Information technology (IT) support specialists play important roles across a wide range of industries. As companies continue to progress towards an economy based on IT, the responsibilities of their IT support specialists become ever more crucial. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when the IT specialist was seen as the go-to “IT guy” if your computer acts up because of a malware or a software bug. These days, IT support specialists perform far more important tasks than just debug the computer in your workstation. The following are the most important tasks performed by an IT support specialist.
Setup, Installation and Management
The most basic role of IT support specialist is to set up the workstations in a computer network. The larger the computer network, the more tedious the task will be for the specialists. This is usually the case in companies with data centers where the computers and servers are housed in a special room, and the workstations connect to them via cables that run through the walls or floors.
After setting up the workstations, the IT support specialists will then configure them according to network specifications. Operating systems and the software that the workstation’s user will primarily use will also be installed. Despite their best efforts, IT support have to anticipate problems due to human error and bugs in the program. Whenever issues arise because of these, they know how to troubleshoot, fix and ultimately prevent them from happening again.
IT support specialists have their own workstations where they can monitor the firm’s computer network. Some may use a software that can alert them to potential problems before they become an issue. This will help them keep the network operational and working efficiently and prevent downtimes.
Updates, Security and Preemptive Measures
Since software bugs are a constant, IT support specialists should always be on their toes for any potential problems. Part of their duties as the “computer guys” is to create contingency plans to anticipate problems and resolve them before they become worse. Among the solutions for such problems include creating backups for data, server and workstations and devising workarounds for the problems. The software designers usually release updates and patches to fix the bugs in their program. Part of the tasks of IT guys is to install the updates and patches.
Security is also a serious concern among companies, especially for those who store large amounts of client information and those who conduct online transactions and sales. Although IT specialists can design and install a security infrastructure for the network, firms may hire a separate security specialist services for the task. IT support works along with the security specialists to protect the company’s computer infrastructure from spyware and hackers.
When a computer workstation or a server breaks down, IT support specialists may also be called upon to fix or replace it in the absence of a technician. In some instances, the IT support specialist can also train the workstation users how to troubleshoot and fix minor problems from their workstations.
IT support specialists may also have other areas of expertise that are specific to the industry that they work in. For instance, the IT guy may have special knowledge in broadcasting, aviation, manufacturing or robotics. They can use this knowledge to configure the computer network in a way that will be most appropriate for the industry.
As industries continue to incorporate emerging computer technologies in their operations, the roles of IT support specialists become ever more important. More than just being the IT guys, IT support specialists have indeed made their presence felt and needed.