications that will help in you becoming a desktop support engineer are:
MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist)
This may be your first step in order to gain international level certifications. There are all together three papers required to pass to get MCTS. Clearing all three papers will make you MCTS and Microsoft also provides you with a login id and other things such as a certification card to confirm your credentials.
MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional)
When you complete your MCTS you can opt for MCITP by giving only two more papers. Both MCTS and MCITP require you to have a deep knowledge and understanding of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista/Window7.
MCITP has many different versions of specialisation. A look at the official website gives as much as 18 different specialisation (when this page was written). Specialisation are in for Windows client (Vista or Windows 7), Window Server, Database Server etc.
At this point of time consider only client version. Its easier and getting a job is also easier. Doing Server specialisation or for that matter any other version would do only bad because having high level certifications without any job experience does not go well with the interviewer.
MCSA (Microsoft Certified System Administrator)
This is a little older version which is based on Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. It requires you to clear four separate exams.
Most of the technical certifications are vendor specific. Meaning they are carried out by an established company, for instance Microsoft, Cisco, however CompTIA certifications are a result of many companies coming together and forming an organisation which does not depends on individual vendors and the exams are more of a neutral point of view.
CompTIA certications are equally respected on par with other certifications. One major difference is that they don't expire. Most certifications come with a date of expiry (no pun intended). Like Microsoft certifications will become obsolete when they introduce new operating systems and exams related to it.
In order to gain in-depth understanding of computer hardware and peripherals you can consider getting a A+ Certification. This is also an industry recognized certification which many employers love to see in your résumé.
Network + Certification
Gaining Network+ certification demonstrates your ability to handle semi-complex networks and also increases your understanding in networking concepts.
To just start with you can go for one or two papers of MCTS with A+.