IT Generalist Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of an IT generalist. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as an IT generalist.
Who is an IT Generalist?
The IT generalist is the person who maintains and optimizes the functionality of a company’s computer network. Essentially, these people are responsible for assisting employees and monitoring data on the network. In most cases, to enter this field, a person must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. Although an IT generalist can work in many areas, there are five main responsibilities for this position. These include training employees in the use of computer software, assisting employees with problems, monitoring security, overseeing recovery plans, and attending meetings.
One of the most basic parts of this job is training employees in computer software. As the IT generalist is an expert in his or her field, he or she is often responsible for showing the company’s employees how to use computer programs correctly. The amount of training usually depends on the responsibilities of the employees and the complexity of the computer programs. The IT professional must therefore adapt to the needs of the company in which he or she works. When major changes are made to existing software, the IT professional may also be responsible for familiarising employees with these changes. Therefore, it is useful to have excellent communication skills and to be able to give clear instructions.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the job is to help employees when problems arise. For example, an IT generalist may help an employee who is having technical difficulties with a piece of software. In this case, he or she will identify the problem and guide the employee through the steps necessary to solve it. While this is sometimes done in person, they often work remotely and communicate with employees by telephone or online correspondence.
At the same time, the person in this role may be responsible for monitoring the security of the network. This may involve setting security parameters that prevent hackers or unauthorized users from accessing information. It may also mean installing effective anti-virus software to prevent malware or spyware from damaging the network. In the event of a security breach, an IT professional may be required to resolve the situation. This aspect of the job requires someone who can make quick decisions and remain calm in stressful situations.
The IT professional is also sometimes required to participate in company meetings. During these meetings, he or she may discuss the current state of the company’s computer network and suggest potential improvement ideas to the department heads. Therefore, it is also important for a person in this position to be able to communicate and cooperate effectively with other people.
IT Generalist Job Description
Below are the IT generalist job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The duties and responsibilities of an IT generalist include the following:
- Providing customer service by answering questions and solving problems related to technology products.
- Providing technical support for computer networks, including troubleshooting network problems and resolving software issues.
- Designing, developing, and supporting new computer systems or applications for existing systems.
- Installing and maintaining hardware and software on computers and networks, including Microsoft Office applications and other productivity tools.
- Troubleshooting Internet Explorer, Adobe Creative suites, Microsoft Office suites, and other hardware and software applications.
- Maintaining the security of networked computer systems through measures such as firewalls, virus scanning, and intrusion detection systems.
- Providing technical support for computer equipment such as printers, scanners, and fax machines.
- Supervising the use of company computers and training employees in their effective use
- Recommending new technologies or processes to improve the effectiveness or efficiency of business operations.
- Coordinating with other IT professionals to ensure compatibility of new computer systems with existing systems.
- Managing the regular backup, storage, and retrieval of critical data.
- Providing daily server support to improve workflow.
- Maintaining and troubleshooting network printers, network firewalls, network servers, telephone systems, and other company network systems.
- Updating and maintaining anti-virus software on the network to ensure security and data protection.
- Resolving malfunctions and breakdowns of computers and other IT equipment.
- Managing the administration of user accounts, including email, remote access, etc.
- Assisting in the implementation and upgrade of computer systems for end users.
- Maintaining and resolving LAN/WAN connectivity issues.
- Providing application training to end users as required.
- Identifying and resolving technical issues to reduce downtime.
- Providing IT support and maintenance to end users.
- Monitoring the proper functioning and operating conditions of IT systems.
- Ensuring the efficient and optimal operation of all IT systems.
Other important tasks include:
- Installing new software and upgrading existing software
IT generalists keep the company’s systems up-to-date with the latest software. They evaluate system upgrades and new software, install and implement that software, test it to ensure compatibility, and resolve any problems with new or upgraded applications.
- Provide system support
IT generalists provide technical support to internal and remote users. This includes solving problems that first-level support staff has been unable to resolve, and troubleshooting specific system errors and problems. IT generalists also train technical support staff in the use of hardware and software related to the company’s systems.
- Establishing and maintaining network security
Maintaining network security is vital for businesses to ensure the smooth operation of their systems, and to this end, the IT department constantly monitors network security, evaluates existing security programs, updates anti-virus software, and performs scans to ensure good network security.
- Overseeing disaster response and recovery plans
Businesses must always be prepared for power outages, power surges, and other disasters that could negatively impact their data and IT systems. IT generalists create, implement, and maintain recovery plans to ensure that all critical information is preserved and can be recovered in the event of a disaster.
- Creating logs of update and maintenance activities
IT professionals typically keep a log of system updates and maintenance activities. They know when updates are available and need to be installed when maintenance is required and what improvements have been made to the IT infrastructure.
The following may be required to work as an IT generalist:
General computer professionals normally require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, software engineering, or a related field. Some employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree in computer science or information technology.
