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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
  • $63,000

    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 Career Paths

Information Specialist
Consultant Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Consultant Manager Account Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Manager Project Manager
Product Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Account Manager
Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Manager
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Service Manager
Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Programmer Analyst Systems Engineer
Information Technology Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Business Analyst Project Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Programmer Analyst Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Analyst Office Manager Vice President
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Analyst Systems Analyst Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Analyst Business Analyst Senior Software Engineer
Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Technical Analyst Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Business Analyst Information Technology Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Project Leader Program Manager
Associate Director
8 Yearsyrs
Librarian Legal Assistant Support Specialist
Senior Support Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Program Analyst Systems Analyst
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Registered Nurse Clinical Research Coordinator
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Quality Assurance Analyst Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Information Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Data Specialist 2.6 years
Specialist 2.6 years
Support Specialist 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Information Specialist
Internship 8.7%
Cashier 8.5%
Volunteer 3.3%
Manager 3.0%
Secretary 2.9%
Assistant 2.8%
Consultant 2.6%
Specialist 2.5%
Supervisor 2.2%
Teller 2.2%
Teacher 2.2%
Top Careers After Information Specialist
Cashier 5.9%
Consultant 4.8%
Manager 4.5%
Internship 4.1%
Specialist 3.9%
Volunteer 3.7%
Owner 3.1%
Associate 2.7%

Do you work as an Information Specialist?

Information Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

59.9%

Male

30.1%

Unknown

10.0%
Ethnicity

White

61.1%

Hispanic or Latino

15.1%

Black or African American

12.1%

Asian

7.9%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.0%

French

9.6%

Chinese

4.4%

Russian

3.7%

Mandarin

3.5%

German

3.3%

Japanese

3.1%

Portuguese

2.8%

Italian

2.4%

Arabic

2.2%

Cantonese

1.3%

Hindi

0.9%

Korean

0.9%

Urdu

0.9%

Georgian

0.7%

Carrier

0.7%

Polish

0.7%

Vietnamese

0.4%

Malay

0.4%

Macedonian

0.4%
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Information Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.9%

University of Texas at Austin

7.6%

Strayer University

6.3%

University of Maryland - University College

6.1%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.8%

George Washington University

4.6%

Florida State University

4.3%

Ohio State University

4.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.0%

Miami Dade College

3.9%

Texas State University

3.9%

Wayne State University

3.6%

Arizona State University

3.5%

George Mason University

3.5%

Northeastern University

3.5%

University of Missouri - Columbia

3.4%

New York University

3.4%

American University

3.3%

University of Washington

3.3%

Florida International University

3.1%
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Majors

Business

26.1%

Health Care Administration

6.2%

Communication

6.0%

Psychology

6.0%

Computer Science

5.6%

Nursing

5.3%

Computer Information Systems

4.5%

Accounting

4.4%

Criminal Justice

4.2%

Pharmacy

3.8%

English

3.8%

Management

3.5%

Marketing

2.9%

Political Science

2.9%

Information Technology

2.9%

Library Science

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

Medical Assisting Services

2.4%

General Studies

2.4%

Biology

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.8%

Masters

19.5%

Other

19.4%

Associate

10.9%

Certificate

4.7%

Doctorate

3.0%

Diploma

1.4%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$63,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$39,000
Min 10%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$103,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
The PNC Financial Services Group
Highest Paying City
Bridgewater, NJ
Highest Paying State
New Jersey
Avg Experience Level
3.0 years
How much does an Information Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Information Specialist in the United States is $63,838 per year or $31 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $39,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $103,000.

Real Information Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Information Retrieval Specialist VOBA Solutions, LLC Revere, MA Feb 01, 2011 $260,875
Information Retrieval Specialist VOBA Solutions, LLC Revere, MA Dec 07, 2011 $260,875
Information Retrieval Specialist VOBA Solutions LLC Revere, MA Feb 02, 2016 $260,875
Information Retrieval Specialist VOBA Solutions LLC Revere, MA Feb 02, 2013 $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
Medical Information Specialist Parexel International Billerica, MA Dec 02, 2013 $83,000
Business Information Specialist ZS Associates, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 27, 2011 $83,000
Building Information Specialist We Work Management LLC New York, NY Jan 18, 2016 $80,000
Building Information Specialist We Work Management LLC New York, NY Jan 29, 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
Geospatial Information Specialist Medical Science & Computing, LLC Beltsville, MD Jul 01, 2016 $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

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Top Skills for An Information Specialist

  1. Customer Service
  2. Data Entry
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide customer service regarding application status and problem resolution to applicants via written correspondence and/or phone inquiries on weekly basis.
  • Developed a web portal and database system for customer information data entry.
  • Developed procedures eliminating non-fixed contract to fixed contracts to increase amount of money paid to participants.
  • Performed telephone calls for personal references.
  • Provided emotional support, sharing mental illness and recovery information, and offering referrals to community resources.

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Top 10 Best States for Information Specialists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Alaska
  4. Rhode Island
  5. New York
  6. Delaware
  7. Minnesota
  8. Virginia
  9. Colorado
  10. Connecticut
  • (603 jobs)
  • (1,257 jobs)
  • (106 jobs)
  • (147 jobs)
  • (1,685 jobs)
  • (120 jobs)
  • (846 jobs)
  • (1,823 jobs)
  • (790 jobs)
  • (402 jobs)

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