IT support refers to various services that organizations offer to end-users of various IT products or services, such as computer hardware or software. In simple terms, IT support simply offers assistance regarding particular issues with a particular product or service, instead of offering training, distribution, or modification of that product, or any other support services as well. This support may be required for hardware and software purchased by end-users, or may be required for training and/or product customization. The services usually provided by an IT support provider are indispensable for the efficient performance of various business computer and software systems. To this end, an IT support provider needs to be well versed in the field of computer hardware and software, as well as being capable of providing timely assistance.
To offer assistance, IT support specialists need to have a thorough knowledge
of the nature of their client’s system. This is in stark contrast to hardware and software application specialists, who typically only know the basics of the system or software applications in question. To remedy this situation, IT support specialists should possess both hardware and software knowledge and, to some extent, an in-depth knowledge of specific applications or technologies. For instance, when IT support technicians are called upon to troubleshoot certain complicated software applications, they need to have both a working knowledge of the software itself and knowledge of how that software program interacts with hardware devices. With regard to IT support specialist duties, software applications are often less difficult to deal with because oftentimes the software itself is delivered as downloads on web pages.
On the other hand, hardware experts need to know how to troubleshoot specific computer hardware. Again, this is not as easy as it sounds because oftentimes computer hardware requires more than just basic knowledge of how to push a few buttons. As an IT specialist, it is your responsibility to provide your clients with expert advice concerning the hardware that is installed in their computer systems. In addition, you also need to be familiar with every component of the computer hardware. The most common problems afflicting computer hardware include static electricity, overheating, shorting out power or even fried wiring connections. It is also your responsibility to troubleshoot problematic computer software programs, which can be very tricky if you do not have at least some previous experience with that particular software.
Although IT support specialists may communicate directly with computer systems via phone lines, most of them work exclusively over the Internet with their websites. Because of this, it may become necessary for them to have access to the source code of computer systems. It is important to understand that even the most seemingly simple program can have several hidden layers of coding which the IT support specialist needs to explore in order to determine the problem at hand. This process also takes place at various stages of software development – from determining what kind of program is being written to the design and conception of the programming code. As a result, many IT support specialists find themselves reading large book books in order to learn every possible aspect of their system. The good news is that there are quite a few excellent IT support books available on the market today.
If you have an IT support center, it is likely that the IT support staff has read plenty of books regarding network security, file servers, email servers and other computer software issues. However, you will probably discover that these books rarely address every possible issue that an IT support specialist might come across. There are also quite a few topics that are often overlooked by most of these popular books. As an example, it is usually assumed that a router has to support only one type of service – either down or up. However, this assumption is wrong – in fact, routers can support both FTP and IP services, as well as voice and video.
As mentioned earlier, it is quite difficult for an IT support specialist to assess a computer systems’
compatibility with new software programs. This is because new software features may not be supported by all hardware components. For example, it may seem like it should be perfectly fine to install a web browser with Microsoft Internet Explorer vista, but a hardware component may not support this browser, causing the entire system to fail to browse the Internet. In this case, the IT support specialist would need to buy a new piece of equipment in order to access the Internet – at least this is the worst case scenario. Fortunately, however, there are quite a few very low-cost options available in most retail stores that can still support a new web browser.
- Another possibility is that the hardware that originally worked with a particular operating system no longer works with the newer versions.
- As an example, many computers that were manufactured with the Windows 3.x operating system will not work properly with Windows 7.
- Windows relies on the “older” hardware model that was manufactured for the operating system.
It is important for an IT professional to be aware of any hardware that is no longer supported by the manufacturer. A support specialist can easily locate this hardware and install it on a new PC, which provides full support for the new technology.
For many IT support specialists, a vital aspect of their job involves keeping documentation up to date. This not only ensures that the business is running efficiently, but it also makes it easier to provide answers to any questions that the end user might have. IT support specialists should collect all documentation related to the computer system that was recently installed or replaced. Then, these documents should be reviewed and analyzed by the support specialist. Based on this information, the IT specialist can provide an accurate answer to a question. If an issue is not resolved correctly, then this IT support specialist might be able to help the end user get their computer system fixed completely.