What’s Involved With Desktop Support?

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Desktop support engineers are employed by companies to provide expert troubleshooting for end-users. Whenever a problem arises that a user needs help with, desktop support should be on hand to help.

The salary for desktop support in the UK ranges from £15,000 to £30,000, with a £21,000 medium. The entry requirements are quite flexible, though previous experience in an IT technical support role is highly desirable. Those with over 10 years experience often move on to other positions within IT departments.

What Is A Desktop Support Engineer?

Not all employees in a company are tech savvy, and even those with a basic IT literacy can still encounter issues on a daily basis. The desktop support engineer is a trained expert who provides technical support to end-users of computers. They are usually the first person who is called when a problem arises with a computer or network.

Desktop support typically involves dealing with tickets and requests concerning hardware, software, operating systems and networks. From internet connectivity issues to serious computer crashes, the desktop support assistant acts as a kind of IT guru, prioritising and dealing with problems as they happen to improve and support the end-users.

Desktop support engineers are often employed directly by companies (though they can also work as independent contractors). They often play a physical role by helping computer users in person, but also offer support by email, phone or live chat.

Desktop Support Job Roles and Responsibilities

The specific roles and responsibilities of desktop support vary across companies and industries, depending on the technology used and the technical support needed. Generally speaking, the responsibilities are likely to include:

Addressing End User Issues

Computer end users within the company will often encounter problems concerning hardware, software, product and software updates, and networking. They may struggle with basic tasks, crumble when they lose a file, or grind to a halt when the network crashes. The desktop support engineer deals with tickets and requests, prioritising issues and aiming to find solutions.

This usually involves asking the right questions in order to understand the problem. The end user may know very little about the problem, so the desktop support assistant will have to try to find out more. Once diagnosed, the user can be given simple step-by-step instructions to lead them to the solution.

Installing and Maintaining Equipment and Software

In some jobs the desktop support engineer will be given the responsibility of physically installing the PCs, as well as other devices like printers and scanners. They will help to develop the companies IT infrastructure, and build individual workstations for new employees. PCs and equipment may need upgrading from time to time, and will almost certainly require maintenance.

However high the level of responsibility, desktop support engineers will often deal with issues which involve hardware, and may be required to respond with repairs or the replacement of components such as memory and motherboards.

Client IT Services

Again, depending on the company and the expectations of the employer, desktop support engineers may be required to play a larger role outside of troubleshooting It problems. As well as responding to urgent and non-urgent requests, they may be responsible for implementing new software and subsequent training sessions. They may even train new employees in the use of company software and existing employees in the use of new apps. A well-trusted desktop support engineer may also advise the executives on cost-effective technology solutions for the company. 

What Skills and Qualifications Are Required For Desktop Support?

Entry requirements for desktop support roles always include provable knowledge and hands-on experience of hardware, equipment and operating systems. You may also be required to understand networking, and at higher levels programming and IT training. Previous work experience in desktop or technical IT support may be required, and a BSc in Computer Science or other relevant field is desirable.

Whatever the requirements for a specific job role, there are certain skills that are always valuable for a desktop support engineer:

Hard Skills

  • Extensive IT knowledge and experience – A desktop support engineer spends most of their day responding to issues around hardware, software, operating systems and network connectivity. As such, you will require thorough knowledge of these areas of IT, and the ability to prove that you can work with the company’s technology and OS. Knowledge of IT is the main skill required to work in desktop support.


  • Technological problem solver – Identifying and solving problems should be your forte if you are planning a career in desktop support. You will need to regularly update and install software and systems, and put your logical mind to the test on a daily basis to solve all manner of problem. Outside of the box thinking will also go a long way.


Soft Skills

  • Solid communication – Many people think of IT technicians as being highly introverted and introspective, but this is not the case for desktop support. You will be interacting with people constantly, both via internet and phone, and in person. As well as being a good listener, you must also be able to give clear instructions to help the end-user to arrive at a solution. Desktop support engineers must be friendly, respectful and very patient.


  • Dependable and reliable – As with most jobs that require a degree of responsibility, a desktop support assistant must be dependable. You will be the one who is there to sort all of the IT problems, the first call when something goes wrong. The smooth running of a company’s operations depend on you, and the employer needs to know that you can handle that!

inkscroll have a number of IT courses available which can boost your knowledge and experience of hardware and software. Relevant training can seriously enhance your chances of securing a job in desktop support.

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