Today, there are no offices without computers and networks, and there are no computers or networks without occasional technical issues. As an IT specialist, part of your job will include problem solving and troubleshooting, among other responsibilities. If you are a technical person who works well independently and has strong communication skills, this career path will connect you to many rewarding experiences.

Depending on the size of the organization and your position you may be called upon to do this for employees or clients. Your work may also vary between solving network problems or software and hardware issues. There are many types of issues that users may have from routine problems that have quick fixes to more complex ones that require a little more detective work. Read on to find out the questions that are necessary for efficient IT troubleshooting.

Questions to Define the Problem

During information technology college you might find out that some problems are very obvious or common, like the famous “blue screen of death,” a stop error in Microsoft Windows systems. However, other problems may require asking users questions to get to the root of the problem. The questions to begin productive troubleshooting include:

  • Are any other users in the office having the same problem?
  • What do you mean by “not working?”

The first question can help you figure out if it is a problem with an individual’s machine or software, or if it is a network problem. The answer to either question may prompt further questions. For example, are all of the cables plugged in? Or, have you tried rebooting the computer?

The Details Are Important

It may be surprising how often graduates of information technology programs remind people to check cables, or reboot. When the problem is not solved by plugging something back in or restarting a computer then you will need to gather more details. One of the biggest clues to the next step is the presence or absence of error messages.

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You may do IT support in person or over the phone and both require the same lines of questioning

If there is an error message it may be helpful to ask for a screenshot. Many IT experts have noted that users do not always relay error messages with total accuracy unless prompted with the question what does the message say exactly? If there is not an error message, then other questions may include have you had this issue before? And what actions or events happened before the problem occurred?

Solutions in Your Information Technology Career

When you make an investment in your information technology career you will be building momentum toward a successful future. The reason why you will be called upon to troubleshoot is because you will be the person on a team with the solutions.

One way to get to the solution is to try to recreate the problem. For example, if a user is having an issue where a program has crashed, you can ask them to repeat the actions that lead up to the crash. This may provide clues to the root cause as well as another opportunity to ask has this happened before, or to anyone else? Finally, it will be helpful to keep a record of problems so that you have solutions ready if the same problems occur. And if one problem repeats, be ready to do more investigating to come up with a permanent solution.

Looking for hands-on experience?

You career awaits.