Certification Survey Extra: The helpdesk launch pad, Part 2

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Certification Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Certification Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Certification Survey data.

Is your current tech support position a launch pad to a better role in computer support?Here we are again at the bottom, looking up. There are jobs in almost every profession that are seen as leading to better things later on. Often those better things don’t have anything to do with the skills required by the job itself. Very few young people take a position flipping burgers intending to work in fast food for the rest of their lives.

There are also jobs, on the other hand, that individuals take to begin working their way up a particular ladder. Not everyone starts at the bottom rung in a given profession, but many people do. Sometimes you take a job at the local public library shelving books because you want to eventually work in collection development.

Last week in this space we looked at the career ambitions of certified computer support professionals, as gauged by our recent Computer Technician Certification Survey. There are a considerable number of support professionals who see their current jobs as a gateway to other IT sectors, perhaps networking, or cybersecurity.

Not nearly as many on the other hand, see themselves eventually moving out of IT altogether — using their current position, in essence, as a launch pad to an entirely different career, in an entirely different field of endeavor. This week, we’ll see whether some of those currently in computer support are right where they want to be already.

There are high-level support positions, of course. There’s plenty of room for upward mobility without looking elsewhere. There’s also still a need for individuals who are content to stay right where they are. There’s even competition for those people: Recent U.S. labor data found that there already 835,300 computer support specialists just in the United States, but that demand is expected to create nearly 100,000 more such jobs just in the next decade.

Some survey respondents are happy to answer that call. When asked how they view their future, 55 percent said they are either likely (29.5 percent) or very likely (25.9 oercent) to stay employed as a computer support professional in the next three to five years. An additional 22.9 percent of those surveyed say it’s at least somewhat likely they’ll stay put, while 21.7 percent are confident they’ll have moved on in the next three to five years.

Some of those who are content to remain in the field, of course, want to move up. They’re happy with working in computer support, but see themselves taking on greater responsibilities, or more important roles. For those folks, what they’re doing now is a launch pad that will fire up their ascent to the topmost rungs of the computer support ladder.

When we asked the question, do you see yourself staying in support but moving up, we found that there are indeed quite a few certified support professionals who, as they say, aspire higher. A striking 66 percent of respondents say it’s either likely (24.1 percent) or very likely (42.8 percent) that they’ll stay in support but seek to move up to a higher level in the next three to five years.

The rest either consider upward mobility in computer support only somewhat likely (13.9 percent of respondents) or have essentially ruled it out (19.3 percent).

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CertMag Staff

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Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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