Service Desk Analyst: Jobs, Courses, Salaries, and Career Paths

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Understand the service desk analyst role, how to qualify for this position, essential skills you should build, and salary information.

[Featured image] A female, wearing an orange outfit, is sitting at her desktop performing her duties as a service desk analyst.

Service desk analysts are an integral part of any organization that uses or offers technology functions to its customers. They are responsible for resolving staff and customer technological questions that need technical support. Typically, they troubleshoot network, hardware, and software problems. 

Service desk analyst openings are expected to increase by 6 percent in this decade, a rate on par with the national average [1]. In this article, we'll go over what a service desk analyst does, the skills you'll need in the role, and ways to get started.

What does a service desk analyst do daily?

Service desk analysts work closely with the IT department and communicate with the end-user, whether staff within an organization or external customers. Day-to-day duties and responsibilities include:

  • Managing, prioritizing, and documenting incoming questions and service desk tickets 

  • Resolving technical issues quickly and efficiently 

  • Installing and configuring software and meeting end-user needs

  • Escalating any serious problems to relevant departments and teams

  • Ensuring optimal network performance

  • Performing system updates, tests, and maintenance to avoid service interruptions 

  • Analyzing IT incident reports and questions to identify any trends to make recommendations for changes and to prevent future problems

  • Producing user manuals and guidance for end-users 

Read more: 7 In-Demand IT Skills to Boost Your Resume

Requirements to become a service desk analyst

Most service desk analyst jobs ask for an associate or bachelor’s degree, especially for more senior-level roles. While there is no specific subject requirement, it can help to have a major relevant to the profession.

Service desk analyst degrees

A degree in a relevant field may help you become a service desk analyst. You may consider the following disciplines:

  • Bachelor of Information Technology: A degree in IT typically takes four years to complete and covers topics such as coding, network design, and ethical hacking. 

  • Bachelor of Computer Systems: This degree focuses on information systems, business analysis, and programming and usually takes four years to complete. 

  • Bachelor of Computer Science: A bachelor’s degree in computer science generally takes four years to complete and focuses on the theoretical and mathematical grounding of computing, programming, algorithms, and data structures.

Read more: Computer Science vs. Information Technology: Careers, Degrees, and More

Experience and skills for service desk analysts

Skills and experience are important criteria when you’re looking at how to become a service desk analyst. Technical roles such as this one demand an understanding and practical skills relating to IT and computer systems, as well as some transferable skills: 

  • Technical and system expertise (networking, active directory, DNS)

  • Computer skills

  • Customer support

  • Problem-solving and troubleshooting abilities

  • Communication

  • Time management

  • Teamwork and collaboration 

For experience, completing an internship, as part of a degree, or an entry-level IT role in the field can help you build important knowledge that employers value.

Read more: 7 In-Demand IT Skills to Boost Your Resume

Typical career paths to becoming a service desk analyst

Different roles will ask for various levels of education, certifications, and experience, but generally, starting as a service desk analyst in an entry-level position is the starting point, with a clear path for advancement. This position is a great way to get into an IT department. Continuing from work as a service desk analyst, you have opportunities to advance with the proper education and experience.

Companies typically organize technical support into levels. Level one is an entry-level position and involves troubleshooting simple questions and escalating anything more advanced to level two in the case of a service desk analyst. After level two support, there is a level three and sometimes higher. 

Levels four and five tend to be management levels, and level six will be the head of a department. These levels vary according to the size and function of a company, but having levels means it’s possible to advance in your career and move to other companies, with a clear distinction of the level you’re working at. 

Moving up levels typically requires more experience and possible certifications specified by your employer or even advanced education such as a master’s degree. Holding certifications or a master’s degree can often help you advance more quickly. 

Certifications and certificates for service desk analysts

You have the choice of acquiring many relevant service desk certifications or certificates to help boost your career or get you into your first role. Some employers will suggest specific courses, so consider the following ideas:

Service desk analyst certifications

  • Network Computer Technician (NCT): A certification to demonstrate skills in computer electronics, network technology, and the internet. 

  • HDI Support Center Analyst (SCA);  A two-day course verifying the skills of front-line technical support professional. 

  • HDI Support Center Manager (HDI-SCM): For support center managers to verify the technical management skills of a support organization. 

Read more: Are Certifications Worth It? When to Get Certified in Your IT Career

Service desk analyst certificates

Google has two Professional Certificates designed to help beginners learn more about the IT field and gain the necessary skills to enter a related profession, like service desk analyst.

The Google IT Support Professional Certificate is a beginner-level certificate that can take about six months to complete, providing the knowledge to be successful in an entry-level IT role and providing customer support. 

In the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program, I learned skills to assist customers with end-to-end support, ranging from identifying problems to troubleshooting and debugging.

Janelle H.

The Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate, on the other hand, is an eight-month course teaching skills such as Python, Git, and IT automation to support career growth.

Salaries and job titles: service desk analysts

Service desk analysts can have various titles. These are typically the same role but with a different name:

  • Service desk analyst

  • Help desk analyst

  • IT support analyst

  • Help desk technician

  • Service desk technician

Salaries for service desk analysts will depend on a few factors, including the level of role you're applying for (entry-level vs. senior), the amount of experience you have, where you live, and the type of company hiring. According to Lightcast, the annual average salary in the US for this role is $57,657 [2].

Learn more: 7 High-Paying IT Jobs

Build your IT skills today

Keep exploring the skills and tools used by IT professional every day, or start building them today with these top-rated courses on Coursera:

For an introductory course, start with IBM's Introduction to Technical Support. In 12 hours, you'll learn about the different types of customer support in the IT field, explore the features and benefits of ticketing systems, and identify the different methodologies and frameworks used for technical support purposes. Plus, if you enjoy the course, you'll already be on your way to completing a Professional Certificate in the field.

To prepare for a career in IT, try Google's IT Support Professional Certificate. In just six months, you'll receive professional-level training from Google and gain skills required to succeed in an entry-level IT job, such as assembling computers, providing end-to-end customer supports, and using systems like Linux, binary code, and command-line interfaces.

To enhance your cloud computing skills, explore IBM's Introduction to Cloud Computing. Learn the essential characteristics of cloud computing, its different service models, and the most popular cloud platforms being used today in just 12 hours.

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook - Computer Support Specialists,” Accessed April 18, 2023.

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