Technical support could be a great career choice for someone who likes problem-solving, working with their hands and tinkering, and helping people to resolve technical issues with laboratory equipment.
Typical Job Functions
Technical support professionals provide information about how to use a product. Technical service professionals maintain and repair laboratory instrumentation and equipment. Whether in a support or service capacity, they are the people to whom scientific researchers turn when they need help.
Both technical support and technical service require an in-depth knowledge of a particular class of products. These types of positions may also be called application scientists because they deal with practical applications of the company’s products.
Typical job duties of a technical support professional include:
- Helping customers decide which product is right for them
- Helping customers understand how to use a product
- Conducting training for customers and sales scientists
- Traveling to customer’s sites to install, maintain, diagnose, and repair instrumentation
- Providing feedback to product managers about product usage and possible enhancements
- Documenting preventative maintenance (PM) and repairs
- Repairing instruments that have been returned to the manufacturer
Technical support can often be provided via telephone or email; technical service usually requires travel to the customer’s site.
From entry-level technical support positions, many scientists move into technical sales, product management, business development, or marketing.
An associate’s or bachelor’s degree is sufficient for most technical support positions. Some companies require previous experience using their products, but most provide extensive training to technical service employees.
For more sophisticated products, a Ph.D. and prior experience using the equipment in a laboratory setting may be required.