General discussion


New to the support field, looking for some advice

By cj_thomas ·
Hi there, im CJ, and i just got my first real job in the IT field.

It is a technical support position at one of my college's campuses.

I was just wondering if anyone with some experience in the field would have any advice for someone like me, who is about to start their first support job.

I would really appreciate info on good troubleshooting techniques and stuff like that

Thanks alot


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TR Articles and Forums

by TheChas In reply to New to the support field, ...

My best advice, is to collect all the junk hardware you can, and assemble running PCs from it.

This will give you a lot of valuable hands-on experience.

Otherwise, I suggest that you:

Subscribe to the appropriate Tech-Mails here at Tech Republic.

Search through the article archives here.
(Check the downloads for some good compilations.)

Spend a few hours going through the questions posted in the Technical Q&A section.

Remember, if all else fails, step back to the basics.


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my 2 cents worth

by Zulj In reply to New to the support field, ...

Well, the Technical Q&A here is really good. But probably the best advice I can give is when you're trying to solve a problem, try the simplest solution first. You'll be amazed at how often it works.

What theChas said is also very good. Build up pc's from junk. Its excellent experience.

Oh almost forgot. I think this helped me the most when I started out. After you've fixed something, write down what the problem was and how you went about fixing it. It doesn't have to be long or overly detailed, just enough so that if you saw the same problem later you could refer to the note and fix it easily. This has saved me and my terrible memory so many times.

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by Oldefar In reply to New to the support field, ...

Technical support is 80 percent about the person being supported, only 20 percent about the technology.

People deal in 5 currencies - time, money, security, knowledge, and prestige. You can't do anything about the time and money spent calling for support, but you can give them back some security, knowledge, and prestige with how you deal with them.

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by Jennifer.Gardner In reply to New to the support field, ...

Congratulations on your new job! I work at a University also.

I've found that people skills are nearly as important as your actual technical skills. Let your users know that you're on their side. Use phrases like, "I understand how frustrating this is for you...". Also, university faculty can carry some pretty big egos. Do your best to always treat them intelligently.

As far as the actual tech stuff: stick to differential diagnoses, and the "known-working" concept. Some techs, especially when they're fresh out of the gate tend to over-complicate things.

Hope this helps!

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Gettings things started on the right foot

by CallCtrMgr In reply to Congrats!

I would also say that people skills are very important.

My thoughts:
1. Always keep a note book and pen with you. It is important to write down what people's issues are or what they have asked you to do. If you don't write it down you will probably forget it, especially if it is an error message.

2. Ask the "right" questions first:
a. what exactly where you trying to do?
b. is this the first time that you are trying this particular thing
c. If this is not the first time, when was the last time it worked
d. do you know if anyone else is having the same problem
e. are you getting any other errors or problems with your computer
f. how important is getting this done, when is the deliverable due
g. is there another way we can do this in the meanwhile until we can get things fixed
h. did this problem ever happen before, if so when and how many times, if someone fixed it before did they tell you what they did
i. did you recently add anything to the machine
j. has anyone done anything to the machine recently

3. Break your troubleshooting into pieces, e.g. hardware; software; configuration; connections

4. Learn the best steps to resolve a particular problem. Do those things that have the highest probability of fixing a problem first; then the next thing. Once you learn the best way to fix things, use the same order. It keeps you from forgetting to do something simple that may help.

5. Minimize risk. Do not do anything (unless in an extreme emergency) that could really mess up someone machine, like editing the registry.

6. Identify how much time you can have on a person's machine before you take over. They may need to do other things.

Good Luck

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More info

by CallCtrMgr In reply to Gettings things started o ...

Ask questions, know when to ask for help.

Do not act like you know everything.

Do not "tech speak" to someone unless you know them well and know they understand what you are talking about.

Keep a note book or way of documenting problems and their solutions.

Ask for feedback on how you are doing every few months.

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First of all

by voldar In reply to New to the support field, ...

I have to say all posts above are great, and if you do at least 30% of what they said, all is gonna be okay.
Here are some more advices (sorry if I am repeating some given above my post):
- Before doing anything ? ask for what is your real job ? what is your "job description".
- Learn what is the network configuration and which are the print server, DNS, AD, backup and so on. You may be forced to install a network printer ? but if you don?t know what printer you are looking for it?s kind of strange, don?t you think?
- Write down every "complaint" you receive ? name, hour, problem, solution ? so that you?ll remember the name of the user that asked a for help, you'll see if the same problem appear often to a specific computer (in time of course), and also you?ll have a good perspective of what you did in a workday.
- Don?t be afraid to ask the "older ones". If they are not "freaks of IT" they will help you.
- Before doing anything ? be sure that you know what you are doing. And if you do something, be sure that you can reverse to the "as it was when I came to the user" in less than 5 minutes if everything goes wrong.
- Be prepared to hear/meet a lot of odd situations, when users say: "I didn?t do anything, but my computer is down/my file is deleted". Remember - computers don't have such a strong personality so that they can delete files anytime they want. It?s not easy to "keep your horses" after ten-twenty times in a raw of such problems, but you have to do that!
- Show respect to the users ? they will treat you as you treat them.
- I assume that you have strong knowledge about programs the users use ? if not, get a book and start reading the basics at least.
For now I stop here - if you have problems also don't hesitate to ask for help here.

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