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What Is a Desktop Support Specialist? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.

Desktop support specialists are in charge of maintaining and improving a company’s software and hardware. Here’s what to know about a desktop support specialist’s salary, needed skills and how to become one.


What Is a Desktop Support Specialist?

Desktop support specialists make sure all company software and hardware, such as computer monitors and printers, perform at a high level, implementing fixes and upgrades when needed.


What Do Desktop Support Specialists Do?

Desktop support specialists ensure the smooth operation of software and hardware products for both company personnel and customers.

Desktop Support Specialist Responsibilities

  • Monitor the health of all company hardware and software products, such as computers, CPUs and desktop applications. 
  • Install upgrades and new equipment when needed. 
  • Address any technical issues with the appropriate fixes. 
  • Resolve customer complaints and understand pain points.   
  • Develop documents for technical products and procedures.

Day-to-Day Responsibilities of a Desktop Support Specialist

  • Complete upgrades and data backups to maintain hardware and software. 
  • Pinpoint issues and troubleshoot with software patches and other fixes.
  • Write training manuals for technical products and processes.
  • Meet with customers to discuss technical problems and propose solutions. 
  • Add entries to a log detailing customer complaints and solutions.

Desktop Support Specialists Within a Company

Desktop support specialists are closer to entry-level positions within an IT department. Depending on the company, they may take over customer complaints that require technical expertise from customer support reps. They also collaborate with engineers, developers and other technical positions when making fixes or writing how-to materials. Desktop support specialists report to senior IT workers like a systems administrator or IT manager.

Importance of Desktop Support Specialists

Desktop support specialists take actions to keep software and hardware in peak shape while offering their technical knowledge to address more advanced customer queries. Without them, companies would fail to maintain their entire technology ecosystem and deliver high-quality products and services to customers.

A day in the life of an IT support specialist. | Video: East Charmer


What Skills Are Needed to Be a Desktop Support Specialist?

Qualifications to Be a Desktop Support Specialist

  • Background in computer science, information technology or a similar discipline.
  • Experience working with customers, ideally online and in person. 
  • Previous success in a technical support position. 
  • Understanding of software maintenance and best practices.
  • Ability to break down complex topics for different audiences.

Desktop Support Specialist Prerequisites

Desktop Support Specialist Hard Skills

  • In-depth knowledge of company’s software and hardware products.
  • Skilled in executing software patches and other fixes. 
  • Experienced in testing and installing new software and hardware. 
  • Familiar with online video platforms for meeting with customers.
  • Writing skills for explaining technical maintenance, processes and solutions.

Desktop Support Specialist Soft Skills

  • Excellent communication skills for interacting with customers and employees. 
  • Active listening skills for understanding customer needs and queries. 
  • Strong organizational skills for tracking customer complaints and technical issues. 
  • Analytical mindset for diagnosing product flaws and determining appropriate fixes. 
  • Multitasking abilities for handling various technical and customer responsibilities.

Tools and Programs Desktop Support Specialists Use

  • Remote software support applications like Zendesk, Zoho and Freshdesk.
  • Word document tools like Microsoft Word, Google Docs and Dropbox Paper.
  • Online video platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. 
  • Software maintenance tools like Bugzilla, HP Quality Center and the IBM Rational Quality Manager.
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How to Become a Desktop Support Specialist

Desktop Support Specialist Education and Experience

Desktop support specialists often jumpstart their careers by earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering or a related field. While some desktop support positions are entry-level, many desktop support specialists must first attain one to two years of experience in an entry-level IT role like IT assistant or technical support specialist.

Desktop Support Specialist Certificates and Courses

Desktop Support Specialist Career Path

Many desktop support specialists go on to pursue a career in IT. After working three to five years in their role, successful desktop support specialists can transition into a network administrator or systems administrator position.


Desktop Support Specialist Salary and Job Outlook

Desktop support specialists can expect more career growth opportunities since the number of computer support specialists is set to rise by 6 percent between 2021 and 2031. 

The full compensation package for a desktop support specialist depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average desktop support specialist salary.


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