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Help desk essentials

Molly offers advice on becoming a help desk professional.

Dear Molly: I am looking for a job in IT and haven’t been too successful. I am currently an office manager and have extensive experience working with programs like Office and some database programs. I thought I might do well as a help desk person. Can you tell me what kind of training and experience I would need for this kind of job?

Molly says: Help desk work is a combination of problem solving and customer service. It helps if you have a thick skin and are really patient and hard to fluster. You will also need a thorough knowledge of the hardware/software system that you are helping support–or at least a working knowledge along with a thorough knowledge of the help desk trouble-shooting database.

Here are two help desk association Web sites you can visit to get more information about the job and to learn about certification: the Help Desk Institute and Help Desk 2000. To get an inside scoop on what the job is like on a day-to-day basis, visit the Helpdesk, an online chat room for help desk professionals.

Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at

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