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Become A Computer Aide

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Working As A Computer Aide

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $47,333

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Aide Do

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Some, called computer network support specialists, support information technology (IT) employees within their organization. Others, called computer user support specialists, assist non-IT users who are having computer problems.

Duties

Computer network support specialists typically do the following:

  • Test and evaluate existing network systems
  • Perform regular maintenance to ensure that networks operate correctly
  • Troubleshoot local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Internet systems

Computer network support specialists, also called technical support specialists, usually work in their organization’s IT department. They help IT staff analyze, troubleshoot, and evaluate computer network problems. They play an important role in the routine maintenance of their organization’s networks such as performing file backups on the network. Maintenance can be performed daily, weekly, or monthly and is important to an organization’s disaster recovery efforts. Solving an IT problem promptly is important because organizations depend on their network systems. Network support specialists may assist the organization’s computer users through phone, email, or in-person visits. They often work under network and computer systems administrators, who handle more complex tasks.

Computer user support specialists typically do the following:

  • Pay attention to customers’ descriptions of their computer problems
  • Ask customers questions to properly diagnose the problem
  • Walk customers through the recommended problem-solving steps
  • Set up or repair computer equipment and related devices
  • Train users to work with new computer hardware or software, such as printers, word-processing software, and email
  • Provide other team members and managers in the organization with information about what gives customers the most trouble and about other concerns customers have

Computer user support specialists, also called help-desk technicians, usually provide technical help to non-IT computer users. They respond to phone and email requests for help. They can usually help users remotely, but they also may make site visits so that they can solve a problem in person.

Help-desk technicians may solve a range of problems that vary with the industry and the particular firm. Some technicians work for large software companies or for support service firms and must give instructions to business customers on how to use business-specific programs such as an electronic health records program used in hospitals or physicians’ offices. Sometimes they work with other technicians to resolve problems.

Other help-desk technicians work in call centers, answering simpler questions from non-business customers. They may walk customers through basic steps in re-establishing an Internet connection or troubleshooting household IT products such as a Wi-Fi router.

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How To Become A Computer Aide

Because of the wide range of skills used in different computer support jobs, there are many paths into the occupation. A bachelor’s degree is required for some computer support specialist positions, but an associate’s degree or postsecondary classes may be enough for others.

Education

Education requirements for computer support specialists vary. Computer user support specialist jobs require some computer knowledge, but not necessarily a postsecondary degree. Applicants who have taken some computer-related classes are often qualified. For computer network support specialists, many employers accept applicants with an associate’s degree, although some prefer applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

Large software companies that provide support to business users who buy their products or services often require a bachelor’s degree. Positions that are more technical are likely to require a degree in a field such as computer science, engineering, or information science, but for others, the applicant’s field of study is less important.

To keep up with changes in technology, many computer support specialists continue their education throughout their careers.

Certification

Certification programs are generally offered by vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates the knowledge of and best practices required by computer support specialists. Companies may require their computer support specialists to hold certifications in the products the companies use.

Advancement

Many computer support specialists advance to other information technology positions, such as network and computer systems administrators and software developers. Some become managers in the computer support services department. Some organizations provide paths for support specialists to move into other parts of the organization, such as sales. For more information, see the profiles on network and computer systems administrators and software developers.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Computer support specialists must be patient and sympathetic. They must often help people who are frustrated with the software or hardware they are trying to use.

Listening skills. Support workers must be able to understand the problems that their customers are describing and know when to ask questions to clarify the situation.

Problem-solving skills. Support workers must identify both simple and complex computer problems, analyze them, and solve them.

Speaking skills. Support workers must describe the solutions to computer problems in a way that a nontechnical person can understand.

Writing skills. Strong writing skills are useful for preparing instructions and email responses for employees and customers, as well as real-time web chat interactions.

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Computer Aide Videos

How Computers Work: Information (Part I)

iExplore Computer Aided Design career video

Computer Aid International

Computer Aide Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Computer Analyst 3.2 years
Computer Engineer 3.1 years
Computer Aide 3.0 years
Computer Assistant 2.4 years
Technical Aide 2.4 years
Aide 1.8 years
Top Careers Before Computer Aide
Clerk 6.3%
Cashier 6.3%
Internship 5.3%
Volunteer 4.2%
Consultant 4.2%
Secretary 4.2%
Aide 4.2%
Hostess 3.2%
Waitress 3.2%
Teacher 3.2%
Top Careers After Computer Aide
Internship 9.0%
Cashier 4.8%
Aide 3.4%
Teacher 2.8%
Technician 2.8%

Do you work as a Computer Aide?

Computer Aide Demographics

Gender

Female

51.2%

Male

47.5%

Unknown

1.3%
Ethnicity

White

59.9%

Hispanic or Latino

16.4%

Black or African American

12.6%

Asian

7.7%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

70.0%

Thai

10.0%

Persian

10.0%

Japanese

10.0%
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Computer Aide Education

Schools

ECPI University

14.0%

University of Illinois at Chicago

10.5%

Pima Community College

7.0%

Old Dominion University

7.0%

New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York

5.3%

Liberty University

5.3%

Pace University - New York

5.3%

California State University - Los Angeles

3.5%

University of Kentucky

3.5%

Temple University

3.5%

Briarcliffe College

3.5%

Trident Technical College

3.5%

University of South Alabama

3.5%

City College of New York of the City University of New York

3.5%

University of Iowa

3.5%

State University of New York at Binghamton

3.5%

Cornell University

3.5%

George Mason University

3.5%

University of New Mexico

3.5%

Beacon College

3.5%
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Majors

Computer Science

18.5%

Computer Information Systems

11.9%

Business

9.6%

Criminal Justice

5.2%

Electrical Engineering

4.4%

Information Technology

4.4%

Graphic Design

4.4%

General Studies

3.7%

Elementary Education

3.7%

Health Care Administration

3.7%

Computer Applications

3.7%

Information Systems

3.7%

Fine Arts

3.0%

Management

3.0%

Biology

3.0%

Liberal Arts

3.0%

Psychology

3.0%

Computer Networking

3.0%

Accounting

3.0%

Kinesiology

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.2%

Other

20.5%

Associate

15.8%

Masters

12.8%

Certificate

3.0%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.9%
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Computer Aide Videos

How Computers Work: Information (Part I)

iExplore Computer Aided Design career video

Computer Aid International

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Top Skills for A Computer Aide

  1. Computer Lab Class
  2. Computer
  3. Windows XP
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained computer workstations and peripherals including all technology systems in two elementary schools and assisted at two high schools.
  • Performed preventative maintenance on systems including system upgrades and hardware/software troubleshooting.
  • Developed graphical presentations for meetings and handled technical support problems.
  • Assist patrons with email, Microsoft software, Norfolk Public Library system databases and internet.
  • Provide student support and customer service.

How Would You Rate Working As a Computer Aide?

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Computer Aide Videos

How Computers Work: Information (Part I)

iExplore Computer Aided Design career video

Computer Aid International

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