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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
  • $68,659

    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 Career Paths

Computer Specialist
Information Technology Specialist Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Computer Technician Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Analyst Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Lead Technician Technical Support Specialist
Help Desk Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Lead Technician Technical Support Specialist
Information Technology Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Network Technician Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Support Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Support Specialist
Senior Support Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Network Administrator Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Technical Support Specialist Technical Support Engineer
Technical Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Analyst Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Computer Technician Technician Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Technical Support Engineer
Technical Support Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Computer Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Systems Specialist 4.1 years
MIS Specialist 3.2 years
Computer Analyst 3.2 years
Computer Assistant 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Computer Specialist
Internship 5.1%
Programmer 3.9%
Technician 3.8%
Manager 3.7%
Cashier 3.6%
Consultant 3.3%
Top Careers After Computer Specialist
Consultant 4.6%
Manager 3.2%

Do you work as a Computer Specialist?

Computer Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

69.5%

Female

28.0%

Unknown

2.5%
Ethnicity

White

58.2%

Hispanic or Latino

15.4%

Black or African American

12.4%

Asian

9.5%

Unknown

4.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.2%

French

8.4%

Portuguese

3.9%

German

3.9%

Arabic

3.9%

Vietnamese

3.2%

Japanese

3.2%

Mandarin

2.6%

Russian

2.6%

Cantonese

2.6%

Chinese

2.6%

Italian

1.9%

Hindi

1.3%

Swedish

0.6%

Marathi

0.6%

Hmong

0.6%

Korean

0.6%

Hebrew

0.6%

Wolof

0.6%

Turkish

0.6%
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Computer Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.4%

University of Illinois at Chicago

11.5%

University of Maryland - University College

9.8%

Strayer University

8.8%

Northern Virginia Community College

5.9%

George Mason University

4.9%

Western Governors University

4.2%

Brigham Young University

3.4%

Troy University

3.4%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.2%

Webster University

3.2%

University of Maryland - Baltimore County

3.2%

George Washington University

2.9%

Pennsylvania State University

2.9%

Colorado Technical University

2.9%

Prince George's Community College

2.5%

Community College of the Air Force

2.5%

Old Dominion University

2.5%

Northern Arizona University

2.5%

New Mexico State University

2.5%
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Majors

Computer Science

20.2%

Business

16.7%

Computer Information Systems

12.6%

Information Technology

10.2%

Electrical Engineering

4.2%

Computer Networking

3.7%

Management

3.5%

Information Systems

3.4%

Management Information Systems

2.9%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Education

2.6%

Computer Engineering

2.4%

General Studies

2.3%

Computer Programming

2.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.0%

Accounting

2.0%

Political Science

1.7%

Computer Systems Security

1.6%

Psychology

1.4%

Project Management

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.2%

Other

23.0%

Masters

15.9%

Associate

13.7%

Certificate

4.8%

Doctorate

1.4%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.1%
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Computer Specialist Videos

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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 Plano, TX Jun 21, 2016 $113,901
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 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 Apr 16, 2015 $75,625
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 Richmond, VA Sep 30, 2015 $75,600
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Richmond, VA Jan 26, 2015 $75,600
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Richmond, VA Jun 23, 2015 $75,600
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Mason, OH Jul 09, 2016 $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 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 Jan 15, 2016 $68,578
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Austin, TX Jan 28, 2016 $68,578
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Austin, TX Feb 08, 2016 $68,578
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Austin, TX Dec 07, 2016 $68,578
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Austin, TX Feb 18, 2016 $68,578
Computer Specialist/Testing and Quality Analyst 2 Accenture LLP Austin, TX Apr 03, 2016 $68,578

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Top Skills for A Computer Specialist

  1. Computer
  2. Personal Computers
  3. Technical Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed and performed Database Administration for a major Government procurement system implemented on Tandem computer mainframes.
  • Repaired and maintained all personal computers owned and operated by Galaxy Scientific.
  • Provided technical support for the development of consolidated information resources procurement and contracts.
  • Performed various duties including data entry and maintenance of information for Nutrition Services Department and preparation of monthly reports.
  • Performed in-home software and hardware on Windows XP/Vista/7 computers and related electronics.

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Top 10 Best States for Computer Specialists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Maryland
  3. Virginia
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Ohio
  7. Georgia
  8. Texas
  9. Nebraska
  10. Alaska
  • (539 jobs)
  • (955 jobs)
  • (1,796 jobs)
  • (1,366 jobs)
  • (1,134 jobs)
  • (1,114 jobs)
  • (1,029 jobs)
  • (2,346 jobs)
  • (185 jobs)
  • (100 jobs)

Top Computer Specialist Employers

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Jobs From Top Computer Specialist Employers

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