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Become An Information Specialist

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Working As An Information Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $58,920

    Average Salary

What Does An Information 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 An Information 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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Information Specialist Jobs

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Information Specialist Career Paths

Information Specialist
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Program Manager General Manager
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Operations Manager Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Senior Manager Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Analyst Systems Analyst Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Consultant Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Manager Sales Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Analyst Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Specialist Project Manager Program Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Product Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Staff Specialist 3.7 years
Senior Specialist 3.7 years
Service Specialist 2.7 years
Specialist 2.5 years
Data Specialist 2.5 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 8.9%
Cashier 5.1%
Teller 4.5%
Volunteer 3.2%
Manager 3.2%
Consultant 3.1%
Secretary 2.9%
Teacher 2.7%
Specialist 2.6%
Assistant 2.5%
Top Employers After
Manager 5.5%
Consultant 5.4%
Specialist 4.5%
Volunteer 4.3%
Internship 4.3%
Cashier 3.5%
Owner 3.0%

Do you work as an Information Specialist?

Information Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

65.1%

Male

32.6%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

61.2%

Hispanic or Latino

15.0%

Black or African American

11.8%

Asian

8.3%

Unknown

3.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.2%

French

10.2%

Mandarin

4.5%

Chinese

4.2%

Russian

4.0%

Portuguese

3.1%

Japanese

2.8%

Italian

2.5%

German

1.7%

Cantonese

1.7%

Arabic

1.7%

Hindi

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Korean

0.6%

Czech

0.6%

Croatian

0.6%

Braille

0.6%

Tagalog

0.6%

Serbian

0.6%

Macedonian

0.6%
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Information Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.4%

University of Texas at Austin

7.2%

University of Maryland - University College

7.0%

Strayer University

6.1%

George Washington University

5.3%

Northeastern University

4.5%

University of Missouri - Columbia

4.3%

Florida State University

4.3%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.1%

George Mason University

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

3.9%

Georgia State University

3.9%

American University

3.7%

Wayne State University

3.7%

Michigan State University

3.7%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.7%

Texas State University

3.7%

Howard University

3.7%

University of Washington

3.3%

New York University

3.3%
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Majors

Business

25.3%

Computer Science

6.4%

Communication

6.0%

Psychology

5.7%

Health Care Administration

5.6%

Nursing

5.0%

Computer Information Systems

5.0%

Criminal Justice

4.2%

Accounting

4.1%

English

3.7%

Pharmacy

3.6%

Management

3.4%

Information Technology

3.2%

Political Science

3.0%

Marketing

2.9%

Library Science

2.8%

General Studies

2.6%

Liberal Arts

2.6%

Biology

2.6%

Library Science And Administration

2.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.3%

Masters

20.8%

Other

20.0%

Associate

9.9%

Certificate

4.5%

Doctorate

3.0%

Diploma

1.2%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Information Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Information Retrieval Specialist VOBA Solutions, LLC Revere, MA Dec 07, 2011 $260,875
Information Retrieval Specialist VOBA Solutions LLC Revere, MA Feb 02, 2013 $260,875
Information Retrieval Specialist VOBA Solutions LLC Revere, MA Feb 02, 2016 $260,875
Information Retrieval Specialist VOBA Solutions, LLC Revere, MA Feb 01, 2011 $260,875
Business Information Specialist ZS Associates, Inc. Princeton, NJ Feb 27, 2011 $170,000
Business Information Specialist ZS Associates, Inc. Princeton, NJ Jan 16, 2012 $127,000
Business Information Specialist Teksystems, Inc. Bloomington, IL Dec 10, 2016 $111,968
Lead Study Information Specialist Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. NJ Sep 22, 2016 $107,359
Business Information Specialist Consultant ZS Associates, Inc. Boston, MA Dec 13, 2011 $102,500
Risk Information Specialist II The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. Cleveland, OH Aug 06, 2012 $100,000
Lead Cross Study Information Specialist Bayer Healthcare LLC NJ May 16, 2016 $98,913
Business Information Specialist ZS Associates, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Dec 01, 2011 $98,800
Business Information Specialist ZS Associates, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 27, 2011 $83,000
Medical Information Specialist Parexel International Billerica, MA Dec 02, 2013 $83,000
Building Information Specialist We Work Management LLC New York, NY Jan 29, 2016 $80,000
Building Information Specialist We Work Management LLC New York, NY Jan 18, 2016 $80,000
Marketing Information Specialist Bank of America N.A. Wilmington, DE May 16, 2011 $79,206 -
$97,000
Information Specialist II FMC Technologies Inc. Houston, TX Jul 24, 2013 $77,875 -
$123,992
Geospatial Information Specialist Medical Science & Computing, LLC Beltsville, MD Jan 07, 2016 $67,000
Business Information Specialist Associate ZS Associates, Inc. Princeton, NJ Oct 01, 2011 $67,000
Poison Information Specialist Children's Hospital Corporation Boston, MA Jan 07, 2016 $66,560
Computer Information Specialist Kansas State University Manhattan, KS May 03, 2014 $66,310
Computer Information Specialist Kansas State University Manhattan, KS May 03, 2014 $64,229
Poison Information Specialist-Associate University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio, TX Jan 04, 2016 $63,000

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Top Skills for An Information Specialist

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  1. Data Entry
  2. Customer Service
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed a web portal and database system for customer information data entry.
  • Provided training support by phone to on site divisional assistants and customer service representatives.
  • Conducted peer review and training exercises based on developed standard operating procedures and client-provided technical processing protocols.
  • Maintain Patient charts Schedule appointments and make reminder phone calls Faxing/Filing documents to outside physicians
  • Directed patients to programs and organizations that would assist with access to health care and financial assistance.

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