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Become A Computer Technical Specialist

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Working As A Computer Technical Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $54,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Technical 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 Technical 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 Technical Specialist Career Paths

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

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
MIS Specialist 3.3 years
Computer Assistant 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Computer Technical Specialist
Cashier 4.6%
Internship 4.2%
Specialist 3.8%
Supervisor 2.9%
Technician 2.9%
Top Careers After Computer Technical Specialist
Owner 5.8%
Technician 3.0%
Manager 3.0%

Do you work as a Computer Technical Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$54,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$34,000
Min 10%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
CorTech International
Highest Paying City
Kirkland, WA
Highest Paying State
Minnesota
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does a Computer Technical Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Computer Technical Specialist in the United States is $54,594 per year or $26 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $34,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $85,000.

Real Computer Technical Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Computer Technical Specialist Brillio, LLC Princeton, NJ Sep 02, 2015 $65,146
Computer Technical Specialist Brillio, LLC Redmond, WA Sep 02, 2015 $64,314
Computer Technical and Security Specialist Isoftstone, Inc. Kirkland, WA Sep 15, 2016 $63,190 -
$75,000
Computer Technical Specialitst Brillio, LLC Tampa, FL Sep 02, 2015 $63,086
Computer Technical Specialist Brillio, LLC Princeton, NJ Sep 02, 2015 $60,000
Computer Technical Specialist Brillio, LLC Ridgefield, NJ Sep 02, 2015 $60,000
Computer Technical and Security Specialist Isoftstone, Inc. Kirkland, WA Oct 26, 2015 $57,054
Computer Technical and Security Specialist Isoftstone, Inc. Kirkland, WA Sep 15, 2013 $56,014 -
$64,170
Computer Science Specialist-Building IT Program National Oilwell Varco, L.P. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2011 $55,000 -
$65,000
Technical Specialist/Computer Programmer MSI International, Inc. Tulsa, OK Sep 02, 2015 $50,000
Technical Specialist/Computer Programmer MSI International, Inc. Tulsa, OK Sep 04, 2015 $50,000
Technical Specialist/Computer Programmer MSI International Tulsa, OK Jul 25, 2014 $50,000

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Top Skills for A Computer Technical Specialist

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Technical Support
  3. Network Printers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Installed and configured microcomputer hardware and software; evaluated, determined and provided minor maintenance and repairs to hardware.
  • Provided analysis and technical support of technology issues.
  • Support and troubleshoot network connectivity including Switch/Hub patch panel, desktop security and network printers.
  • Installed and setup configurations of computer peripherals under various networks.
  • Provided personable and professional customer service, answered technical-oriented questions, and fostered a productive lab environment to maximize customer satisfaction.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Computer Technical Specialists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Delaware
  4. Alaska
  5. New Jersey
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Minnesota
  8. Colorado
  9. Virginia
  10. Connecticut
  • (569 jobs)
  • (1,271 jobs)
  • (131 jobs)
  • (102 jobs)
  • (1,033 jobs)
  • (139 jobs)
  • (871 jobs)
  • (825 jobs)
  • (2,120 jobs)
  • (397 jobs)

Computer Technical Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

68.1%

Female

21.9%

Unknown

10.0%
Ethnicity

White

59.1%

Hispanic or Latino

16.8%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

8.5%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

69.2%

French

7.7%

Chinese

3.8%

Japanese

3.8%

Greek

3.8%

Mandarin

3.8%

Arabic

3.8%

Russian

3.8%
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Computer Technical Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

20.7%

New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York

8.5%

University of Maryland - University College

7.3%

Lehman College of the City University of New York

6.1%

Syracuse University

3.7%

New York University

3.7%

Ashford University

3.7%

Saint Louis Community College

3.7%

Community College of the Air Force

3.7%

Georgia State University

3.7%

Pueblo Community College

3.7%

San Jose State University

3.7%

Georgia Perimeter College

3.7%

Mercy College - Dobbs Ferry

3.7%

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

3.7%

University of Houston

3.7%

Ashworth College

3.7%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.7%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.7%

University of Northern Colorado

2.4%
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Majors

Computer Information Systems

15.9%

Computer Science

14.8%

Business

14.5%

Information Technology

9.5%

Electrical Engineering

6.1%

Computer Networking

6.1%

Drafting And Design

3.1%

Information Systems

3.1%

Management

2.8%

Computer Technical Support

2.5%

Criminal Justice

2.5%

Computer Engineering

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.2%

Information Sciences

2.2%

Computer Systems Security

2.2%

Accounting

2.2%

Fine Arts

2.0%

Management Information Systems

2.0%

Psychology

2.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.5%

Other

23.9%

Associate

18.6%

Masters

11.4%

Certificate

5.4%

Diploma

1.1%

Doctorate

1.1%
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