Technical support is an entry-level (Level 1) position that involves offering technical assistance to customers or internal end-users, often via phone, email, or chat.
The tech support gig is a way into a company you’d like to work for and a way up to a position you want.
Hiring managers may find that they can find eager, knowledgeable technical candidates by testing them out in tech support and assessing their viability for other jobs.
“I often see people who are overqualified take a Level 1 support job thinking it will be a stepping stone. They quickly grow bored and distracted, and wind up not performing as well as their peers in jobs they should have nailed. No manager will care about your potential to be more if you don’t demonstrate complete mastery of the current role,” says Jennifer Selby Long, Selby Group, LLC, an executive leadership development firm.
Managers will ask other managers for their input, along with the input of several of your peers before promoting you.
“If you’ve been there for them, always remained respectful and professional, and gone out of your way to help them achieve their goals, you will stand out from the many other qualified people who want the job,” says Long, whose firm serves Airbnb and Cisco.
Many tech support people enjoy their work so your manager may assume you want to stay there if you don’t clearly express your intent.
These skills transfer to the Level 2 and Level 3 positions that you may acquire after a job in Level 1 support. “At these higher levels, the problems are more complex, so the listening, problem-solving, and communication skills you developed at Level 1 become an important foundation,” Long says.
“If you want to become a network engineer, begin with Network + and CCNA training and certifications. If you want to be a security engineer, Security + is a common certification requirement,” says Long.
This article was written by David Geer, technology writer and journalist.