Everything you need to know about becoming a Help Desk Analyst

Table of contents


    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 specialists in certain hardwares or softwares. They have the option to specialize their area of work to only handle certain tasks or problems.

    Similar to other information technology related jobs, like network administrators, help desk analysts have to stay up to date with the current trends and changes in technology. This can be done by working with experts, attending workshops, or reading manuals.  

    In general, help desk analysts generally perform the following duties: 

    • Helping people solve computer problems, often over the phone 
    • Walking customers through possible solutions, which also includes how to prevent future errors
    • Suggesting changes to apps
    • Explaining software errors to programmers 
    • Ensuring defective computer products are repaired or replaced 
    • Installing and maintaining hardware and software 

    How do I become a Help Desk Analyst?

    To become a help desk analyst, most employers will require some form 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 is one of the fastest routes to entering the field and starting your career. Another factor you want to keep in mind when choosing your program is to look for programs that have work experience (also called a practicum) included in. By completing a practicum, this gives you real hands-on experience in a professional environment.

    Before you enroll in any program, it’s important to consider what type of work you want to do, what type 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)

    How much do Help Desk Analyst get paid? What kind of workplaces do they work in?

    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/product. Help desk analysts have the flexibility to work in any company that has an IT department or with consulting firms that assist other businesses or organizations with technical support. 

    Help desk analysts are part of the user support technician occupational group, which is estimated 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 help desk analysts is $26.38 per hour but can go up to $37.52 on the higher end. The overall average salary for a full-time help desk analyst is $63,163.00 according to ALIS Alberta.

    How to prepare for the job interview

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

    Review the job description that you’ve applied to and address your answers in a way that makes sense for the company.  If you have an in-person interview, make sure to have your outfit picked out the night before and ensure you leave early enough to make it to the location on time.

    f it’s online, be sure to have a private space where you can do the interview and have decent internet access.

    10 interview questions (with example answers) 

    • What experience do you have? 

    This is the time to highlight what makes you a well rounded candidate. Talk about your work experience, education, qualifications and anything else that you think is important to the role. This provides important context and gives insight into your background.

    "I got my IT help desk analyst online diploma from ABM College and while I was studying included in my course was a practicum. I did my practicum with Company X, while working in my role I was assisting customers with their technical issues over the phone and through a chat server. This taught me how to provide different technical solutions with multiple operating systems like Windows, Mac, Chrome, and even Android just to name a few. "

    • What made you want to work in this field?

    By asking this question, the employer wants to know  why you originally wanted to enter this field specifically. Talk about what elements of being a help desk analyst first intrigued your and why you have chosen to pursue this as your career.

    “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 that your learning and skills go beyond what you have learned in the classroom. Since help desk analysts have to remain up to date on industry trends and advancements, it's important to be able to expand on things you have learned.

    "One of things I learned at my last job was how to troubleshoot connectivity problem on Windows, since then I have taken a few workshops to help improve my own efficiency and knowledge of their updates. I like to do this with multiple programs and software just to keep me on my toes, I always want to be prepared to help customers the best I can."

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

    This is your time to highlight not just your customer service skills but also your problem solving skills. How you would approach a customer who has more difficulty solving technical issues is important since no two customers are alike. When answering this question make sure to outline the steps you would take in addition to solving the problem.

    "The first step I would take is to really listen to the customer's frustrations and when answering their questions to avoid any confusing or overly technical jargon. I would describe the steps they need to take by using visual cues, like the large grey wire that has a blue end or something along those lines. I would try to use layman's terms and simple language to not overwhelm them. In the end, I would make sure to ask them if they have any additional questions and also give them some preventative tips to help avoid future issues."

    • How long should a phone call last when helping a customer?

    Each company will have its own standards and metric for how long a phone call should be. This question assesses your approach to customer service and your ability to solve issues efficiently.

    " I typically aim to keep my calls around the 5 minute mark but I can only give this as a baseline. Depending on the issue, customer comprehension level, and a range of other elements this could increase or decrease my time. I always encourage my customers to ask any questions at the end too."

    How much do you know about our product or service? 

    If you’ve done your homework, this question should be an easy one. Tell the employer what you know about their company, 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, I do have previous experience at old position doing work remotely. We did both over the phone and chat support. 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. 

    "There are a couple of ways I deal with a upset customer, the first is to remain polite and positive. I don't want to add to their frustration or make them feel worse than they already do. Secondly, I make sure I listen carefully to how they are describing their problem, I want them to know I am listening and actively trying diagnose their issues. Finally, I encourage them to ask me any questions at any point in the process."

    • 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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