Training and experience
General IT generalists usually receive on-the-job training to become familiar with the specific systems and processes of a company. They may also receive training in the use of specific software or hardware.
Certifications and licenses
Certificates confirm a professional’s qualifications to current and future employers. General IT professionals can obtain certificates to gain a more practical understanding of their day-to-day responsibilities, test their professional skills, and advance their careers.
- Problem Solving
Problem-solving is the ability to identify and solve problems that may arise in a work environment. IT generalists often use their problem-solving skills when troubleshooting computer systems, as they may be required to find solutions to technical errors or software problems. It is also important to resolve problems quickly in the workplace to minimize disruption and ensure that business productivity is maintained.
Security is a key skill for IT professionals, as it involves protecting data and computer systems from malicious attacks. Generalists need to know about different security protocols, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems, to apply them effectively.
An IT generalist must have a basic understanding of storage systems, including hardware installation and configuration. This includes knowing the difference between cloud and local storage, and which types of storage are best suited to different applications. Generalists also need to know how to back up data in the event of a failure or breakdown.
Programming is the ability to create and modify computer applications. Generalists often use their programming skills to create automation scripts that can help them solve technical problems or automate repetitive tasks. Programming also allows generalists to create software that helps their business run more efficiently.
- Project Management
IT generalists need project management skills because they often work on several projects at the same time. Generalists oversee and manage all aspects of a project, including planning, scheduling, budgeting, recruiting and training employees, evaluating performance, and improving processes.
- Cloud computing
Cloud computing is a system of remote servers that store and process data. It allows companies to access their files from anywhere, which can be useful for IT professionals who work remotely or travel frequently. Cloud computing also allows you to use software applications on multiple devices without having to download them each time. This saves storage space and ensures that programs are always up to date.
Virtualization is the process of converting physical resources into virtual resources. It allows multiple operating systems to run on a single machine, which can help reduce hardware costs and improve security. IT generalists should have a basic understanding of virtualization to be able to solve the problems associated with it. You may also want to consider professional virtualization certifications, such as VMware Certified Professional-Virtualization (VCP) or Microsoft Virtualization Administrator (MCT).
IT generalists often work with people from diverse backgrounds, so they must be able to explain technical concepts in a way that non-technical people can understand. Strong communication skills also help generalists to collaborate with colleagues and provide feedback on projects.
Networking is the process of establishing relationships with people who can help you achieve your professional goals. IT generalists often need to connect with other IT professionals, so they must know how to network effectively. This means knowing what types of relationships are most beneficial and understanding how to make a good first impression.
How to Become an IT Generalist
- Earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for most IT generalist positions. A degree program in computer science or information technology (IT) will provide you with a solid foundation in programming, networking technology, and other relevant skills.
- Gain experience in several programming languages
Although an undergraduate program teaches you the basics of programming, it is important to gain experience in this field. You can do this by working as an intern or apprentice in a software company. This will allow you to learn advanced coding techniques and develop your skills.
After graduation, you can also consider freelancing. This will allow you to build up a portfolio of work that you can use to apply for generalist jobs.
- Develop strong problem-solving skills
As an IT generalist, you are likely to encounter problems that need to be solved. You need to be able to identify a problem and determine its cause before seeking a solution.
Strong communication skills are also important when working with customers or other team members.
You may work on projects with tight deadlines, so it is important to manage your time effectively while meeting project objectives.
- Understand network and security concepts
Networking and security concepts are important for IT professionals to understand, as they encompass different aspects of technology. Networking deals with the connection of multiple computers together so that they can share resources, while security deals with the protection of information on those computers from unauthorized access.
To better understand these concepts, take courses on networking and security during your undergraduate studies. You can also get certificates in these subjects to demonstrate your knowledge to employers.
- Become familiar with the different operating systems
Familiarising yourself with the different operating systems can help you understand how they work and their strengths and weaknesses.
Knowing more than one operating system can also help you find ways to solve problems that users have with their computer software. There are also circumstances in which an IT generalist will need to use a different operating system to solve a problem if the user’s current operating system is not working properly, therefore, it is important to be familiar with different operating systems.
- Keeping abreast of technological developments
Technology is constantly evolving, so it is important to keep abreast of new developments. You can do this by reading technology news and industry publications, attending conferences, and participating in online forums where people discuss technology topics.
Where to Work as an IT Generalist
IT generalists work in a wide variety of places, including large companies, small businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions. They usually work in well-lit, comfortable offices and spend most of their time in front of a computer screen. They may work long hours to meet deadlines or solve problems. Some IT generalists travel to different sites to provide on-site assistance or training.
IT Generalist Salary Scale
The average annual salary of an IT Generalist in the United States and Canada is $63,714 and $73,180 respectively. In the United Kingdom, the average annual salary of an IT Generalist is £48,381.