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Become A Computer Support Specialist

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Working As A Computer Support Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $51,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Support 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 Support 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 Support Specialist jobs

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Computer Support Specialist Career Paths

Computer Support Specialist
Network Technician Project Manager Program Manager
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Senior Network Engineer Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Specialist Network Technician Operations Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Specialist Desktop Support Analyst Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Business Analyst Product Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Analyst Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Systems Engineer Sales Engineer
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Program Manager Business Development Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Systems Analyst Senior Project Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Business Development Manager Solution Specialist
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Technical Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Technician 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/Lan Analyst 3.3 years
MIS Specialist 3.3 years
Computer Analyst 3.3 years
Systems Support 3.1 years
Network Technician 3.1 years
Computer Repairer 3.1 years
Computer Engineer 3.0 years
PC Support Analyst 3.0 years
Computer Networker 2.9 years
MIS Technician 2.7 years
LAN Technician 2.7 years
PC Analyst 2.7 years
Desktop Engineer 2.6 years
Specialist 2.5 years
On-Site Technician 2.4 years
Computer Builder 2.3 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Support Analyst 2.3 years
Computer Assistant 2.2 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.1 years
Support 2.0 years
Support Associate 2.0 years
Help Desk Engineer 1.8 years
Network Assistant 1.7 years
Junior Technician 1.6 years
Top Employers Before
Technician 3.5%
Internship 3.0%
Top Employers After
Consultant 3.1%
Owner 2.9%

Computer Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

77.4%

Female

20.9%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

77.4%

Hispanic or Latino

11.1%

Asian

8.3%

Unknown

2.5%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.2%

French

8.2%

Chinese

5.9%

Arabic

5.9%

Portuguese

4.7%

German

4.7%

Mandarin

3.5%

Thai

2.4%

Navajo

2.4%

Hindi

2.4%

Telugu

1.2%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Cheyenne

1.2%

Khmer

1.2%

Kurdish

1.2%

Finnish

1.2%

Braille

1.2%

Urdu

1.2%

Carrier

1.2%

Japanese

1.2%
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Computer Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.8%

University of Maryland - University College

9.7%

Strayer University

6.5%

Western Governors University

6.0%

University of Central Florida

5.5%

Florida International University

5.1%

Community College of Philadelphia

4.6%

Temple University

4.1%

South Dakota State University

4.1%

Capella University

4.1%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.7%

Northeastern University

3.7%

Brigham Young University

3.2%

University of Kentucky

3.2%

ECPI University

2.8%

Southwestern Illinois College

2.8%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

2.8%

Pennsylvania State University

2.8%

Florida State University

2.8%

DePaul University

2.8%
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Majors

Computer Science

16.2%

Computer Information Systems

15.3%

Information Technology

13.0%

Business

12.4%

Computer Networking

7.7%

Electrical Engineering

5.2%

Management Information Systems

3.5%

Information Systems

3.5%

Computer Engineering

2.6%

Computer Technical Support

2.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.3%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Education

2.2%

Management

2.1%

Computer Programming

1.7%

Psychology

1.7%

Computer Systems Security

1.7%

General Studies

1.4%

Liberal Arts

1.4%

Communication

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.9%

Other

21.8%

Associate

19.8%

Masters

13.4%

Certificate

4.8%

Diploma

1.5%

Doctorate

0.8%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
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Real Computer Support Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Navision Computer Support Specialist Western Computer, Inc. Oxnard, CA Dec 04, 2015 $166,400
Computer Support Specialist Hewes Communications, Inc. New York, NY Sep 21, 2015 $120,000
Senior Computer Support Specialist Hewes Communications, Inc. New York, NY May 19, 2016 $120,000
Computer Specialist/System Support and Development Admin3 Accenture LLP Hopkins, MN Jul 30, 2015 $101,146
Computer Support Testing Specialist FEI.Com, Inc. Columbia, MD Aug 30, 2016 $100,000
Network and Computer Support Specialist Discovery Education Services Orlando, FL Aug 31, 2015 $97,573
Computer Support Specialist Encom J Inc. Islandia, NY Aug 26, 2016 $92,851
Computer Specialist/System Support and Development Admin3 Accenture LLP Alpharetta, GA Jun 29, 2015 $91,312
Computer Specialist/System Support and Development Admin3 Accenture LLP Groton, CT Jul 30, 2015 $90,646
Computer Support Engineering/Network Specialist Cyient, Inc. Atlanta, GA Jul 03, 2016 $90,000
Computer Support Testing Specialist FEI.Com, Inc. Columbia, MD Aug 23, 2016 $86,500
Computer Specialist/System Support and Development Admn 3 Accenture LLP Saint Louis, MO Jul 29, 2015 $85,592
Computer Specialist/System Support & Development Admin3 Accenture LLP Naperville, IL Jun 23, 2015 $85,072
Computer Specialist/System Support and Development Admin3 Accenture LLP Wilmington, DE Jul 31, 2015 $84,800
Computer Support Specialist Lori's Diner International Inc. San Francisco, CA Jul 28, 2016 $66,000
Computer Support Specialists Enterprise Network of New York Inc. New York, NY Apr 05, 2016 $65,500
Computer Support Specialists Enterprise Network of New York Inc. New York, NY May 04, 2015 $65,500
Computer Support Specialist Azar Sona Saeidi DMD Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 20, 2016 $65,042
Computer Support Specialist Unimundo Corporation Cincinnati, OH Jan 05, 2016 $65,000
Computer Support Specialist Ivy Enterprises Inc. Port Washington, NY Sep 24, 2015 $63,398
Computer Support Specialist Ivy Enterprises Inc. Port Washington, NY Mar 25, 2015 $63,398
Computer Support Specialist Zeta Compliance Technologies LLC Charleston, SC Jul 30, 2015 $53,373
Computer and Database Support Specialist Firstservice Residential Midatlantic, LLC Eatontown, NJ Sep 30, 2016 $53,030
Computer Support Specialist OSI Systems, Inc. Hawthorne, CA May 18, 2015 $52,562
Computer Support Specialist Peace Elementary School Austin, TX Jan 19, 2016 $51,716
Computer Support Specialist Peace Elementary School Austin, TX Jan 19, 2015 $51,695
Computer Support Specialist Peace Elementary School Austin, TX Jan 04, 2015 $51,522
Computer Support Specialist Webject Systems, Inc. Bridgewater, MA Sep 16, 2016 $51,000

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Top Skills for A Computer Support Specialist

ComputerHardwarePersonalComputersNetworkPrintersDeskSupportRemoteDesktopCustomerServiceTroubleshootActiveDirectorySetupTechnicalSupportLaptopsWindowsXPComputerSupportComputerSystemsMacLan/WanInternetWebUserAccountsTechnicalAssistance

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Top Computer Support Specialist Skills

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Personal Computers
  3. Network Printers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, installation, word processing and electronic mail.
  • Performed maintenance of personal computers and peripheral equipment, identifying problems and providing appropriate solutions.
  • Install, configure and troubleshoot network printers and other peripheral devices.
  • Provided help desk support for 2500 users nationwide.
  • Fixed various computer issues over the phone, through remote desktop or in person.

Top Computer Support Specialist Employers

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