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Become A Computer Support Technician

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Working As A Computer Support Technician

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $40,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Support Technician 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 Technician

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 Technician Career Paths

Computer Support Technician
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Consultant Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Consultant Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Network Administrator Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Systems Engineer Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Desktop Support Specialist
Level Senior Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Help Desk Analyst Systems Analyst
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Team Leader Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Systems Analyst Information Technology Consultant
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Consultant Senior Business Analyst
Implementation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Service Desk Analyst Service Desk Supervisor
Service Desk Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Help Desk Specialist Desktop Support Specialist
Senior Desktop Support Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Technical Support Engineer Technical Support Manager
Technical Support Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Information Technology Technician Service Desk Analyst
Incident Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Computer Support Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Systems Support 2.7 years
Top Careers Before Computer Support Technician
Cashier 4.4%
Internship 3.9%
Technician 3.1%
Top Careers After Computer Support Technician
Technician 2.9%
Cashier 2.7%

Do you work as a Computer Support Technician?

Computer Support Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

75.7%

Female

16.3%

Unknown

8.0%
Ethnicity

White

59.9%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

9.1%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.1%

French

7.0%

German

5.3%

Portuguese

4.4%

Chinese

3.5%

Russian

3.5%

Mandarin

2.6%

Korean

1.8%

Cantonese

1.8%

Japanese

1.8%

Greek

1.8%

Persian

1.8%

Tagalog

1.8%

Arabic

1.8%

Thai

1.8%

Italian

1.8%

Cheyenne

0.9%

Hindi

0.9%
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Computer Support Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

21.3%

Community College of the Air Force

7.8%

Kaplan University

7.5%

Strayer University

6.3%

University of Maryland - University College

5.1%

The Academy

4.8%

American InterContinental University

4.5%

Western Governors University

4.2%

Indiana State University

4.2%

University of Washington

3.6%

Arizona State University

3.3%

University of Utah

3.3%

Florida State University

3.3%

University of Houston

3.3%

Grand Rapids Community College

3.3%

Brigham Young University

3.0%

Central Washington University

3.0%

Ashford University

2.7%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

2.7%

Ohio State University

2.7%
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Majors

Computer Science

16.8%

Information Technology

14.2%

Computer Information Systems

13.6%

Business

11.8%

Computer Networking

8.5%

Electrical Engineering

6.0%

Computer Technical Support

3.9%

Computer Engineering

3.1%

Information Systems

2.8%

Criminal Justice

2.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.3%

Communication

1.9%

Management Information Systems

1.8%

Computer Systems Security

1.7%

Psychology

1.6%

General Studies

1.6%

Management

1.5%

Accounting

1.5%

Computer Programming

1.5%

Graphic Design

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.4%

Other

23.5%

Associate

23.0%

Masters

9.1%

Certificate

5.0%

Diploma

2.3%

Doctorate

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$40,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$26,000
Min 10%
$40,000
Median 50%
$40,000
Median 50%
$40,000
Median 50%
$40,000
Median 50%
$40,000
Median 50%
$40,000
Median 50%
$40,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Max 90%
Highest Paying City
Norwich, CT
Highest Paying State
Rhode Island
Avg Experience Level
2.6 years
How much does a Computer Support Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Computer Support Technician in the United States is $40,505 per year or $19 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $26,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $62,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Computer Support Technician?

Have you worked as a Computer Support Technician? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Computer Support Technician.

Top Skills for A Computer Support Technician

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Technical Support
  3. Network Printers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Audited, reviewed, developed and maintained documentation for installed computer hardware and software, including maintenance records and system configuration.
  • Functioned as a computer application designer/programmer, data analyst, and technical support specialist with comprehensive hardware and software expertise.
  • Provided classroom support for faculty using projectors & other AV equipment * Installed and configured network printers as required.
  • Developed problem solving and optimum trouble shooting abilities.
  • Requisitioned and installed new printers, laptops, PC's and other peripherals as required based on evolving customer needs.

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Top 10 Best States for Computer Support Technicians

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Colorado
  3. Alaska
  4. Connecticut
  5. New Jersey
  6. Virginia
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Delaware
  9. North Dakota
  10. Rhode Island
  • (361 jobs)
  • (1,065 jobs)
  • (93 jobs)
  • (493 jobs)
  • (1,121 jobs)
  • (1,898 jobs)
  • (1,140 jobs)
  • (120 jobs)
  • (170 jobs)
  • (143 jobs)

Top Computer Support Technician Employers

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