I have worked in IT (Information Technology) for more than 15 years now. I started out a low level help desk person who basically just logged calls for the real techs, and then I worked my way up to desktop support and eventually earned my place as a systems analyst where I now manage a help desk. As someone who started at the bottom and worked his way up, I can give you a few pointers on how to get ahead in this industry.
The number one thing to remember about IT is that if you want to get ahead, you need to be as good with people as you are with computers. Having the right balance of people skills and technical know-how will do wonders for your career.
Communicate. This ought to be an obvious one, but it’s also the most difficult. Learn how to talk to people. Write emails with proper spelling and punctuation. When someone asks you a question, give them a proper answer. Never blow off your customers because you think they are technically inept.
Get certified. Having a college degree that has anything to do with computers will probably help get your foot in the door, but it doesn’t really demonstrate your ability to do the job. If you really want to show prospective employers what you know, make an effort to get some CompTIA or Microsoft certifications.
Never stop learning. Go after any training opportunity you can because you never know when it will pay off. Many employers use specialized software that you won’t find anywhere else and you need to show a propensity for learning new things.
Master search engines. A large part of being a good computer support technician is knowing where to find help online. You will quickly learn that most online resources for technical help are downright useless. Being able to sort the good advice from the bad will save you a lot of time and trouble.
Know the person behind the PC. If you really want to be more than someone who fixes printers and finds lost documents, you need to learn how to see your co-workers beyond their job function. Get to know the real person and put yourself out there. Develop a solid “desk-side manner” and it’ll go a long way with your peers.