No Degree, No Problem! 6 Steps to Your First Tech Support Job

all different colored technology cords

Most tech support jobs don't require special degrees or certifications, but that doesn't mean they're easy to get. It seems like everyone wants a job in the technology industry lately, so you're going to need to have tech-related experience to help you stand out.

Here are several ideas to help you dive in.  They're meant to help you sharpen your skills, polish your resume, and make an impression on the right people, so you can become the tech support specialist you know you are.

1.  Get Familiar with How Technology Works

Technical support representatives are usually generalists, which means they need to know the basics about a wide range of products and technologies rather than having a mastery of one. If you're able to speak intelligently about general topics in technology–like how web pages appear in a browser or how computers store and display information, for example–it'll inform interviewers you're a true resource for their customers, not just a skilled script reader.

2. Take an Alternate Position at an Innovative Tech Company

If you're having trouble getting your foot in the door, keep an eye out for well-known tech companies with entry-level position openings, like inside sales or administrative support.  Seizing these opportunities can be a great move for several reasons. First, working at an established technology company will help familiarize you with the industry, as well as how people think and talk in it. Also, as an employee, you may have a better shot at getting a tech support job in the company having worked there for a while. Finally, having experience at a solid tech company will show potential future employers that you're serious about working in the industry and that you've rubbed shoulders with other people who are, too.

3. Start Picking Up Tech Skills on your Own

Before they hire you for a technical support job, many employers want to see that you bring real technical skills to the table–not just the ability to learn quickly. Thanks to the Internet, it's never been easier to start learning. Free tech-related MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) taught by professors at elite universities are available online, and enrollment is available year-round. EdX, Coursera, and Udacity are a few of the most popular MOOC platforms.  Also, a simple Google or YouTube search will help you find free tutorials and lectures on just about any project or skill you can think up–from HTML to A+ Computer Repair. 

In the end, the more skills you're able to put on your resume and show potential employers, the better. It's in your interest to start taking advantage of the web today to further your job prospects.

4. Tackle Tech-related Projects at your Current Job

If you're at a small, non-technical company, it's likely there are tech-related projects piling up that people are putting off. Social media, blogging, and SEO are a few common examples at small businesses, yet they require relatively little technical expertise to tackle. Not only will digging into a project like this earn you plaudits from your company manager, it'll also give you a success story to talk about in future interviews for a desktop support position.

5. Start Blogging

You might not feel like you know much yet, but setting up a blog and adding content to it regularly is a great way to spur your own learning, keep you up to speed with what's happening in the industry, and give you a great item to put on your resume that sets you apart from other aspiring support technicians and specialists.

6. Join a Local Tech Meetup

Meetups are self-organizing groups that get together regularly to talk about a subject they're interested in. For someone just breaking into the technology industry, meetups are a great way to be around tech people having tech-related conversations, even though you don't have a job yet.

Also, it's a well-known fact that recruiters hang around these meetings, quietly looking for talent. While you might not have the level of experience they're after, you might meet a recruiter who knows about other openings in his or her company and can get you in touch with the right person. Sometimes all it takes is a foot in the door.

In the current job market, there aren't many jobs that are easy to get.  But if you gain enough technical know-how to make yourself indispensible to an employer, it's going to be a lot easier. Be patient with yourself and get started today!

What else are you doing to qualify for a job in tech support?

Contributed to jobs.net by Kim Evans



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