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Become An Information Technology Specialist

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Working As An Information Technology Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $71,674

    Average Salary

What Does An Information Technology 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 Technology 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 Technology Specialist Jobs

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Information Technology Specialist Career Paths

Information Technology Specialist
Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Analyst Systems Administrator Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Specialist Network Technician Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Analyst Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Support Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Lead Technician Technical Support Specialist
Level Senior Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Senior Systems Analyst Systems Administrator
Senior Information Technology Specialist
8 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Specialist Desktop Support Analyst Support Analyst
Senior Support Analyst
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Lead Technician Technical Support Specialist
Senior Technical Support Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Network Administrator Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Human Resources Coordinator Technical Recruiter
Technical Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Instructor Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Information Technology Project Manager Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Information Technology Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Top Employers Before
Internship 4.4%
Technician 3.1%
Consultant 3.1%
Top Employers After
Consultant 4.2%

Do you work as an Information Technology Specialist?

Information Technology Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

74.9%

Female

22.8%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

57.8%

Hispanic or Latino

15.8%

Black or African American

12.1%

Asian

9.7%

Unknown

4.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.2%

French

11.4%

German

5.6%

Arabic

5.6%

Russian

4.2%

Chinese

4.2%

Italian

3.3%

Japanese

3.2%

Mandarin

3.1%

Korean

2.6%

Portuguese

2.5%

Hindi

1.5%

Urdu

1.2%

Carrier

1.2%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Cantonese

1.1%

Polish

0.9%

Hebrew

0.7%

Turkish

0.7%

Greek

0.7%
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Information Technology Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

21.5%

University of Maryland - University College

12.4%

Strayer University

9.5%

Community College of the Air Force

4.9%

George Mason University

4.9%

Western Governors University

4.6%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.1%

Kaplan University

3.9%

Capella University

3.8%

American InterContinental University

3.7%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.0%

George Washington University

2.9%

Colorado Technical University

2.9%

Webster University

2.9%

American University

2.8%

Pennsylvania State University

2.8%

University of Houston

2.4%

Central Texas College

2.4%

Southern New Hampshire University

2.2%

Old Dominion University

2.2%
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Majors

Computer Science

17.1%

Information Technology

16.1%

Business

15.1%

Computer Information Systems

13.2%

Computer Networking

5.5%

Information Systems

3.8%

Electrical Engineering

3.8%

Management Information Systems

3.3%

Computer Engineering

2.9%

Criminal Justice

2.7%

Computer Systems Security

2.6%

Management

2.3%

Project Management

1.8%

Communication

1.6%

Accounting

1.5%

General Studies

1.5%

Finance

1.4%

Education

1.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.3%

Psychology

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.7%

Other

20.3%

Masters

16.7%

Associate

14.8%

Certificate

4.3%

Diploma

1.2%

Doctorate

1.0%

License

0.1%
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Full Time
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Internship
Temporary

Real Information Technology Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
IT Specialist/Vp Goldman Sachs Services LLC Jersey City, NJ Jul 30, 2015 $179,400 -
$225,000
IT Specialist, VP Goldman Sachs Services LLC Jersey City, NJ Sep 21, 2015 $174,900 -
$183,600
IT Business Technical Specialist Citigroup Technology, Inc. New York, NY Mar 25, 2016 $160,000
Consulting IT Specialist IBM Corporation Cambridge, MA Jul 07, 2015 $155,000
Consulting IT Specialist IBM Corporation Brookline, MA Jun 09, 2015 $155,000
Consulting IT Specialist IBM Corporation Indianapolis, IN Jun 09, 2015 $155,000
IT Business Tech Specialist Citigroup Technology, Inc. Warren, NJ Nov 20, 2016 $155,000
Consulting IT Specialist IBM Corporation Hartford, CT Jun 09, 2015 $155,000
IT Specialist, Technology Solutions TD Securities (USA) LLC New York, NY Mar 15, 2016 $151,500
IT Business Tech Specialist Citigroup Technology, Inc. Warren, NJ Nov 16, 2015 $150,000
IT Business Technical Specialist Citibank, N.A. Jersey City, NJ Aug 20, 2015 $150,000
IT Quality Tech Specialist Citigroup Technology, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Feb 15, 2016 $150,000
IT Business Technical Specialist Citibank, N.A. Warren, NJ Apr 29, 2015 $150,000
IT Business Technical Specialist Citibank, N.A. New York, NY Sep 06, 2015 $150,000
IT Specialist IBM India Private Limited Johns Creek, GA Apr 23, 2016 $82,039 -
$85,319
Specialist, IT Process Management Nationwide Insurance Des Moines, IA Aug 16, 2015 $82,000 -
$92,000
Specialist, IT Analysis Nationwide Insurance Des Moines, IA Jun 06, 2016 $82,000 -
$92,000
IT Architecture Specialist Sap America, Inc. Newtown, PA Jan 03, 2016 $82,000
IT Specialist IBM India Private Limited Houston, TX Aug 02, 2015 $81,869
IT Specialist IBM India Private Limited Houston, TX Aug 11, 2015 $81,869
IT Specialist IBM India Pvt Ltd Houston, TX Aug 17, 2015 $81,869
IT Specialist IBM India Private Limited Houston, TX Aug 19, 2015 $81,869
IT Specialist II Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, Inc. Durham, NC Aug 09, 2016 $73,861 -
$88,000
IT Specialist IBM India Private Limited Columbus, OH Aug 16, 2015 $73,650
IT Specialist IBM India Private Limited Indianapolis, IN Jul 29, 2015 $73,650
IT Specialist IBM India Private Limited Tulsa, OK Aug 13, 2015 $73,650
IT Specialist IBM India Pvt Ltd Charlotte, NC Aug 16, 2015 $73,650 -
$78,218
IT Specialist IBM India Private Limited Roanoke, VA May 03, 2015 $73,650
IT Specialist IBM India Private Limited Charlotte, NC Aug 16, 2015 $73,650 -
$78,218

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Top Skills for An Information Technology Specialist

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  1. Computer
  2. Customer Service
  3. Technical Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Support includes specification, installation, and testing of computer systems and peripherals within established standards and guidelines.
  • Provided technical and customer service to customers within the Office of Administrative Services organization.
  • General User Technical Support and Troubleshooting.
  • Support and deployment of multiple operating system environments including Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista and Window 7 Enterprise.
  • Added users to designated distribution/emailing groups via Active Directory.

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