This article is Chapter 1 in the CompTIA A+ certification course on Alison.com that teaches IT Professional Soft Skills.
Troubleshooting & Problem Identification
Problem Solving - Create a hypothesis and evaluate the hypothesis
You want to be able to complete the following as quickly and efficiently as possible in the IT field:
- Identification of the problem
- Google/AI searching hardware-related makes, models, and other keywords.
- Always use the BEST methods available
- What could be wrong based on signs and problems
- Gather info from the user to get the scope of the problem
- Ask user open-ended questions to lead you down the correct path
- Any changes they noticed
- Establishing a probable cause
- Inspect all problems that could be related to the root issue
- Testing to determine the cause
- You may need to test multiple problems that could also be related to troubleshooting the main overall issue
- Establish a plan to resolve the problem
- Come up with steps from A - Z to resolve an issue
- Implement your solution
- Proceed to carry out your plan
- Verify functionality and implement preventive measures
- Make sure your overall problem is resolved and is working satisfactorily for the user.
- Include protective and preventative measures to make sure the issue is unlikely to occur in the future.
- Document your results
- Maintaining good documentation records helps you stay organized and be more efficient.
*** ### Pro Tip *** - Creating documentation describing how to fix the not-so-frequent problems can help save you time in the future.
This is a cyclical process, any steps that do not succeed require you to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Problem Analysis and Potential Causes
• Determine the scope of problems
- Questioning customer
- May range from one issue to many
• Identify changes to the computer
- Ask the customer if they have updated or installed anything recently.
- Ask the customer if they’ve changed their location recently
• Break problems into smaller pieces
- Sometimes solving smaller issues one by one will lead to solving the overall issue
• Prioritize problems in the order they should be tested
- Break down which issues could be causing others and choose the issue that makes the most sense to solve first before attempting others.
• Look for the obvious
- Are all cords plugged in
- Other simple solutions that could resolve the larger issue
• Backup files and settings
- Always backup settings and files before trying to fix the problem
- Burn disk images if necessary
• Test one problem at a time
- Make small changes and test each one so you can narrow down causes and effects, reverting to small changes if they didn’t work.
• Test all related components
- Test related items to the issue you’re resolving to guarantee functionality before delivery
• Evaluate all results
• What can you do to improve and prevent future occurrence?
• Don’t have to know it all - but do know where to turn
• Manufacturer and vendor manuals
• Vendor websites
• IT knowledge bases
• Vendor training
• Documentation from equipment service
• Internet IT resources
Communication and Professionalism
• Listen closely to the customer and do not interrupt
• Speak clearly and concisely
• Clarify any questions you may have
• Avoid technical talk
• Use open-ended questions to solicit information
• Dress for success
• Have a positive attitude
• Exude confidence
• Be confidential and private
• Be respectful
Extra Professionalism & Communication Tips
• Excellent customer service
• Open-ended questions to get the most details from the customer
• Keep workstations and equipment neatly arranged and organized
• Keep safety and environmental information available
• Stick to timelines
• Keep positive attitudes
• Stick to your costs structure
• Work confidentially
• Be the go-to guy or gal as an IT professional
• Keeping cables bound
• Can do attitude
• Share info with customers on basic products
• Keep your consultation in simple language
• Document your work with customers
You can find a full free course preparing you for the CompTIA A+ exam here: https://alison.com/courses/comptia-a-1000-part-1/
Authored By Is-Rael Landes
Is-Rael Landes, a good man living on the earth, loving making website, teaching others and coding.