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Become A Computer System Specialist

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Working As A Computer System Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $65,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer System 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 System 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 System Specialist Career Paths

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

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Systems Specialist 4.2 years
Computer Analyst 3.4 years
Top Careers Before Computer System Specialist
Consultant 4.0%
Top Careers After Computer System Specialist
Consultant 3.8%
Manager 3.6%

Do you work as a Computer System Specialist?

Computer System Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

73.1%

Female

18.5%

Unknown

8.4%
Ethnicity

White

60.4%

Hispanic or Latino

17.0%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.9%

German

8.6%

Portuguese

5.7%

Arabic

5.7%

Swedish

2.9%

Chinese

2.9%

Mandarin

2.9%

Czech

2.9%

Armenian

2.9%

Russian

2.9%
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Computer System Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.6%

Community College of the Air Force

16.5%

Florida State University

8.8%

University of Maryland - University College

4.7%

Strayer University

4.7%

University of Central Florida

4.1%

University of Houston

4.1%

Western Governors University

4.1%

Florida Atlantic University

3.5%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.5%

Saint Leo University

3.5%

York Technical Institute

2.9%

Pennsylvania State University

2.9%

Excelsior College

2.9%

Purdue University

2.9%

Kaplan University

2.9%

Tallahassee Community College

2.9%

University of South Florida

2.4%

Michigan State University

2.4%

Herzing University

2.4%
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Majors

Business

15.3%

Computer Science

14.7%

Computer Information Systems

12.7%

Information Technology

11.9%

Electrical Engineering

6.1%

Management Information Systems

4.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.2%

Management

3.6%

Information Systems

3.6%

Computer Networking

3.4%

Computer Programming

2.7%

Accounting

2.7%

Education

2.0%

Computer Engineering

2.0%

Project Management

1.9%

Computer Systems Security

1.9%

Computer Technical Support

1.7%

Communication

1.7%

Criminal Justice

1.7%

Liberal Arts

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.2%

Other

23.3%

Associate

18.0%

Masters

15.6%

Certificate

3.2%

Diploma

1.2%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$65,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$44,000
Min 10%
$65,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Median 50%
$96,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Zebra Technologies
Highest Paying City
Santa Barbara, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.4 years
How much does a Computer System Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Computer System Specialist in the United States is $65,922 per year or $32 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $44,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $97,000.

Real Computer System Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
SR. Principal CAD Systems Specialist Houston Offshore Engineering, LLC Houston, TX Sep 01, 2014 $170,000
Computer Systems Specialist Bonitanetworks.com LLC Bonita Springs, FL Sep 19, 2011 $144,003
Network and Computer Systems Specialist Potomac Construction Co., Inc. Hyattsville, MD Jul 25, 2016 $104,000
Computer Systems Specialist Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. Lawrenceville, NJ Dec 01, 2011 $100,000 -
$143,000
SR. QA Computer System Specialist Forest Research Institute, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Apr 04, 2011 $99,822
Network & Computer Systems Specialist Potomac Construction Co., Inc. Hyattsville, MD Jul 25, 2013 $93,600
SR. Computer Systems Validation Specialist Fresenius KABI USA, LLC Lake Zurich, IL Dec 09, 2016 $87,000
Computer Systems Validation Specialist Lonza Walkersville, Inc. Walkersville, MD Aug 31, 2015 $85,000
Computer Systems Specialist (Systems Engineer) Infostep, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 15, 2010 $80,000
Computer Systems Specialist Paramount Software Solutions Alpharetta, GA May 05, 2016 $75,000
Computer Systems Validation Specialist The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA Apr 18, 2016 $75,000
Computer Systems Specialist (Systems Engineer) Infostep, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 01, 2010 $75,000
Computer Systems Implementation Specialist Sonora & Associates LLC Reston, VA Feb 23, 2016 $64,000
Computer Specialist-Content Management System Tekivy Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 15, 2016 $64,000
Network and Computer System Specialist Thai Chili, Inc. Washington, DC Mar 25, 2011 $63,669
Computer Systems Validation Specialist University of Miami-Miller School of Medicine Coral Gables, FL Oct 01, 2014 $63,639
Computer Systems Validation Specialist University of Miami-Miller School of Medicine Coral Gables, FL Jan 10, 2014 $63,639
Computer Systems Specialist Touro College New York, NY Oct 19, 2015 $63,086
Computer Systems Specialist Katcoll Enterprises, Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Mar 31, 2012 $62,860
Computer Systems Specialist Kevin & J Company Atlanta, GA Sep 20, 2013 $57,205
Compouter System Specialist Beautiy 4 U, Inc. Oxon Hill, MD Jan 11, 2013 $57,179
Network and Computer Systems Specialist E & J MacHine and Tool Company Ll Rockaway, NJ Oct 01, 2012 $55,306
Network and Computer Systems Specialist E & J MacHine and Tool Company LLC Rockaway, NJ Oct 01, 2012 $55,306
Computer Systems Specialist Trinuc LLC Houston, TX Sep 28, 2012 $55,000
Computer Systems Specialist Trinuc LLC Houston, TX Sep 23, 2012 $55,000
Computer System Specialist Jinny Beauty Supply Co., Inc. Doraville, GA Sep 20, 2010 $54,429

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Top Skills for A Computer System Specialist

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Windows XP
  3. Network Printers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Evaluated departmental needs and made recommendations for different computer hardware and software platforms to include implementation of these systems.
  • Provide documentation for standard procedures for Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 networking utilization and security.
  • Set up workstations, peripherals, network printers, resolving Microsoft Office software issues, and help maintain VoIP phone system.
  • Provided Garrison hardware technical support and served as LAN administrator for Regiment headquarters.
  • Developed automated procedures to maintain and update individual workstation software and configuration files.

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Top 10 Best States for Computer System Specialists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Delaware
  4. Alaska
  5. Maryland
  6. Rhode Island
  7. New Jersey
  8. Virginia
  9. Colorado
  10. Minnesota
  • (581 jobs)
  • (1,195 jobs)
  • (121 jobs)
  • (107 jobs)
  • (1,124 jobs)
  • (125 jobs)
  • (957 jobs)
  • (1,919 jobs)
  • (778 jobs)
  • (768 jobs)

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