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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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Principal Technologist
Top Careers After Principal Technologist
Hispanic or Latino11.5%
Black or African American0.5%
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University of Houston10.6%
University of Phoenix10.6%
George Washington University7.1%
Community College of the Air Force5.9%
University of Memphis4.7%
Texas Tech University4.7%
University of California - Berkeley4.7%
University of Maryland - College Park4.7%
George Mason University4.7%
University of Connecticut3.5%
Ohio University -3.5%
Southern Connecticut State University3.5%
University of Colorado at Boulder3.5%
State University of New York Buffalo3.5%
Texas State Technical College - Waco3.5%
California State University - Long Beach3.5%
Tennessee State University3.5%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute3.5%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Principal Display Technologist||Nvidia Corporation||Santa Clara, CA||Nov 17, 2016||$240,000|
|Principal, Technology, Technology Strategy & Architecture||Deloitte Consulting LLP||New York, NY||Oct 13, 2015||$188,844 -
|Principal Technologist IV||Nuovo Solutions LLC||Greenwood Village, CO||Nov 14, 2016||$180,000|
|Principal, Technical Lead (Data Management)||Applied Predictive Technologies||San Francisco, CA||Jan 09, 2016||$170,000|
|Tech Yahoo, Paranoid, Principal||Yahoo! Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Feb 27, 2015||$163,000 -
|Principal Technical Lead||Genpharm International, LLC||Redwood City, CA||Feb 09, 2016||$150,000|
|Principal Technical Lead||Genpharm International, LLC||Redwood City, CA||Oct 01, 2015||$150,000|
|Principal Technical Professional||KBR Technical Services, Inc.||Houston, TX||May 15, 2015||$146,474|
|Principal Technical Professional-Process||KBR Technical Services, Inc.||Houston, TX||Oct 29, 2015||$146,474|
|IT Principal||Boart Longyear Company||Salt Lake City, UT||Oct 19, 2016||$140,843|
|Information Technology Principal||Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company||Windsor, CT||Jun 01, 2016||$140,400|
|Principal, Technical Lead (Data Management)||Applied Predictive Technologies||Arlington, VA||Feb 05, 2015||$140,000|
|Principal, Technical Lead (Data Management)||Applied Predictive Technologies||Arlington, VA||Aug 28, 2015||$140,000|
|Principal, Technical Lead (Data Management)||Applied Predictive Technologies||Arlington, VA||Jun 29, 2015||$140,000|
|Principal Technical Professional||KBR, Inc.||Houston, TX||Oct 01, 2015||$119,765|
|Technical Principal||Fedex Corporate Services||Collierville, TN||Jun 20, 2016||$119,316 -
|Principal Technical Professional||KBR, Inc.||Houston, TX||Sep 17, 2015||$118,354|
|Principal Special Technology Engineer I||Ledvance, LLC||Wilmington, MA||Sep 08, 2016||$117,733|
|Principal Technology Security||at&T Services, Inc.||Middletown, NJ||Jan 11, 2015||$117,520|
|Principal Technology Security||at&T Services, Inc.||Middletown, NJ||Feb 16, 2015||$116,520|
|Principal Member of Technical Services||Verizon Communications Inc., & All Its Subsidiaries & Affiliates||San Diego, CA||Nov 20, 2015||$116,058|
|Principal Technical Liferay Architect||Tandemseven, Inc.||Plymouth, MA||May 28, 2015||$115,000|
|Principal Technical Professional-Cementing||Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.||Houston, TX||Jan 27, 2015||$108,357|
|Principal Technical Professional-Process||KBR, Inc.||Houston, TX||Oct 01, 2015||$107,757|
|Principal Technical Professional-Process||KBR, Inc.||Houston, TX||Jan 10, 2015||$107,757|
|Principal Technical Professional-Process||KBR, Inc.||Houston, TX||Sep 14, 2016||$107,487|
|Principal Technical Professional-Frac/Acid||Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.||Denver, CO||Aug 09, 2016||$107,328|
|Principal Special Technology Engineer I||Osram Sylvania, Inc.||Wilmington, MA||Dec 10, 2015||$107,312|
|Principal Technical Professional-Process||KBR, Inc.||Newark, DE||Dec 23, 2015||$107,150|
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