Career Advancement for Help Desk Workers

Help desk professionals can provide technical support to software customers in a company call center, or they can offer specific technical support to a health center, corporation, or other business. Paired with the right degree, the technical knowledge gained in a help desk role can enable this professional to move into positions such as web developer, network and systems administrator, information security analyst, or database administrator.

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Career Advancement for Help Desk Professionals

Help desk professionals are in a great position to advance up the IT career ladder. Whether they are solving a wide range of technical issues through a call center or focusing on specific software support, these professionals are in a position to grow in their communication, problem solving, and IT skills. Help desk professionals who leverage their experience alongside the necessary education can pursue a wide range of IT career paths. Four of these options are detailed below: web developer, network and systems administrator, information security analyst, and database administrator.

Job Title Mean Annual Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-26)* Qualifications
Web Developer $75,580 15% Associate's in web design or bachelor's in computer science (or related degree), working knowledge of programming languages, experience with current web development platforms
Network and Systems Administrator $87,070 6% Bachelor's in computer science or related degree; Microsoft, Cisco, and/or other product certification
Database Administrator $92,030 11% Bachelor's in computer science or master's in database administration (or related degree), database language proficiency, software certification
Information Security Analyst $102,470 28% Bachelor's in computer science (or related degree) or MBA in information systems, security certification (e.g., CISSP)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information

Web Developer

A web developer is tasked with the job of understanding an employer's or client's online needs and developing the website to match it. Because of this, web developers need to understand both the front- and back-end aspects of websites, including current web programming languages, graphics, audio and video integration, multimedia applications, and more. Continuing education is necessary for a web developer, as the online world changes rapidly. For entry into this field, employers often look for someone with an associate's in web design or a bachelor's degree in a related field, as well as proven experience with the necessary applications and coding languages. The experience gained as a help desk professional could be just the thing needed to set an applicant apart.

Network and Systems Administrator

Network and systems administrators have a hands-on role in the hardware and software that make up a company's computer network. They are responsible for daily operations of an organization's LAN, WAN, intranet, or other network systems, being the key professional to optimize performance and troubleshoot issues. Qualifications typically include a bachelor's in computer science or similar degree, as well as experience and certification in the organization's network system. A help desk professional may be in a position to learn and gain the experience employers seek.

Database Administrator

Organizations with large amounts of valuable data may be in need of a database administrator (DBA). A DBA's role is to make sure data remains organized and secure, and that databases are up to date, providing ease of access for data analysts and others. Help desk professionals may choose to pair their problem-solving experience with the necessary education to move into this important IT field. Requirements to become a DBA include a bachelor's in computer science (or related computer-focused degree) and an ability to work with database languages such as SQL. Specific database software certification may also be desired.

Information Security Analyst

An information security analyst is an important member of a computer network team. This person is tasked with guarding the network from attack through the use of firewalls, data encryption, and other security measures. Information security analysts must stay up to date on network threats and current defenses against them. To become an information security analyst, a bachelor's in computer science or an information systems MBA is often required, as is the appropriate security certification. Experience is also desired - experience that may be gained by a help desk professional with his or her eyes on career advancement.

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