Help Desk Analyst: Diploma Summary
Diploma programs for help desk analysts are rare, but many community colleges and technical schools offer certificate programs in this field of study. Get information about courses, requirements, salary and job prospects to make an informed decision about your education.
Help Desk Analyst Certificate
A help desk analyst certificate program, sometimes called a help desk support certificate program, trains students to provide entry-level troubleshooting, repair and maintenance services for computer users. Students learn about operating systems, networks, hardware and software, as well as various problem-solving techniques. Many large companies have help desks composed of technicians who step in to fix technology problems in the workplace. Other help desk analysts work for computer hardware and software firms or Internet service providers where they respond to email and telephone requests for assistance from the public. Most certificate programs are offered through technical schools and community colleges, taking a year to complete.
Students need a high school diploma or GED certificate to enroll in a help desk analyst certificate program. Knowledge of the Internet, as well as of computer software and hardware, is helpful, but not mandatory.
Instruction in various types of operating systems, mechanical problems and the use of many types of software are all part of this program's curriculum. In addition to technical courses, students in a help desk analyst certificate program may take classes in customer service skills, communication and problem solving. Possible course topics include:
- Networking principles
- Database fundamentals
- Customer service
- Computer systems troubleshooting
- Information security
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
A graduate of help desk analyst certificate program can work in many positions, such as customer service representative or software trainer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted employment growth of 18% from 2010-2020 for computer support specialists, including help desk analysts. This was about as fast as for all occupations, the BLS noted.
The BLS also pointed out that many lower level jobs, such as in call centers, have been moved overseas to reduce costs; however, some companies have recently been relocating jobs to lower cost areas of the U.S. The BLS reported the median annual salary for computer support specialists was $47,660 as of May 2011.
Continuing Education and Certification
A certificate or associate's degree may be enough to get an entry-level job in computer support, but the BLS says many employers prefer someone with a bachelor's degree in areas such as computer or information science. Help desk analysts may also choose to demonstrate their knowledge by becoming certified through a professional association, such as the Help Desk Institute (HDI). The HDI offers certification examinations for various occupations in the help desk field.
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