Desktop Support Specialist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Desktop Support Specialist, or Desktop Support Engineer, provides technical assistance to customers regarding various hardware and software applications. Their main duties include troubleshooting and diagnosing different technical issues, assessing and understanding user needs and issues and recommending technical fixes to customers.

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Desktop Support Specialist duties and responsibilities

A Desktop Support Specialist troubleshoots issues on their company’s computer network through their knowledge of both software and hardware. Here are some of the tasks they may perform:

  • Provide direct service for IT networks as well as customer service to users inside and outside the company
  • Maintain a work log of job tickets and maintenance tasks
  • Forward daily inspections to prevent or solve system malfunctions
  • Stay updated on new developments in, and analyze reviews of, computing technologies
  • Supervise the logging of network conditions and requirements
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Desktop Support Specialist Job Description Examples

What does a Desktop Support Specialist do?

Desktop Support Specialists work in the information technology department of a company assisting customers in resolving their software or hardware issues. They typically install new programs to increase the efficiency and satisfaction of customers. Many Desktop Support Specialists answer phone calls or use online chat systems to determine a customer’s technical issue, then they provide guidance for how to resolve the problem. 

Some may even travel onsite to the customer’s location to solve any complex computer issues. They’re usually responsible for keeping records of common customer issues and reporting them to their supervisor.

Desktop Support Specialist skills and qualifications

Desktop Support Specialists need the following skills and qualifications:

  • Knowledge of computer software, operating systems, hardware and networking
  • Experience with software as a service (SaaS) and other software hosting protocols
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills 
  • Good problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Able to work in a team as well as independently
  • Experienced in providing professional and courteous customer service 

Desktop Support Specialist salary expectations

A Desktop Support Specialist makes an average of $20.50 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Desktop Support Specialist education and training requirements

Desktop Support Specialists need at least a high school diploma or GED, though most employers prefer an associate or bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology or a related field. Many certifications are also available for Desktop Support Specialists, including Microsoft, Apple and CompTIA credentials. 

Desktop Support Specialist experience requirements

Employers seeking Desktop Support Specialists usually prefer candidates to have at least some experience in both technical and customer service areas. However, some companies may hire a person for an entry-level support job and provide them with training, thus giving them exactly the type of experience needed. Senior-level Desktop Support Specialists or team leads need at least three to five years of experience. 

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Frequently asked questions about Desktop Support Specialists


What makes a good Desktop Support Specialist?

An effective Desktop Support Specialist must be great at communicating with customers over the phone and should have strong listening abilities to understand and resolve the customer’s problem. It’s best if they have extensive knowledge and experience operating different software and hardware systems to successfully solve an abundance of technical issues customers may have. 

They should also possess great customer service skills to patiently and calmly handle customers who are frustrated with their systems’ technical problems. Great Desktop Support Specialists must use problem solving and critical thinking abilities to come up with logical solutions to various hardware and software issues.


Who does a Desktop Support Specialist report to?

Desktop Support Specialists usually work on large teams in a call center setting, so they usually report to a Desktop Support Manager. This role oversees the performance of Desktop Support Specialists and schedules their shifts. If the Desktop Support Specialist is having issues with a client or if the client has comments or concerns about one of the Desktop Support Specialists, they’ll go to the Desktop Support Manager to resolve it. 

Desktop Support Specialists who work on smaller teams in an office environment typically report to the IT Manager, who addresses any complex issues or questions a Desktop Support Specialist may have about the operations of certain hardware and software systems. 


What's the difference between a Desktop Support Specialist and a Software Engineer?

Though they both work closely with computer systems, the roles of Desktop Support Specialists and Software Engineers vary greatly. A Software Engineer works on the design side of a computer system, as they regularly build an application and test it to ensure it’s working properly. 

Once the system is released, the Desktop Support Specialist handles any issues the users may be experiencing with it and work to add any updates or fixes to resolve the users’ problems. A Software Engineer usually only handles the design process and has little to nothing to do with the implementation phase afterward. 


Which settings do Desktop Support Specialists typically work in?

Desktop Support Specialists usually work in an office or call center environment answering phone calls and finding solutions to common technical problems. It’s often best for Desktop Support Specialists to have a strong knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the software’s functions to more effectively assist customers. They may work either in a business-to-consumer or business-to-business setting, so they may travel to a customer’s house to fix a problem or to an organization’s office to solve any complex issues.

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