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Become A Field Support Specialist

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Working As A Field Support Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $64,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Field 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 Field 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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Field Support Specialist Career Paths

Field Support 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 Consultant Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Store Manager Office Manager Account Manager
Client Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Store Manager Operations Manager Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Store Manager Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Quality Manager Production Manager
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Manager Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manager Production Manager Material Manager
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Business Development Manager Consultant/Project Manager
Implementation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Site Manager Support Manager
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Support Manager Help Desk Manager
Service Desk Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Shop Manager Dept Manager
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Administrator Analyst Systems Analyst
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Administrator Consultant Information Technology Consultant
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Administrator Business Analyst Information Technology Consultant
Senior Information Technology Specialist
8 Yearsyrs
Customer Service Manager Support Manager Help Desk Manager
Incident Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Field Support Engineer Network Engineer Senior System Administrator
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Field Support Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Senior Applications Engineer
Technical Support Senior Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Support Specialist 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Field Support Specialist
Internship 4.0%
Manager 3.3%
Consultant 3.0%
Top Careers After Field Support Specialist
Consultant 5.3%
Owner 4.3%
Manager 3.3%

Do you work as a Field Support Specialist?

Highest Field Support Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Field Support Specialist EMC Corporation New York, NY Mar 01, 2013 $87,500
Senior Field Support Specialist EMC Corporation New York, NY May 01, 2014 $73,674 -
$93,150
Technical Field Support Specialist Nova Biomedical New York, NY Oct 06, 2016 $65,270
Field Support Specialist Nova Biomedical New York, NY Dec 21, 2016 $60,299
Field Support Specialist Nova Biomedical New York, NY Jul 27, 2015 $60,000
Network Field Support Specialist City of Chaska Chaska, MN Oct 01, 2010 $39,749

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Top Skills for A Field Support Specialist

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Technical Support
  3. Remote Access
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed regular maintenance and repaired computer hardware.
  • Provided technical support for system functionality related to radio signal registration and panel programming in response to failed confirmation requests.
  • Identify Secure network access problems involving but not limited to remote certificate authentication and client remote access services.
  • Provide exceptional customer service by proactively contacting customer to resolve issues and to improve opportunity success rate.
  • Consulted with end-users to identify/resolve complex desktop related issues in a cost- effective manner.

Field Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

49.8%

Female

41.9%

Unknown

8.3%
Ethnicity

White

61.6%

Hispanic or Latino

14.7%

Black or African American

12.3%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.7%

Kurdish

5.9%

Vietnamese

5.9%

German

5.9%

Hmong

5.9%

Arabic

5.9%

Korean

5.9%
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Field Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

28.0%

Virginia Commonwealth University

8.0%

University of North Texas

6.0%

Pennsylvania State University

5.0%

Strayer University

5.0%

Northern Illinois University

5.0%

Capella University

4.0%

Averett University

3.0%

Ashford University

3.0%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.0%

Illinois State University

3.0%

Arizona State University

3.0%

College of DuPage

3.0%

Community College of the Air Force

3.0%

Lamar University

3.0%

West Virginia University

3.0%

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

3.0%

Kent State University

3.0%

University of Texas at Austin

3.0%

Cornell University

3.0%
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Majors

Business

31.3%

Information Technology

8.3%

Computer Science

7.6%

Computer Information Systems

6.7%

Communication

5.4%

Psychology

4.0%

General Studies

3.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.6%

Criminal Justice

3.6%

Management

3.1%

Electrical Engineering

2.9%

Accounting

2.9%

Counseling Psychology

2.2%

Finance

2.2%

Health Care Administration

2.2%

Marketing

2.2%

Computer Networking

2.2%

Nursing

2.0%

Project Management

2.0%

Education

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.6%

Other

20.6%

Associate

18.6%

Masters

12.1%

Certificate

4.9%

Diploma

2.1%

Doctorate

1.1%

License

0.1%
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