Tech Support Specialist Salary: How Much Can You Earn Long-Term?

Tech support (sometimes known as “working the help desk,” although a particular job may never involve a desk at all) is an incredibly common job within the technology industry. Some people sign up for it because they enjoy helping people work through their hardware and software problems; others treat it as a temporary gig; and still others believe it’ll provide a springboard to a different, higher-paying technology job. (A tech support specialist salary doesn’t get anywhere close to that of, say, an experienced A.I. researcher, but it can nonetheless translate into a decent monthly paycheck.)

Of course, tech support also comes with its share of (sometimes hilarious) horror stories, but that’s only to be expected when you’re guiding the inexperienced through the thickets of persnickety technology. As you gain more experience in the role, you might find yourself elevated to a more managerial perch, directing a team of tech-support specialists; alternatively, you might become so good at fixing problems that you’re indispensable in your original role.

Whatever your motivations, or ultimate career path, here’s how tech support specialist salary breaks down in different cities. For the purposes of this study, we used the Dice Salary Calculator, and looked at annual pay at the one-year, five-year, and fifteen-year mark. Here’s the resulting chart:

What conclusions can we draw from this? Tech support specialist salary doesn’t increase much over a fifteen-year period; if you want a substantially bigger paycheck, you’ll need to jump into management (which could gain you an extra 4 percent salary boost, for starters), or migrate to a related specialization such as cybersecurity.

Escalating from tech support into a different role is easier said than done, of course. Fortunately, the tech industry has begun emphasizing “soft skills” as a necessary perquisite to progression, and there’s no better place to learn such things than in a tech support role. Simply put, dealing with upset and frantic people all day is a crash course in developing empathetic communication (and listening!).

Tech support also offers the chance to refine your problem-solving skills, and develop an eye toward streamlining processes. In a job interview for another position, take the time to emphasize those abilities; it’s especially helpful to back up your answers with stories from tech support’s “front lines” (not mentioning the names of those you’ve helped out, of course).

Last but certainly not least, a tech support role is a great way to build up your personal network and make connections. You may even find a mentor who will guide you through the next steps in your career, and perhaps advocate on your behalf with other managers. Just make sure to take the time to build up a serious relationship before making the “ask” in terms of a job-related favor.

4 Responses to “Tech Support Specialist Salary: How Much Can You Earn Long-Term?”

  1. Ron S.

    We keep destroying any chances of improving salaries and hourly rates if US companies keep sending it offshore, or when they match to offshore rates right here onshore.

    I know cities in the Midwest are and have been resorting to those crappy tactics for years now. It’s got to stop!!

    • outsourced_in_Philadelphia

      You’ve got that right. Unfortunately the outsourcing will not stop, no matter what any politician says. Too much underhanded stuff going on that protects the big companies. The salaries are a joke. If you are young enough and want to stay with IT, and try to compete for the higher salaries, you will really have to try to specialize in something that there is some sort of demand. The fact that the salaries are that stagnant is 100 percent due to corporate outsourcing ; and it is a major disgrace that corporate America is getting away with it.

  2. I slightly disagree with this article. The job its describing is what I would call I.T. Helpdesk/technician. A Technical Suport Specialist/Engineer can make $100k easily depending on the skillset. This usually requires a broader set of knowledge.

    • I think the article is accurate. Tech support (meaning you’re helping end users on how to use the software) not necessarily only helping with hardware. Although you might have to have them restart their machine etc.
      I transitioned from tech support to QA Engineer and I definitley had to network, work hard and be at the right place right time to show my potential. Best move I ever made. Salary nearly tripled over time.