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Job Photographs

  • A man, wearing overalls, is sitting at a workbench.  He is repairing a computer, which is on the bench.

    Sometimes, it is possible to carry out repairs on site. But sometimes repairs or upgrades need to be done in the workshop.

  • A man, wearing overalls, is standing at a workbench.  He is reading from a notebook.  There is the inside of a computer on the bench.

    Technical specifications in the computer industry are changing all the time.

  • A man, wearing overalls, is standing at a workbench.  He is removing the cover from a computer.

    A computer support services engineer has to work tidily and methodically.

  • A man, wearing overalls, is standing, talking to a man, who is sitting at a computer.

    Working on site means more contact with customers.

  • Technical Support Engineer

Technical Support Engineer

Introduction

If you work in Computer Support then you will be helping people to use their computers and computer systems effectively. You will be playing a crucial role, keeping your organisations IT systems working effectively.

You could be working anywhere, from a large government organisation, to a small private business.

Also known as

  • Engineer, Computer Support Services
  • IT Support Engineer
  • Application Support Specialist
  • IT Help Desk Operator

Video: - Thomas: IT Support Specialist

Work Activities

If you work in Technical Support then you will be helping people to use their computers and computer systems effectively. You will be playing a crucial role in the maintenance, administration and support of your organisations IT systems. This could include working on:

  • security
  • data back-up systems
  • networking
  • mail and internet access

You could be working anywhere, from a large government organisation, to a small private business.

Your duties could include:

  • installing and updating IT equipment and programs
  • training people in how to use IT equipment and programs
  • giving advice and technical support to employees and customers, via the phone, email or face-to-face
  • finding and fixing hardware and software faults
  • understanding potential security risks to employees and customers
  • researching emerging technologies (new technology)
  • communicating technical issues to non-technical users, both in words and writing

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Technical Support Engineer, you will need:

  • a sound technical IT background
  • to be familiar with the products or services provided to customers/colleagues, as well as keeping up to date with any new developments
  • to understand hardware and software
  • good analytical and problem-solving skills
  • a methodical approach to your work
  • strong communication skills, especially when explaining technical information
  • to be able to remain calm under pressure
  • good time management skills to meet users' needs and problems

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £21,000 - £24,000
  • With experience: £26,500 - £31,000
  • Senior Technical Support Engineers earn £34,000 - £38,000

Hours of work

Technical Support Engineers usually work 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Early starts, late finishes, on-call and weekend work may be required.

Where could I work?

Employers are firms in industry and commerce, from large multinational corporations to small computer-system suppliers. Other employers include banks, building societies, insurance companies, local and central government departments, the NHS and public utilities - any type of organisation where IT systems are used.

This career could include working for an agency.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).

Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.

Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

You can get as a Technical Support Engineer with A levels. Useful subject areas include IT and science.

Or you could choose to go onto university, to study a relevant degree. A degree isn't usually required for this job, but at university you will learn some of the skills, techniques and technologies, that employers need.

Another option is to get onto a Degree Apprenticeship in a relevant area.

You will need to start carefully planning which A levels you are going to study. IT based subjects at GCSE and A level would help you to stand out from the crowd. Then once you are studying for your A levels, you will need to start looking for suitable job vacancies, or applying to universities through UCAS.

So now is a great time to start planning your route through to university. IT based subjects at GCSE and A level would help you to stand out from the crowd.

Training

If you would like some training, then City & Guilds offer a level 2 and level 3 in ICT systems and principles. The units that you could be studying include:

  • customer support provision
  • networking principles
  • creating an event driven computer program using Visual Basic
  • telecommunications principles
  • software testing
  • systems architecture
  • web fundamentals
  • using email
  • using the internet
  • database software

Other courses could be available in your area.

Work Experience

People with relevant skills in electronic or telecommunications engineering at technician level have an advantage.

Experience in customer care is also useful.

Qualifications

Various vocational BTEC and City & Guilds qualifications are available and could help you to get into this career, including:

  • BTEC level 3 - professional competence for IT and telecoms professionals
  • City & Guilds level 1 - IT professional
  • City & Guilds level 2 and level 3 technicals in digital technologies

To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.

To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.

Some have higher qualifications, including A levels, an HND or degree, for example, in electronic engineering, computer science or computer engineering.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

People with relevant skills in electronic or telecommunications engineering at technician level have an advantage.

Experience in customer care is also useful.

Courses

Manufacturers' - eg, Cisco, Novell, Microsoft - accredited short courses are available.

City & Guilds e-Quals in Information Technology are available at certificate, diploma and advanced diploma level, on a flexible or part-time basis.

The University of Central Lancashire offers a degrees in Computer Aided Engineering and Computing, by part-time study.

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Engineering) could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

Distance learning

Distance learning courses in PC repair and upgrading are available from IT training centres, including International Correspondence Schools.

Training

ICT Technicians can achieve registration as an Information and Communications Technology Technician (ICTTech), with the Engineering Council.

All candidates for registration must satisfy the competence standards set by the Engineering Council and be members of an Engineering Council licensed professional body: The Institute of Telecommunications Professionals, Institution of Engineering and Technology or the British Computer Society. Further information is available on the Engineering Council website.

Statistics

  • 7% of people in occupations such in Computer Support work part-time.
  • 18% have flexible hours.
  • 5% of employees work on a temporary basis.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

The Tech Partnership

Skills for business and information technology

Address: 1 Castle Lane, London SW1E 6DR

Tel: 020 7963 8920

Email: info@e-skills.com

Website: www.e-skills.com

Inside Careers

Specialists in graduate careers

Address: Unit 6, The Quad, 49 Atalanta Street, Fulham, London SW6 6TU

Tel: 020 7565 7900

Website: www.insidecareers.co.uk

BCS: The Chartered Institute for IT

Address: First Floor, Block D, North Star House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1FA

Tel: 0845 3004417

Email: custsupport@bcs.uk

Website: www.bcs.org

Capita Learning and Development

Tel: 0800 0223410

Email: hello@capitalearning.co.uk

Website: www.capita-ld.co.uk

Big Ambition

Email: bigambition@e-skills.com

Website: www.bigambition.co.uk

Bring IT On

Irish enquiries

Website: www.bringitonni.info

International Correspondence Schools (ICS Learn)

Distance learning

Tel: 0800 0563983

Email: icscourseadvisors@ics-uk.co.uk

Website: www.icslearn.co.uk

Engineer Jobs

Publisher: Venture Marketing Group

Email: ner@vmgl.com

Website: www.engineerjobs.co.uk

Getting into Engineering Courses

Author: James Burnett Publisher: Trotman

Website: www.mpw.ac.uk/university-guides/getting-into/engineering-courses/

Scottish Engineering

Scottish enquiries

Address: 105 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1QL

Tel: 0141 2213181

Email: consult@scottishengineering.org.uk

Website: www.scottishengineering.org.uk

Engineering Council

Address: 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX

Tel: 020 3206 0500

Website: www.engc.org.uk

Engineering Training Council Northern Ireland (ETC NI)

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Sketrick House, Ards Business Park, Jubilee Road, Newtownards BT23 4YH

Tel: 028 9182 2377

Email: info@etcni.org.uk

Website: www.etcni.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith

Cymraeg

Welcome to Careers Wales

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