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Become An Information Technology Professional

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Working As An Information Technology Professional

  • 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 Technology Professional 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 Professional

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 Professional jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Computer Analyst 3.3 years
Systems Support 3.1 years
Network Technician 3.1 years
Desktop Engineer 2.6 years
Network Internship 0.6 years
Top Employers Before
Manager 4.1%
Consultant 4.1%
Top Employers After
Consultant 5.1%
Owner 4.0%
Instructor 3.6%
Programmer 3.2%

Information Technology Professional Demographics

Gender

Male

75.0%

Female

23.1%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

75.6%

Hispanic or Latino

11.3%

Asian

10.5%

Unknown

1.9%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.1%

Portuguese

9.4%

German

6.3%

Swedish

3.1%

Japanese

3.1%

French

3.1%

Urdu

3.1%

Hindi

3.1%

Hebrew

3.1%

Mandarin

3.1%

Sindhi

3.1%

Arabic

3.1%

Italian

3.1%
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Information Technology Professional Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.5%

DePaul University

7.2%

Texas State University

6.2%

Texas A&M University

6.2%

University of Georgia

6.2%

Arizona State University

5.2%

Purdue University

5.2%

Colorado Technical University

5.2%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

4.1%

Metropolitan State University of Denver

4.1%

Community College of the Air Force

4.1%

University of Nevada - Reno

4.1%

University of Arizona

4.1%

University of Akron

3.1%

University of Alabama

3.1%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.1%

San Jose State University

3.1%

University of Maryland - University College

3.1%

Troy University

3.1%

University of Utah

3.1%
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Majors

Business

18.4%

Computer Science

16.9%

Information Technology

12.7%

Computer Information Systems

12.0%

Electrical Engineering

4.0%

Management

3.8%

Computer Engineering

3.8%

Management Information Systems

3.3%

Computer Networking

3.3%

Project Management

2.7%

Information Systems

2.7%

Criminal Justice

2.4%

Psychology

2.4%

Communication

2.2%

Finance

1.8%

Computer Technical Support

1.6%

Computer Programming

1.6%

Mathematics

1.6%

Accounting

1.6%

Political Science

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.3%

Other

19.2%

Masters

18.9%

Associate

10.4%

Certificate

5.0%

Doctorate

0.7%

Diploma

0.5%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Information Technology Professional Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
IT Security Professional II MUFG Union Bank, N.A. Jersey City, NJ Oct 12, 2016 $142,000
Information Technology Applications Professional IV Dresser-Rand Company Houston, TX Mar 12, 2015 $123,000 -
$128,000
RM Analyst/Information Technology Professional Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Sep 17, 2011 $116,100
IT Service Management Professional Siemens Corporation Orlando, FL Sep 30, 2016 $112,871
IT Professional Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Feb 25, 2011 $111,600
Senior Information Professional, Enterprise Data Hub Citizens Financial Group, Inc. Cranston, RI Feb 28, 2016 $110,000 -
$160,000
Software IT Professional Motorola Solutions Inc. Schaumburg, IL Dec 08, 2016 $109,618 -
$119,000
IT Senior Professional Chrysler Group LLC Auburn Hills, MI Dec 08, 2012 $108,720
IT Service Management Professional Siemens Corporation Charlotte, NC Feb 19, 2016 $107,382
Computer Software Programmers/Information Technology Professionals Greycell Labs Inc. Edison, NJ Jul 18, 2016 $105,000
Computer Software Programmers/Information Technology Professionals Greycell Labs Inc. Edison, NJ Jul 22, 2016 $105,000
Computer Software Programmers/Information Technology Professionals Greycell Labs Inc. Edison, NJ Jul 29, 2016 $105,000
Senior IT Security Professional Citizens Financial Group, Inc. Manchester, NH Jan 08, 2016 $88,200 -
$147,000
Information Professional RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc. Medford, MA Nov 12, 2013 $86,700 -
$117,300
Computer Software Programmers/Information Technology Professionals Greycell Labs Inc. Edison, NJ Jan 20, 2016 $85,000
Computer Software Programmers/Information Technology Professionals Greycell Labs Inc. Edison, NJ Jan 26, 2016 $85,000
Computer Software Programmers/Information Technology Professionals Greycell Labs Inc. Edison, NJ Jan 27, 2016 $85,000
IT Professional-Individual Contributor III (Data Architect) Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO Jan 04, 2016 $85,000
Profesional Information Protection Motorola Solutions, Inc. Schaumburg, IL Feb 21, 2015 $84,906 -
$119,000
Information Technology Professional University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN Jul 09, 2012 $84,000
Information Technology Professional University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN Jan 31, 2012 $63,500
Information Technology Professional University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN Sep 01, 2011 $63,240
IT Senior Professional: Resource Management Asoft Consulting LLC Naperville, IL Aug 30, 2016 $63,000
IT Professional University of Colorado Colorado Springs, CO Jun 03, 2014 $63,000
Research Associate/It Professional Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO Mar 14, 2014 $62,109
Senior IT Professional I Texas A&M University College Station, TX Aug 22, 2016 $62,109
IT Professional II University of Colorado Boulder, CO Mar 01, 2012 $62,088

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Top Skills for An Information Technology Professional

ComputerHardwareWebCustomerServiceDatabaseNetworkInfrastructureDesktopSupportActiveDirectoryRemoteAccessPersonalComputersPrintersPl/SqlTechnicalSupportSetupEmailLinuxTroubleshootInformationTechnologyInternetProjectManagementOS

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Top Information Technology Professional Skills

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Web
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed installations and maintained computer hardware and software.
  • Created faculty database and its web portal for School of Public Health with integrated X.500 (single-sign-on) authentication gateway.
  • Performed event logging, ticket tracking and customer service via organization help desk.
  • Build and maintain database systems.
  • Lead team in scoping, planning, building, and migrating to a new network infrastructure.

Top Information Technology Professional Employers

Information Technology Professional Videos

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