19 February 2020

What is a support engineer? Job specifications and key skills.

‘Support engineer’ is one of those job titles that people see every day, but have no idea exactly what it actually means. In fact, many support engineers will tell you that when they inform people what their job title is, they’re met with the response of “So, what do you support… exactly?”. So, what is a support engineer? Put simply they are engineers who build new infrastructure/network solutions or provide the maintenance of existing ones.

What does a support engineer do?

First and foremost, they are engineers — their job is to use their expertise to solve complex problems for people. Specifically, support engineers work in information technology (IT) and commonly are employed in a role that requires them to carry out technical support on complex IT systems.


Support engineers provide technical assistance, this could mean working directly for an organisation — guaranteeing the smooth day to day running of various computer systems. Alternatively, they could work for a company that supplies technical products, such as software or electronics. In this kind of role, support engineers assist customers having problems with the company’s products. This is often done by troubleshooting issues over the phone, by email or other means.


Support engineer job requirements

Typically support engineers need to be educated to BTec level 3 or achieve an IT related degree. Specific requirements will depend on the exact role and employer. For example, a business looking for a support engineer to aid in the running of their Microsoft Windows-based platform may require candidates to have Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) status.


Important skills for support engineers

Great support engineers do not just have a strong technical knowledge and understanding of their field, they need to be able to keep in mind the end-user of the systems they are developing in order to create an excellent user experience.


Support engineers working in technical support roles also need to have excellent interpersonal skills, as they will be dealing directly with colleagues or clients every day. They will need to be able to talk users (in an easily understandable way) through maintenance processes remotely to fix problems. Active listening skills are especially important, as the support engineer will need to be able to keep a conversation going while troubleshooting and running analytics to identify issues.


To find out more about roles as a support engineer click here.