If you are considering a career in IT, you have no doubt heard terms like ‘IT Support’ bandied around in terms of job titles. IT is a very varied industry that covers all kinds of things from software development to network engineering, database administration and web design, but the area that deals with looking after existing systems and their users tends to fall under the fairly vague umbrella term ‘services’. While IT support is an IT service, there are distinctions between the two terms when used to describe departmental structure within a business.
What Do Services in IT Cover?
In a lot of companies’ IT departments, there are project based teams who work on things like software development for the business, and then there are teams who work on a less project related basis doing things like looking after servers, managing networks, dealing with access to internal systems and fixing any problems with infrastructure or user systems. It is the latter who tend to be defined in terms of ‘services’, because they provide a service to the business.
There are also companies who specialize in providing these things to other companies. Not every company has an IT department, or has one large enough to cope with their own systems and users, so they outsource these things to third party IT specialists. These companies may be reasonably local, or may be in other countries, as a lot of the work involved can be done remotely.
What Does IT Support Cover?
IT support is one of the services an IT department or IT services company can provide. It tends to refer to the people who assist users who are having problems with their hardware or software, and it tends to work on a two or three tier basis. The first line of IT support is generally a team who will do triage on the problem the user is having, for example encouraging them to check their network connection and other basics before taking down details of the problem and deciding which technical team should deal with it. The problem then gets referred to someone in a second line support position, who will try and fix it, or someone in another part of the service team who is involved in the specific area they are having a problem with, for example a network engineer or a system administrator. There is a significant amount of overlap between support and other teams because often, to resolve an issue, a number of different people have to investigate things and different parts of systems need to be checked or changed. However, the IT support team is usually the people who deal with the users directly.
So, as you can see, support is a kind of service, but not every job in services is a support job. When somebody says they work in an IT service capacity or for an IT service company, there are a number of things they could be doing, whereas IT support typically refers to user support. Bear this in mind when looking at courses of study or applying for jobs in the IT industry.
Daniel Nector is a part of a managed hosting and managed services provider company- Virtual Management Technologies. He enjoys writing about various IT and tech related innovations and developments. He is a movie buff and huge DC comic fan.
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