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How to Become a Help Desk Analyst: The Full Guide


elp desk analysts, also known as customer support analysts, computer specialists, or service desk analysts are people who are part of the information technology field, working to help clients solve their technical and computer issues. This is a growing career due to the constant changes in technology. 

In this blog, we’ll cover key information about becoming a help desk analyst, including:

  • What does a help desk analyst do?
  • How to become a help desk analyst
  • Salary, where to work and job prospects
  • How to prepare for the job interview
  • 10 interview questions and example answers 

What does a help desk analyst do?

Help desk analysts are usually specialists in a certain hardware or software. They may specify their job further and only deal with specific problems. 

Just like other information technology related jobs, like network administrators, help desk analysts also have to keep up with the current trends and changes in technology, as well as updating their skills by working with experts, attending workshops and reading manuals.  

In general, help desk analysts have the following duties: 

  • Help people solve computer problems, often over the phone 
  • Walk customers through possible solutions, including how to fix errors in the future
  • Suggest changes to apps and explain software errors to programmers 
  • Make sure defective computer products get fixed or replaced 
  • Install and maintain hardware and software 

How to become a help desk analyst

To become a help desk analyst, most employers will require some sort of formal education, whether that’s from a university or college. The program you take as your education should be related to some form of computer science or specific to becoming a help desk analyst. 

For specific programs, a college diploma or certificate would be the fastest route to entering the field and starting your career. Another thing to note is that with education, you want to be in a program that will give you the hands-on training you need both in the classroom setting and also by making sure you get a work term or practicum to get real experience. 

Before you enroll in any program, it’s important to consider what type of work you want to do, what kind of technology you want to work with, or what you’d like to specialize in within the industry. 

Many help desk analysts are Information Systems Professionals, this is a certified category in the province of Alberta and the rest of Canada by the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS)

Salary, where to work and job prospects

There’s many places where help desk analysts can work as they are essential to businesses, especially those that deal with technology or have it as their main service or product. They can work in any company which has an IT department and consulting firms that help other companies with technical support. 

Help desk analysts are part of the user support technician occupational group, which is said to have an above average annual growth of 2 per cent until at least 2023, as more positions will be created or will open up. Over the last 2 years, 45 per cent of employers hired for this position. 

The average starting salary for this job is $26.38 per hour and can go up to $37.52 on the high end. The overall average salary, a full time help desk analyst can make $32.24 per hour and up to $45 on the higher end, according to ALIS.

How to prepare for the job interview

There’s many ways you can prepare for a help desk analyst job interview. Reflect on the education you’ve gotten related to the job and what experiences you have that will make you stand out. 

Review the job descriptions that you’ve applied for and address your answers in a way that makes sense for the company. Think about what you want to wear, and how you’re going to get to the location. If it’s online, be sure to have a private space where you can do the interview and have decent internet access.

Once you’ve thought about your experience, schooling and things that you've done that make you stand out from others, answering the interviewer’s questions should become easier.

10 interview questions (with example answers) 

  • What experience do you have? 

This is the main time to highlight what makes you a well rounded candidate. Talk about work experience, education, qualifications and anything else that you think is important to the role. That way, the interviewer can get a good idea of where you’re coming from. 

“I got my help desk analyst diploma from ABM College, and while I was there I was able to do my practicum at ABC Company which gave me experience in working with customers and doing the job. I learned different types of technical support strategies and configuring hardware and software. I was also able to troubleshoot various operating systems including Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome, and Android and used that knowledge to help customers.” 

  • What made you want to work in this field?

Here, the employer wants to know why you initially thought about doing this career. Why did you choose it, what qualities make you good at the job and what will drive you to be more successful in this particular field. 

“I’ve always been more technically inclined, working with technology and fixing things in my spare time. I’ve also been told by others that I’m good at communicating and simplifying problems for other people to understand and solve. I started thinking to myself, why not use my skills to help more people? So I started looking for opportunities to become a help desk analyst.”

