A support technician (sometimes referred to as a hotline technician, phone support, or simply tech support) is an IT maintenance technician in charge of remotely (usually over the telephone) helping users troubleshoot problems encountered while using computing tools, especially when a machine fails to work. When a support technician works at a call centre (also called a help desk), he/she may deal with users from different companies.
Most of the time, the support technician only handles "level 1" problems, meaning that he/she notes the caller's name and the problem encountered and use them for a database query. Assisted by a knowledge base which lists the most common questions and answers, he/she diagnoses the problem and tries to find a solution within a length of time set by the employer. If the task runs overlong, or if the technician does not have the skills needed to help, the problem is routed to an expert, whose job is to solve "level 2" problems.
As with a maintenance technician, a tech support worker needs to have real technical skills (in both hardware and software) as well as the ability to listen to users and to mediate. The hotline technician must also have a methodically analytical mind and possess good judgment in determining which questions to ask the user, as well as being able to tell what the caller's level of IT knowledge is so as not to use too much (or too little) technical jargon.
A hotline technician's salary can run from $26k-$50k (Â£13k-Â£25k) per year.