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The difference between application support & tech support (and why it really matters)

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​On the busy Technology Desk here in Cpl, we receive dozens of applications every week from candidates seeking entry-level IT jobs. These jobs are often within Technical Support and Application Support and quite often applicants are open to either or.

Many of these applicants are recent graduates who tell me they are happy to apply for any sort of entry-level IT Support role. It’s good to be open to options but it’s also important to realise the importance of this career step.

At the risk of oversimplifying things, if you have strong software/database skills you should consider Application Support while if you have an interest in networks, systems and other infrastructure you should focus on Technical Support roles.

Application support roles

If you enjoy working with software and are keen to find a good application support job these are the most desirable skills employers will be on the lookout for:

  • SQL

  • Java

  • Front-end development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript)

  • .NET languages

Programming skills are not always required and positions in which candidates support CRM / ERP systems and proprietary software also fall into this bracket.

Application support job titles to look out for when applying for jobs include App Support, Software Support and Helpdesk Analyst.

Technical support roles

Entry-level roles for those interested in infrastructure careers usually include an element of internal or end-user support. The most sought-after skills for this IT career path are in Windows Server and Cisco technologies.

Further certifications in these areas really add weight to an application and many employers will offer educational assistance to help staff upskill.

Technical support job titles to look out for when applying for jobs include Technical Support, Desktop Support and Helpdesk Engineer.

SQL or Active Directory?

There are many areas of crossover between Application and Technical Support (as both require a general understanding of Operating Systems and how networks function) but SQL is rarely required for the former nor Active Directory for the latter…at least at entry-level.

Your future career

The perils of embarking on the wrong career path are obvious. You could spend years in a job that you don’t enjoy and potentially need to re-skill and make a career change later in life.

The most common career paths for Application Support Analysts include Software Developer, IT Consultant and Business Analyst.

For Technical Support Engineers common career paths include Systems Administrator, Network Engineer and IT Manager.

For new graduates who are eager to pay off student loans, the distinctions above are not always the most relevant but in an ever-expanding IT market where skilled technology professionals are in high demand, they are worth considering when job searching.

Interested in application support or technical support jobs?

If you’re looking for a job in the technology sector get in touch with one of specialist technology & IT recruiters who recruit across all levels of IT roles including Analysts, Business intelligence/Big Data, Database Managers, Designers, Developers, Security Specialists, Software Engineers, UX/UI and Technical Support jobs.