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Become A Contractor/Technician

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Working As A Contractor/Technician

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $73,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Contractor/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 Contractor/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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Contractor/Technician Career Paths

Contractor/Technician
Information Technology Manager Senior Manager
Accounting Director
11 Yearsyrs
Field Engineer Application Engineer
Application Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Operations Director
Board Of Directors Member
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Account Manager
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Operations Manager
Business Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Product Management Director
Chief Product Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Service Manager
Client Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Engineer Building Engineer
Configuration Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Infrastructure Analyst Desktop Support Analyst
Desktop Support Contractor
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Senior Project Manager
Director Program Management
12 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Owner
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Infrastructure Analyst Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Network Technician
Network Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Project Manager
Program/Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Field Service Technician
Regional Service Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Information Technology Manager
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
14 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Lead Technician
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Contractor/Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Network Technician 3.1 years
MIS Technician 2.6 years
Systems Support 2.6 years
Server Technician 2.1 years
Junior Technician 1.6 years
Top Careers Before Contractor/Technician
Technician 12.3%
Internship 6.2%
Consultant 4.0%
Owner 2.8%
Manager 2.8%
Top Careers After Contractor/Technician
Technician 11.5%
Owner 4.0%
Consultant 4.0%

Do you work as a Contractor/Technician?

Contractor/Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

75.5%

Female

22.1%

Unknown

2.4%
Ethnicity

White

61.3%

Hispanic or Latino

15.4%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

7.7%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.0%

French

11.1%

German

3.7%

Cheyenne

3.7%

Portuguese

2.5%

Chinese

2.5%

Japanese

2.5%

Carrier

2.5%

Cantonese

2.5%

Mandarin

2.5%

Italian

2.5%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Braille

1.2%

Greek

1.2%

Polish

1.2%

Arabic

1.2%
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Contractor/Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.8%

Strayer University

9.4%

Austin Community College

5.9%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

5.3%

University of Texas at Austin

5.3%

University of Houston

5.3%

More Tech Institute

5.3%

Pennsylvania State University

4.7%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.1%

University of North Texas

3.5%

Macomb Community College

3.5%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.5%

American InterContinental University

3.5%

Camden County College

3.5%

University of Memphis

3.5%

Arkansas State University

2.9%

National University

2.9%

Wayne State University

2.9%

Park University

2.9%

Illinois Institute of Technology

2.9%
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Majors

Business

17.5%

Computer Science

10.4%

Electrical Engineering

10.3%

Computer Information Systems

9.5%

Information Technology

9.3%

Computer Networking

6.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.6%

Criminal Justice

3.4%

Mechanical Engineering

3.1%

General Studies

2.8%

Management Information Systems

2.7%

Management

2.6%

Accounting

2.5%

Communication

2.4%

Liberal Arts

2.1%

Biology

2.1%

Computer Engineering

2.1%

Information Systems

2.1%

Drafting And Design

2.0%

Chemistry

2.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.1%

Other

26.1%

Associate

18.3%

Masters

10.2%

Certificate

6.2%

Diploma

2.0%

Doctorate

1.5%

License

0.5%
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Contractor/Technician?

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Top Skills for A Contractor/Technician

  1. PC
  2. Procedures
  3. Trouble Shooting
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Self-employed as a sub-contractor performing residential electrical and small business PC network installations.
  • Conducted market research procedures in order to assist regional office with solicitations and bids exceeding local threshold.
  • Anticipated areas for restrictions and possible interference; developed trouble shooting methods; conveyed information to multidisciplinary user groups.
  • Configured outlook profiles and installed network printers to ensure functioning work environment.
  • Assisted the help-desk building an escalated schedule to upgrade all desktops and laptops to Windows 7 in Seattle.

How Would You Rate Working As a Contractor/Technician?

Are you working as a Contractor/Technician? Help us rate Contractor/Technician as a Career.

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