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Is working the "Call Center/Help Desk" that bad?

By Kratos7 ·
I recently graduated with my Master's in CIS six months ago, and I want to start in IT. This will be a career change for me, so I dont have any IT work experience. I originally started my education years ago in programming, so going into IT is not some new revelation. I've spoken to a person I know in IT, and he seems to think that taking a position at the "help desk" is not going to lead to much since you arent really gaining any experience in any of the life cycle areas. My question is should I be looking for something that is more career directed, or is this about the best I can expect starting off with having the education, but no tangible IT work experience.

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Depends where you want to go.

by JamesRL In reply to Is working the "Call Cent ...

Working at the help desk is a good entry level position if you want to get into the support/data center or other "production" sides of IT.

If you want to do software development, you won't get much exposure to project management or other software lifecycle activities.

I have worked on help desks, have been a project manager and am now a department manager. I would say that you will learn things from help desk work, and its certainly better to do help desk than non-IT work. Consider it a stepping stone. Its a good place to learn about an organization. And it may give you contacts for that ideal job down the road.


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Help Desk

by BFilmFan In reply to Is working the "Call Cent ...

Other than developing basic computer troubleshooting experience and client management skills, I can't advise you to take a help desk job for longer than 6 months.

Frankly, I'd advise you to volunteer your time to some non-profit organization and develop your IT skills. Honestly, it would look better on the resume too.

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its a good start

by catfish182 In reply to Is working the "Call Cent ...

to me its the best way to go. you can work on troubleshooting techniques and get a feel for the user interview. the best part is if your ideas dont work or they get angry you can transfer them to level 2 or 3. unless your that tech. then you could get feedback from the other techs as to how you did. to me feedback is the most important tool in becoming a better tech. also you should be allways looking for something better while doing this. but if you are not wanting to go to a support or help postion then dont even bother.

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Probably won't be able to get Help Desk

by gralfus In reply to Is working the "Call Cent ...

With a master's degree, it will probably put you in the "over qualified" zone and most help desk managers wouldn't allow you in, assuming that you will be moving on quickly and their expense in training you will be lost.

If you don't have real-world IT experience, volunteer somewhere just to get experience until you can land a paying job.

I'm overqualified for my current help desk position, but they liked my phone voice, attitude, confidence, and prior help desk experience. Since the benefits and pay are better than what I could get from the private sector, I may not move on for some time. That could be a problem career-wise, but even the network admins here don't make that much more than me. The downside is the incredible boredom that is setting in with the same stupid questions day after day. Honestly, some people shouldn't be allowed to use computers. But I digress...

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It all depends on

by Packet Spoofer In reply to Is working the "Call Cent ...

whether or not you like explaining to people that the broken cupholder is actually the cdrom tray,
or that they were supposed to right click on the icon not write "click" on the icon.

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*lol* Too funny..

by RayJeff In reply to It all depends on

I'm sorry...had to take time out to laugh at that.

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I feel your pain.

by jkaras In reply to Is working the "Call Cent ...

I too get what you are saying in regards to career watching. Currently I am working as a help desk tech(2yrs) after a year and a half of call center experience. My education is an A.S. in Microsoft Computer Networking and am in my last semester for an A.A. in the same field from a Community College. The work sucks being bottom barrel as gralfus pointed out.

The key to an IT job is all about the experience over the education. Since the IT bubble grew exponentially, the employers found that everyone was book smart, not competant. All must earn their bones in some way before landing a great paying career satisfying job. One other poster said no longer than 6 months. No manager in their right mind would hire you by jumping ship after a measly six months. The truth is, have you ever seen a job posting listing experience of qualifications as only six months or from 1-3 years? The only mistake you made while achieving your degrees is that you didnt get your experience during your education. Having a masters, like someone else pointed out makes you a short term candidate which employers shouldnt concern themselves with, but it does, and willingness to stick it out gives you the credibility to get the job. There is no perfect answer to your dilemma, other than your competant abilty to do the work. My advice is to swallow your pride take a low position to build the resume or do charity work to put on the resume and soon enough your experience will land you what you are looking for.

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It's a GREAT way to get into IT

by wordworker In reply to Is working the "Call Cent ...

While I agree you might be deemed overqualified by some employers, your friend in IT is wrong about not help desk not being in a "life cycle" area. I contract for a Fortune 500 company (top 50 I/S shops in the country) and they require newbies to IT to start in help desk positions.

Each development group has its own help desk, and these analysts go through rigorous training and must be proficient in use and troubleshooting of multiple applications. They also are involved in alpha and beta testing of new apps, quality assurance testing of app changes, and, of course, documenting trouble tickets and requests for enhancements from customers.

All help desk operations are not the same, but if you can get in on the ground floor and give the employer six good months or - as most managers expect - one solid year of good performance, you'll be on your way.

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but ONLY IF.....

by olprof67 In reply to It's a GREAT way to get i ...

your employer has an interest in your advancement along technical lines.

Four years ago, starting out with only a layman's exposure to p/c's, I began working in the call center of a major ISP.

Training, completed in ten days, consisted of little more than hardware basics and a little "filling in of the gaps". When we hit the call floor, it was up to each of us to develop our own procedures to get customers back on line.

But what some of us found harder still to take was the lack of a path that would take us off the front line and away from the public. The real object of the exercise is either to quickly find and solve the problem, or to identify it as lying outside your scope of support and send the customer elsewhere.

Guided by this standard, the promotions went not to the technically-skilled, but to those who could quickly adapt to the current mode of thinking and pass it on to subrordinates.

And those of us who preferred to solve problems in a deliberate, calculating, 1-on-1 atmosphere were cross-trained into fields which brought more exposure to less-sophisticated callers, which hurt our perfomance measures.

So if you're thinking of moving to a Help Desk to broaden your skills, well and good, but be sure that the path upward won't require you to become a salesman or a bureaucrat, unless you're really inclined toward that sort of thing; otherwise, you're likely to remain a simple hand-holder.

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Full of it

by LeoBloom In reply to Is working the "Call Cent ...

People who are advising you not to take an entry level position when you do not have experience are absolutely full of it. In todays job market you probably dont have a choice. The key though is to work for a place that will promote from the entry position. Without that it is likely that you will simply bounce from help desk to help desk.

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