IT service desk technician

In the NHS, IT service desk technicians help to maintain digital devices, services, and systems across the health service. They provide front-line support and advice to make sure technical problems with hardware, software, and computer networks are resolved at first contact.

Starting your career

Subject choices

To become an IT service desk technician, you’ll need a good standard of education. There are no specific entry requirements, but useful subjects include:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Administration and IT
  • Computing Science
  • Physics
  • Practical Electronics

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some experience of working in healthcare by doing a work placement. There may also be opportunities to volunteer. This could help you when applying to university, college, or a new job with NHSScotland.

College and university

If you decide to go to college or university, you can do an HND in Computing: Technical Support or a degree in Computing. Many Scottish colleges and universities deliver courses in these areas. You should check specific entry requirements before applying.

Widening participation supports adult learners who want to go to university. If you’re an adult with few or no qualifications, you could get into higher education through the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP). Many universities also provide access programmes to help you get the degree entry qualifications you need.

Search for college or university courses on My World of Work.


Foundation Apprenticeships

A Foundation Apprenticeship in hardware and system support could give you the skills, knowledge, and work experience you need to start your career journey as an IT service desk technician.

Find out more about the Foundation Apprenticeship in IT: Hardware and System Support.

Modern Apprenticeships

You could start or continue developing your career working on a digital service desk with a Modern Apprenticeship. Relevant Modern Apprenticeships for this role include:

The role

IT service desk technicians provide support to people who need help with their computer hardware or software. They are vital to the running of the health service as they:

  • make sure digital software, devices, and technologies are maintained and up to date
  • assist in the maintenance of computer equipment
  • communicate with ICT service users to diagnose and fix problems
  • track and update help desk tickets and adhere to ITIL practices
  • set up video conferencing systems

What you’ll do

Tasks include:

  • getting information from service users about their hardware, software, or network problem
  • diagnosing and fixing technical issues
  • tracking, updating, and resolving helpdesk tickets
  • helping people to set up new devices such as laptops, headsets, and smartphones
  • servicing equipment like laptops, telephone systems, networks, and video conferencing systems

You could also be involved in the implementation and commissioning of new equipment in the NHS. This will include:

  • undertaking acceptance tests, installation, programme loading
  • commissioning of computer and data communications equipment
  • keeping records of work undertaken, including entry of information into the computerised asset management system
  • participating in demonstrating the use of computer equipment to staff

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • communication
  • teamworking
  • problem-solving
  • customer service
  • attention to detail
  • decision-making
  • using technology

Who you’ll work with

IT service desk technicians usually work in a team including:

  • network administrator
  • systems administrator
  • security analyst
  • service desk team lead
  • service desk manager

Working environment

IT service desk technicians work in an office, or remotely.

Learning and development

You will be encouraged to develop your career while working in the NHS. With further education and training, you could progress to senior roles such as a service desk team lead or service desk manager.

Professional bodies

IT service desk technicians can join the following organisations: