Kapil Khot : Technical Support Engineer
Technical support engineers are responsible for addressing various system and network issues of their organization or of their various clients (if they work for a technical support services firm). Kapil Khot who works as a technical support engineer at Qualys, gives more insight into this job profile:
I am working as a Technical Support Engineer. I have 11 years of work experience. I always wanted to become a Penetration Tester/Security Analyst so I learnt the basics and switched to the information security domain from the storage domain. I keep studying so that I can achieve my goal someday.
I was exploring options apart from medicine and engineering when I was in high school. I had no idea that I would make my career in information technology (IT) until I saw an advertisement by a hardware & networking class. They promised to teach me how computers work, how to assemble/ disassemble computers and to fix them. That fascinated me as I had always loved computers. I was already learning electronics in high school and I thought this is the best way to learn computers too. I then enrolled for this one year class along with pursuing HSC. It was necessary for me to start working after HSC exams to support my family and this class really helped me to get started. I joined a computer shop as a hardware engineer and then progressed to other roles gradually.
Anyone who has cleared 10+2 and possesses good communication and troubleshooting skills can start their career in this field. However, graduation is a must if you want to progress. It’s a good platform for those who like to solve problems and interact with people across the globe. Also, you get a good salary and other benefits too especially if you are working with an MNC. However, you should be prepared to work late nights and rotational shifts. There are many job opportunities for people working in technical support. I’ve seen many people got promoted to different roles like Trainer, SQA, Technical Writer, Support Manager etc.
It depends on the business model used by your company. You should be prepared to handle a high work load.
Customers usually send an email to support line or call in to create tickets to report their issues. You either get those tickets assigned by your managers or you need to pick them up from the queue and start working on them. If it’s an inbound call then you may have to start working with your customer immediately.
Usually you have a remote access to your customer's systems/ network and that makes your job easy. You need to analyze the issue and then try to find its root cause. You have many tools/ debuggers available to find out what’s causing the issue. If it’s a critical issue then you can refer to your internal knowledge base, old cases or Google.
If it’s identified as a bug then you need to provide a work around to the customer (if available) and then report it to engineering.
Most of the times you will be coordinating with the engineering team which helps to fix issues quickly.
Since all issues can't be fixed in a day or two, you will have tickets piled up in your bin and you need to manage them efficiently. You need to work on these tickets based on their priority, criticality and service level agreements.
Apart from this you have trainings scheduled for you frequently. These trainings are usually delivered by developers, QAs or senior technicians. This really helps you to get more understanding of the product you are supporting and feature releases too.
There will be coffee and lunch breaks. Either they are scheduled or you can take them as per your convenience. It again depends on the policy implemented.
Overall, it’s a good field and employers nowadays are trying to focus on employee satisfaction and make sure you enjoy your work.
It’s been amazing. I started my career as a hardware/ desktop engineer and then moved to different roles like on-site technician for an IT company, technical support engineer etc.
It’s been a great experience and good learning. I have met some amazing people and learned a lot from them over these years. It’s not just the technical stuff but about being a good person overall. This field has helped me to grow professionally, personally and financially.
It’s been 11 years and I will keep going. I see myself as a successful security professional in the next 5 to 10 years.
Well, I did not plan anything; I just learned whatever fascinated me. I wanted to learn computer internals so I enrolled for Bachelor of Computer Science program. I then took CCNA and CCNA-Security classes to learn networking and then joined Ethical Hacking classes.
May be I don’t remember each and everything right now but it’s still helping me every day in my current role and will continue to, in future. You need to know at least the basics of each and every technology to be a good technician.
Communication and technical skills are really important to succeed in this field. Your knowledge is of no use if you cannot express it. Good communication skills will help you to converse efficiently with your clients, peers and higher management.
I did not face any challenge at work until I joined technical support as I was good at technical stuff and didn’t need to communicate with clients in English. As I did my schooling in regional language, the real challenge was to crack technical support interviews. I appeared for many interviews but could not crack a single one. I was afraid of talking in English for some reason. I had to work on it to get through. It was really tough for me but not impossible and a great experience indeed!
There are many technologies to learn but learn the one that you find interesting. That will be your specialization but that’s not enough. You may have to learn other technologies too. So, find out what interests you the most, learn it and start learning other technologies relevant to your specialization.
Try to understand each and every concept rather than just mugging it up. Don’t just focus on the theory. Theory is important to understand the concepts but you need to practice a lot. Using virtualization technology you can build your own setup to learn any technology with low investment.
Certifications will help you get a good job. You shouldn’t be doing certifications just for the sake of it but to really learn on your own as that will help you to gain more knowledge.
Always be positive and have a ‘can do’ attitude. Have patience, keep calm and be cool. Be humble, honest and respect everyone around you. There is a lot to learn from friends and colleagues. Not everybody is perfect but you can at least learn good things from them. Don’t take suggestions in the wrong way, but think over them and change yourself if required.
Always focus on your health as one tends to ignore it in this fast paced life. Finally – eat, sleep, learn and share?
Kapil can also reached at his LinkedIn profile - https://www.linkedin.com/pub/kapil-khot/52/669/504