Consider a Nonprofit Career Path in Technical Support

The world of technical support is always in need of a helping hand. As more users become acquainted and interested in technology, they're not necessarily becoming better at troubleshooting on their own; an increased user base means more people to help people figure out how to get things done, troubleshoot actual bugs, and run the technical show so quietly that no one knows that they're actually working.

If you want to make a difference with nonprofit organizations and have some technical aptitude, or at least the willingness to learn, here's some information to get you started.

Helpdesk Is the Well-Rounded Career Introduction

If you have no prior-technical experience and want to be involved in a technical industry that helps others, look no further than helpdesk. Across many different parts of Information Technology (IT) and other technical industries, the helpdesk technician has to either field the most basic issues or route the more complicated issues to someone else.

This type of work will give a future technician the exposure they need to find their own road in technical support. A person may want to get into Information Security because of customers who were hacked, fell for fraudulent emails, or the victims of random computer viruses. Networking may be someone else's path because of the interesting ways that internet speeds and consistencies can be managed.

Every trouble call and customer query adds up, leading to a set of teachable situations where you can bring many different disciplines together. The strongest performers in Information Technology and Computer Science will have experience in multiple areas such as programming, system administration, and networking. If you want to understand how everything comes together on a deeper level, there isn't much better a place to learn that helpdesk.

What Other Options Are Available in Technical Support?

Every part of IT and CS has some technical support element, in addition to content creation and operations. Here are a few angles to take with a basic description:

General Tech Support—If you'd rather keep taking calls, you can simply advance in that discipline. As you improve gradually in every other area of IT or become a temporary student of a particular discipline, you can become a trusted and dedicated source of knowledge that other representative go to. From there, you can become a higher tier of support (tier 2, tier 3, etc) or an engineer who creates sophisticated fixes that the standard helpdesk techs on the phone can't do alone.

System Administration—Installing Operating Systems (OS), maintaining security and functionality patches, adding users, removing users, changing what users can do, and managing software on systems is what a SysAdmin does. It takes technical support and focuses it on managing a particular system, such as a server or a business' network. You're a combination of helpdesk, organizer, and IT space creator with a lot more power here.

Network Administration—Instead of managing how the computers work as far as hardware and software, a network administrator handles how network routers, switches and hubs transfer information and whether certain destinations or nodes will have access to that information.

Within those disciplines are many other specialties, such a security experts who review strange activities in network resources and with user actions, or signal engineers who control the radio waves of internet through wireless routers, antennas, and satellite dishes. Contact a nonprofit such as Foundation List to find openings that can lead you into a tech support lifestyle.