  • What did you learn by working at your previous company? 

The employer wants to know that you haven’t just left all the learning you’ve done to your formal education. You should be constantly learning, taking initiatives at work and outside to learn new things or keep current with the technology or advancing your skills. 

“What I learned from working at my previous company was how to deal with different types of clients. Everybody needs something different, or a different approach to solving their issues. Some people understand the problems more than others, so I learned how to adapt well to different customers and situations.” 

  • How would you describe a solution to someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing or have technical abilities? 

The employer here wants to know your approach to helping customers who may find it more difficult to solve the problems they have. When answering this question, mention some of the steps you’d take to make it easier for the customer. 

“Firstly I would be patient with the customer, so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Instead of using technical jargon, I would describe aspects to them using visual aids, like ‘the grey wire with the blue end’ or anything along those lines. I would take them step by step like that, really simplifying the language so that they can get on board with how they should be fixing the problem, and be able to come to a solution.”

  • How important is customer service to you? 

This question is important because based on your response, it allows the employer to really gauge whether you’re inclined for constant customer facing communication in person or over the phone, or whether it’s not for you. 

“Customer service is probably the most important, it’s essential. Whether someone working with the customer knows the solution or not, the key is to provide good customer service so even if someone doesn’t know the solution, the analyst should still take the right steps so the customer will continue to have a good experience and come back to us when they need to.”

  • How much do you know about our product or service? 

If you’ve done your homework, this question should be an easy one. They just want to know if you know what the company is about, what they do, and how they help people. Even if you spent some time simply browsing their website, that should give you enough information. 

“I know that your company sells X product and also offers customers support for installing, configuring and troubleshooting the product. There’s a range of products within the same line and each one of them will need to be dealt with differently. I’m excited to work with X operating systems that you use and find unique solutions.” 

  • Have you previously provided remote support? 

Many companies provide support over the telephone, with more and more also using video call. The employer wants to know if you have experience with providing remote support before so that you can comfortably fill that role and have minimal issues adjusting to the work. 

“Yes, at my previous job it was mostly remote. We’d provide help to people over the phone and deal with all their issues by just talking to them. So we would have to be quite descriptive and take it slow, and be patient since sometimes it takes them a while to find what they’re looking for. I’m quite comfortable doing that.” 

  • How would you deal with an angry or frustrated customer? 

While working in customer service, you’re bound to come across people who may not be very pleasant. You need to know how to deal with them so that they can appreciate what you’re doing and also come back for service in the future. 

“I think the best way to deal with them is to be as polite as possible. As the analyst, I might be feeling frustrated as well, but of course I’ll withhold it. I’ll try to explain the situation as best I can without making them feel frustrated any further. I’ll also give them reassurances, and that if they stay on the line with me for just a few minutes we can fix their problem” 

  • How flexible can you be with your schedule? 

This is a pretty straightforward question, just about your scheduling. Be flexible, but don’t be too flexible, where you’re available all the time. Be specific about what times you’re available to work, and be honest. If you have other commitments, don’t say you can work any time. 

“I can be available on weekday mornings and afternoons until 4 p.m., and sometimes during the evenings about 3 days a week. I can also work on the weekends, but preferably weekend evenings, after 5 p.m.” 

  • How well do you handle criticism? 

Here, the employer wants to know that you can improve yourself, and if you’re able to use criticism as a fuel rather than a hindrance to the way you work. This is a good opportunity to discuss how you personally deal with it. 

“I think I can handle criticism well, from both customers, coworkers and superiors. When I get criticism, I realize that it’s something that I can improve and work towards as a goal. It helps me improve how I work and how I can be better at my job and help others. There’s no need to take criticism personally because there’s always room to do better.” 

We hope this blog was useful in finding information about becoming a help desk analyst. For more information, you can read reasons to become a help desk analyst or about help desk duties that keep the role engaging.  

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