Deciphering IT Help Desk Job Titles

By Tyler Regas

When considering a job in IT help desk, it is clear that you need to make a choice early on as to the direction you will take. Certain roles are common to the IT Help desk.

As you rifle through the job listings on Monster, craigslist, or any of the other dozens of job sites on the Internet, you will see a lot of different names for what looks like the same job. They can be cryptic, but all you need is the key. This will help you understand the different job titles.

Placement in Job Title Potential Terms
Optional Junior or senior
First Desktop or help desk
Second Can sometimes include support
Third Technician, engineer, analyst, or specialist

You get the idea. Various companies use their own title variations, but they all generally mean the same thing. The key is in the first term of the title.

  • If it’s a desktop position, then it will most likely be for an internal help desk role.

  • If it’s a help desk position, then it will most likely be for an external help desk role.

Following that, the second term of the job title is generally optional, but you will see the word support on some ads. The third term, however, is generally interchangeable when coupled with the desktop or help desk terms. Here are some examples:

  • Junior desktop analyst

  • Help desk support engineer

  • Desktop support specialist

Unless you have senior‐grade skills, it’s not a good idea to apply for a senior position. Check the job description to see what the company is really looking for and don’t base your impressions on the title alone. Check as many ads as possible. Even check ads that have titles that are peripherally appropriate. You never know. You may just find a hidden gem.