The IT Help Desk Job Market - dummies

By Tyler Regas

You are looking at joining one of the most stable and consistent growth industries on the planet. Information Technology lives at the core of almost every business on Earth. Literally billions of computers are in the hands of people every day, and massive networks crisscross the globe, providing the backbone of the Internet. As these computers get smaller and the networks get faster, there needs to be a standing nerd army to make it all work.

While development and cloud‐computing represent the two hottest segments of the IT job market, there will always be a need for technical support. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual pay rates range from $48,900 for computer support specialists to $79,680 for computer systems analysts, and 123,000 positions will be added by 2022. As it stands, there are 722,400 people in computer support specialist positions in the United States. Here’s how salaries break down in detail:

  • Lowest 10 percent: $34,930

  • Lower 25 percent: $44,530

  • Median: $59,090

  • Upper 25 percent: $76,450

  • Highest 10 percent: $96,850

IT help desk jobs are important to corporate America as a whole for several reasons:

  • Rapid growth: Like other IT positions, IT help desk positions are growing at double digits and are one of the biggest growth sectors in the stagnant American job market.

  • Rapid change: The skills needed for IT help desk positions are changing at an outrageous pace. Not only are new gadgets, software, and SaaS products announced on a regular basis, Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux are improving rapidly, and new technologies are being introduced a few times a year.

  • High turnover: As with many service‐based job categories, IT has a lot of turnover. People move from one job to another because they get an offer for better pay, get to work with technologies they prefer, get the opportunity to work with newer technologies, get better perks or a cooler workplace environment, or want to work with certain people. People also move from internal to external help desk positions, take on freelance work, or take a job with a consulting agency.

  • Prospecting: While it’s not exactly awesome, some headhunters and HR departments like to ping people for non‐existent positions, just to get a sense of what kind of draw they can command. It is what it is. Just be aware that because a job is posted doesn’t mean there’s an opportunity on the other end.