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How to become an IT support engineer

To become an IT support engineer, you’ll need an HND in Computing: Technical Support or an equivalent qualification at SCQF level 8.

What is an IT support engineer?

In the NHS, IT support engineers 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 as an IT support engineer

Choosing subjects at school

To become an IT support engineer, you'll need a good standard of education. Useful subjects include:

  • Computing Science
  • Engineering Science
  • Administration and IT
  • Physics
  • English
  • Maths

Speak to your guidance teacher about subjects offered at your school.

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some healthcare experience by doing a work placement or volunteering. You’ll get training, increase your knowledge, and learn new skills. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland. 

Education and training pathway

Modern Apprenticeship

Some IT support engineers start their careers as Modern Apprentices. With a Modern Apprenticeship, you'll get the training and experience you'll need for the role and an industry-recognised qualification.

Modern Apprenticeship opportunities:

  • IT and Telecommunications
  • Digital Applications

Find out more about becoming an apprentice.

College courses

If you choose to go to college, you could do the following qualifications to learn some of the skills and knowledge needed for this role:

  • HND Computing: Technical Support at SCQF level 8 
  • HND Technologies in Business and SCQF level 8

You can then apply for vacancies on our recruitment website.

Course search

Search for college courses on My World of Work.

Get to know 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.

Tasks include: 

  • get information from service users about their hardware, software, or network problem
  • diagnose and fix technical issues
  • track, update, and resolve helpdesk tickets
  • help people to set up new devices such as laptops, headsets, and smartphones
  • service 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:

  • carry out acceptance tests, installation, and programme loading
  • commission computer and data communications equipment
  • keep records of work undertaken by updating the computerised asset management system
  • participate in demonstrating the use of computer equipment to staff

You'll need these skills:

  • communicating
  • sense making
  • adapting
  • collaborating
  • focussing

As an IT support engineer, you could work with: 

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

IT support engineers work in an office, or remotely.

Learning and development

You will be encouraged to develop your career in the NHS. As well as learning specific to your role, you'll need to complete mandatory training, including:

  • health and safety
  • occupational health
  • fire safety
  • counter-fraud
  • moving and handling
  • safe information handling

Your NHS employer will confirm their mandatory training requirements during your induction.

Career progression

You may also have the chance to study for additional qualifications, including:

  • ITIL Foundation Certificate
  • ITIL Practitioner Certificate

Gaining new qualifications will help you when applying for more senior roles, such as IT systems support specialist or IT business analyst.

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