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Become A Computer Specialist

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Working As A Computer Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $73,131

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Specialist 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 Specialist

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 Specialist jobs

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Computer Specialist Career Paths

Computer Specialist
Computer Technician Technician Specialist
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Project Manager Program Manager
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Network Administrator Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Windows System Administrator Senior System Administrator
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Program Manager General Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Business Analyst Product Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Computer Technician Technical Support Specialist Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Engineer Sales Engineer
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Business Analyst Product Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Sales Consultant Solution Specialist
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Systems Specialist 4.2 years
PC Coordinator 3.8 years
Staff Specialist 3.7 years
MIS Specialist 3.3 years
Computer Analyst 3.3 years
Network Technician 3.1 years
Systems Support 3.1 years
Computer Repairer 3.1 years
Computer Engineer 3.0 years
PC Support Analyst 3.0 years
Computer Networker 2.9 years
LAN Technician 2.7 years
PC Analyst 2.7 years
MIS Technician 2.7 years
MIS Assistant 2.7 years
Desktop Engineer 2.6 years
Specialist 2.5 years
Data Specialist 2.5 years
On-Site Technician 2.4 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Support Analyst 2.3 years
Computer Builder 2.3 years
Computer Assistant 2.2 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.1 years
Help Desk Engineer 1.8 years
Network Assistant 1.7 years
Junior Technician 1.6 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 4.5%
Technician 4.0%
Cashier 3.5%
Programmer 3.4%
Manager 3.3%
Top Employers After
Consultant 4.4%
Manager 3.4%

Computer Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

69.7%

Female

27.9%

Unknown

2.4%
Ethnicity

White

76.7%

Hispanic or Latino

11.0%

Asian

9.2%

Unknown

2.3%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.8%

French

7.0%

Portuguese

4.1%

Arabic

4.1%

Vietnamese

3.5%

German

3.5%

Mandarin

2.9%

Chinese

2.9%

Japanese

2.9%

Cantonese

2.3%

Hindi

1.7%

Russian

1.7%

Italian

1.7%

Swedish

1.2%

Korean

1.2%

Hebrew

1.2%

Marathi

0.6%

Hmong

0.6%

Wolof

0.6%

Bosnian

0.6%
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Computer Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.2%

University of Illinois at Chicago

11.3%

University of Maryland - University College

9.3%

Strayer University

8.4%

Northern Virginia Community College

5.9%

George Mason University

5.4%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.1%

Western Governors University

4.1%

Brigham Young University

3.4%

Webster University

3.2%

Troy University

3.2%

Pennsylvania State University

3.2%

George Washington University

2.9%

Anne Arundel Community College

2.9%

University of Maryland - Baltimore County

2.9%

Colorado Technical University

2.9%

Michigan State University

2.5%

Community College of the Air Force

2.5%

Prince George's Community College

2.3%

Old Dominion University

2.3%
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Majors

Computer Science

19.9%

Business

16.6%

Computer Information Systems

12.2%

Information Technology

9.8%

Electrical Engineering

4.4%

Computer Networking

4.0%

Management

3.6%

Information Systems

3.5%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Education

2.9%

Management Information Systems

2.8%

Computer Programming

2.3%

General Studies

2.3%

Computer Engineering

2.3%

Accounting

2.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.0%

Political Science

1.6%

Computer Systems Security

1.6%

Communication

1.5%

Graphic Design

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.0%

Other

23.2%

Masters

15.6%

Associate

14.1%

Certificate

4.6%

Doctorate

1.4%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Computer Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Computer Specialist Jean Martin Inc. Las Vegas, NV Jun 17, 2016 $125,000
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 3 Accenture LLP Lake Oswego, OR Jul 21, 2016 $123,050
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 3 Accenture LLP Wilmington, DE Dec 23, 2016 $120,000
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 3 Accenture LLP Sunnyvale, CA Apr 29, 2016 $118,830
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 4 Accenture LLP Stamford, CT Jan 22, 2015 $118,400
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 4 Accenture LLP Hartford, CT Jun 23, 2015 $116,802
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 3 Accenture LLP Pittsburgh, PA Sep 14, 2015 $115,000
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 4 Accenture LLP Phoenix, AZ Sep 24, 2015 $115,000
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 3 Accenture LLP New York, NY Mar 29, 2016 $114,000
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 4 Accenture LLP Addison, TX Sep 17, 2015 $113,901
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 4 Accenture LLP Plano, TX Jun 21, 2016 $113,901
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 4 Accenture LLP Huntingtown, MD Feb 17, 2016 $111,925
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 4 Accenture LLP Atlanta, GA Jan 07, 2016 $111,592
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 4 Accenture LLP Atlanta, GA Jun 27, 2016 $111,592
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Hillsborough, NJ May 28, 2015 $75,625
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Hillsborough, NJ Apr 16, 2015 $75,625
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Richmond, VA Feb 10, 2015 $75,600
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Cincinnati, OH Apr 29, 2016 $75,600
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Richmond, VA Sep 30, 2015 $75,600
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Richmond, VA Sep 28, 2015 $75,600
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Richmond, VA May 15, 2015 $75,600
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Oklahoma City, OK Jun 26, 2015 $68,640
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Middletown, NJ Jul 30, 2015 $68,600
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Austin, TX Jun 23, 2016 $68,578
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Austin, TX Apr 20, 2016 $68,578
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Austin, TX May 25, 2016 $68,578
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Austin, TX Jan 15, 2016 $68,578
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Austin, TX Jul 08, 2015 $68,578
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Austin, TX Feb 18, 2016 $68,578

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Top Skills for A Computer Specialist

ComputerHardwarePersonalComputersDataEntryCustomerServiceNetworkPrintersDeskSupportComputerSystemsTechnicalSupportSetupLan/WanRemoteWebWindowsNTInternetLaptopsActiveDirectoryMacUnixNovellNetwareWindowsXP

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Top Computer Specialist Skills

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Personal Computers
  3. Data Entry
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Handled installation, configuration and troubleshooting of microcomputer hardware, software applications and peripheral equipment.
  • Build, configure and repair Personal Computers (PC's) to include multimedia systems.
  • Performed weekly data entry tasks to maintain current database, and registered clients to receive groceries.
  • Recognized for outstanding quality of customer service with numerous IT departments and personal commendation from company vendors.
  • Configured and installed shared resources; network printers, network accessible scanners, workstations, tape backup and disaster recovery.

Top Computer Specialist Employers

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