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Become An Information Technology Contractor

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Working As An Information Technology Contractor

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $48,620

    Average Salary

What Does An Information Technology Contractor 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 Technology Contractor

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 Technology Contractor jobs

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Information Technology Contractor Career Paths

Information Technology Contractor
Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Infrastructure Analyst Information Technology/Support Technician Information Technology Manager
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Administrator Systems Engineer Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Service Manager General Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Representative Network Administrator Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Technician Support Tier Information Systems Technician Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Administrator Network Engineer Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Infrastructure Analyst Technical Consultant Program Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Analyst Business Analyst Product Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Support Tier Technical Support Specialist Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Systems Engineer Operations Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Analyst Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Representative Sales Consultant Solution Specialist
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Systems Specialist 4.2 years
Technology Officer 3.7 years
LAN Analyst 3.4 years
Computer Analyst 3.3 years
Pc/Lan Analyst 3.3 years
Systems Support 3.1 years
Network Technician 3.1 years
PC Support Analyst 3.0 years
MIS Technician 2.7 years
PC Analyst 2.7 years
Desktop Engineer 2.6 years
Helpdesk Lead 2.5 years
Network Consultant 2.4 years
On-Site Technician 2.4 years
Support Analyst 2.3 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.1 years
Help Desk Engineer 1.8 years
Dell Contractor 1.2 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 3.8%
Consultant 3.5%
Top Employers After

Information Technology Contractor Demographics

Gender

Male

80.1%

Female

17.6%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

79.9%

Hispanic or Latino

9.4%

Asian

8.1%

Unknown

1.7%

Black or African American

0.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.1%

French

14.1%

German

7.0%

Cheyenne

5.6%

Mandarin

2.8%

Carrier

2.8%

Portuguese

2.8%

Arabic

2.8%

Cherokee

1.4%

Romanian

1.4%

Hmong

1.4%

Korean

1.4%

Danish

1.4%

Hawaiian

1.4%

Bosnian

1.4%

Armenian

1.4%

Russian

1.4%

Urdu

1.4%

Tagalog

1.4%

Italian

1.4%
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Information Technology Contractor Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

24.7%

Western Governors University

7.4%

Strayer University

5.6%

Kaplan University

5.6%

Florida State University

4.3%

University of Houston

4.3%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.3%

University of Cincinnati

3.9%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.9%

University of Texas at Austin

3.9%

University of South Florida

3.5%

University of Maryland - University College

3.5%

Carnegie Mellon University

3.5%

American InterContinental University

3.5%

Villanova University

3.0%

George Washington University

3.0%

Pennsylvania State University

3.0%

Georgia State University

3.0%

Community College of the Air Force

3.0%

DePaul University

3.0%
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Majors

Business

16.7%

Computer Science

14.3%

Information Technology

13.9%

Computer Information Systems

10.7%

Computer Networking

7.1%

Electrical Engineering

4.3%

Management Information Systems

3.6%

Management

3.3%

Information Systems

3.0%

Computer Systems Security

2.8%

Communication

2.7%

Criminal Justice

2.5%

Psychology

2.0%

Accounting

2.0%

Computer Technical Support

2.0%

Project Management

2.0%

Computer Engineering

2.0%

Education

1.7%

Finance

1.7%

Computer Applications

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.0%

Other

21.6%

Associate

16.2%

Masters

13.1%

Certificate

5.9%

Doctorate

1.9%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
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Top Skills for An Information Technology Contractor

ComputerHardwarePCDesktopSupportLaptopsNetworkPrintersCustomerServiceRemoteAccessSetupActiveDirectoryDataMigrationWindowsXPWebTroubleshootTechnicalSupportBackupEmailInformationTechnologyContractorSQLServerFinancialVPN

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Top Information Technology Contractor Skills

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. PC
  3. Desktop Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained computer hardware and their peripherals.
  • Support Windows 7 and Windows 10 PCs.
  • Provided services ranging from basic desktop support for a single PC to system administration services for medium sized businesses.
  • Rolled out several hundred new Dell laptops.
  • Set up wireless printers, including Konica Minolta Bizhub copier/printer/scanner and other smaller network printers.

Top Information Technology Contractor Employers

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