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Become An Operations Support Specialist

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Working As An Operations Support Specialist

  • 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 Operations Support 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 Operations Support 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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Operations Support Specialist jobs

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Operations Support Specialist Career Paths

Operations Support Specialist
Operations Manager Plant Manager General Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Operation Supervisor General Manager Senior Manager
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Analyst Information Technology Consultant Senior System Administrator
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Operation Supervisor Operations Manager Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Information Technology Consultant Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Operations Specialist Operations Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Analyst Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Engineer Engineering Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Program Manager General Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Product Manager Sales Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Operations Specialist Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Systems Specialist 4.2 years
Staff Specialist 3.7 years
Senior Specialist 3.6 years
MIS Specialist 3.3 years
Systems Support 3.1 years
Support Lead 2.7 years
Data Specialist 2.5 years
Project Specialist 2.5 years
Specialist 2.5 years
Support Analyst 2.3 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Support Associate 2.0 years
Support 2.0 years
Catalog Specialist 1.7 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 4.3%
Cashier 3.8%
Secretary 3.0%
Supervisor 2.8%
Specialist 2.8%
Teller 2.7%
Top Employers After
Specialist 3.3%
Analyst 3.3%
Owner 3.1%
Manager 2.9%

Operations Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

54.9%

Male

43.2%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

78.8%

Hispanic or Latino

11.4%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.2%

French

8.2%

Chinese

6.1%

Portuguese

4.1%

Mandarin

3.1%

Korean

2.0%

Vietnamese

2.0%

German

2.0%

Cantonese

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%

Turkish

1.0%

Hindi

1.0%

Azerbaijani

1.0%

Hmong

1.0%

Danish

1.0%

Indonesian

1.0%

Russian

1.0%

Carrier

1.0%

Italian

1.0%

Japanese

1.0%
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Operations Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

26.7%

Strayer University

11.4%

Northern Virginia Community College

5.7%

University of Maryland - University College

4.3%

Florida State College at Jacksonville

4.3%

Georgia State University

3.8%

Community College of the Air Force

3.8%

Delaware Technical and Community College

3.8%

American InterContinental University

3.3%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.3%

Liberty University

3.3%

Colorado Technical University

3.3%

Wilmington University

2.9%

Tennessee State University

2.9%

Ashford University

2.9%

Middle Tennessee State University

2.9%

University of Louisville

2.9%

University of Memphis

2.9%

Western Governors University

2.9%

Davenport University

2.9%
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Majors

Business

32.3%

Computer Science

7.2%

Accounting

6.2%

Computer Information Systems

5.1%

Information Technology

4.9%

Health Care Administration

4.6%

Management

4.4%

Criminal Justice

3.9%

Finance

3.9%

Psychology

3.7%

Communication

3.6%

General Studies

3.3%

Human Resources Management

2.6%

Legal Support Services

2.4%

Education

2.1%

Political Science

2.1%

Marketing

2.1%

Nursing

1.8%

Liberal Arts

1.8%

Information Systems

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.7%

Other

24.9%

Associate

15.1%

Masters

12.1%

Certificate

5.4%

Diploma

1.1%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Operations Support Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Business Operations Support Specialist Basehealth, Inc. Redwood City, CA May 08, 2016 $90,355
Business Operations Support Specialist Basehealth Redwood City, CA May 24, 2016 $90,355
Operations Support Specialist Bunge North America (OPD West), Inc. Emporia, KS Sep 01, 2014 $83,000
Operations Support Specialist Exelon Generation Company, LLC TX Apr 18, 2011 $83,000
Operations Support Specialist Activehealth Management Chicago, IL Feb 08, 2016 $80,000
Business Operations Support Specialist Basehealth, Inc. Redwood City, CA Jun 23, 2015 $76,918
Operations Support Specialist/Linux Administrator Dizer Corp Palo Alto, CA Jul 12, 2016 $71,500
Specialist-Business Operations Support Verizon Corporate Services Corporation Ridgefield, NJ Apr 15, 2011 $67,725
IT Operations Support Specialist-Senior Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN May 12, 2016 $64,002 -
$90,000
Operations Support Specialist Active Health Management Chicago, IL Aug 15, 2016 $64,000
Operation Support Specialist Insurance Services Office, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Sep 20, 2011 $62,500
IT Operations Support Specialist-Senior Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN Aug 23, 2016 $61,600 -
$84,700
Support OPS Specialist Symantec Corporation Springfield, OR Dec 05, 2011 $53,706 -
$61,200
Operations Support Specialist Insurance Services Office, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Jan 15, 2010 $52,000 -
$55,500
Operation Support Specialist Bay Area Compliance Labs Corp Sunnyvale, CA Oct 01, 2012 $46,665
Business Operations Support Specialist West Side Institutional Synagogue New York, NY Jan 05, 2011 $45,392
Business Operations Support Specialist Parag Diamonds Inc. New York, NY Feb 19, 2013 $45,000
Business Operations Support Specialist Clinton Housing Development Company New York, NY Jun 04, 2012 $45,000

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Top Skills for An Operations Support Specialist

ProceduresOperationsSupportDataEntryFinancialSafetyPayrollCustomerServiceTechnicalSupportWindowsXPFacilityTroubleTicketsPhoneCallsBackupAuditSetupSpecialProjectsWebResourceActiveDirectoryDesktop

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Top Operations Support Specialist Skills

  1. Procedures
  2. Operations Support
  3. Data Entry
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Develop preventive measures and document issue resolution procedures.
  • Default Operations Support - Litigation Specialist, Paralegal I Coordinating with Direct Source Counsel concerning litigated/contested foreclosure matters.
  • Performed general clerical duties including typing, data entry, and daily operation file maintenance.
  • Updated basic data discrepancies identified in reports, Prepared line of business financial reports.
  • Use a variety of software tools to manager tasks, such as procurement, time and attendance, and safety incidents.

Top Operations Support Specialist Employers