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.