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Become A Professional Technician

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Working As A Professional Technician

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $88,754

    Average Salary

What Does A Professional Technician 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 A Professional Technician

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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Professional Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

69.8%

Female

28.0%

Unknown

2.2%
Ethnicity

White

57.0%

Hispanic or Latino

17.1%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

10.4%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

38.8%

French

14.3%

German

8.2%

Chinese

6.1%

Mandarin

6.1%

Arabic

6.1%

Japanese

4.1%

Hindi

4.1%

Russian

2.0%

Dakota

2.0%

Hebrew

2.0%

Urdu

2.0%

Thai

2.0%

Italian

2.0%
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Professional Technician Education

Schools

Texas A&M University

9.0%

University of Phoenix

9.0%

West Virginia University

8.4%

Colorado School of Mines

6.5%

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

6.5%

Oklahoma State University

6.5%

University of Oklahoma

5.8%

Texas Tech University

5.2%

University of Houston

5.2%

University of Texas at Austin

3.9%

Purdue University

3.9%

Washington State University

3.9%

Colorado State University

3.9%

West Texas A&M University

3.2%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

3.2%

University of Utah

3.2%

Southwestern Michigan College

3.2%

University of Delaware

3.2%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.2%

Iowa State University

3.2%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

18.6%

Business

16.9%

Computer Science

10.2%

Chemical Engineering

8.4%

Electrical Engineering

7.2%

Petroleum Engineering

6.0%

Civil Engineering

4.4%

Computer Information Systems

3.9%

Information Technology

3.7%

Biology

2.3%

Industrial Engineering

2.3%

Human Resources Management

2.1%

Chemistry

1.9%

Finance

1.9%

Engineering

1.9%

Computer Networking

1.9%

Education

1.6%

Elementary Education

1.6%

Communication

1.6%

Geology

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

50.7%

Masters

21.1%

Other

14.4%

Associate

7.1%

Doctorate

3.3%

Certificate

2.3%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.1%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Professional Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Technology Solutions Professional, MTC Microsoft Corporation Mountain View, CA Jul 22, 2016 $210,200
Technology Solutions Professional Microsoft Corporation Mountain View, CA Oct 14, 2016 $210,200 -
$230,200
Technical Professional Leader KBR, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 12, 2015 $174,720
Technology Solutions Professional Microsoft Corporation New York, NY Sep 12, 2016 $166,860 -
$186,860
Technical Professional Response III (Regional) Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. Houston, TX Jun 14, 2016 $163,488
Technical Professional Response III (Regional) Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. Houston, TX Jun 16, 2016 $163,488
Technology Solutions Professional Microsoft Corporation New York, NY Oct 07, 2016 $161,733
Technical Solutions Professional Datera, Inc. Mountain View, CA Apr 13, 2015 $160,000
Technology Solution Professional Microsoft Corporation Miami Beach, FL Jan 08, 2016 $154,020
Technology Solutions Professional Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jun 06, 2016 $152,500
Technology Solutions Professional Microsoft Corporation New York, NY Apr 01, 2015 $149,555
Technology Solutions Professional Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Aug 24, 2015 $147,000
SR. Technical Professional-Technologist Landmark Graphics Corporation Houston, TX Aug 06, 2016 $95,000
SR. Technical Professional-Technologist Landmark Graphics Corporation Houston, TX Jun 08, 2016 $95,000
SR. Technical Professional KBR, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 20, 2016 $94,880
SR. Technical Professional-Process KBR Inc. Houston, TX Jan 02, 2016 $94,810
Senior Technical Professional-Process KBR Technical Services, Inc. Houston, TX Dec 13, 2016 $94,810
Technology Lead-US-Professional Infosys Limited Sunnyvale, CA Jun 12, 2016 $94,619
Technical Professional KBR, Inc. Houston, TX Jun 09, 2016 $82,270
Technical Professional KBR, Inc. Houston, TX May 09, 2015 $82,000
Technical Professional KBR, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 05, 2015 $82,000
Technical Professional-Process KBR, Inc. Houston, TX Dec 09, 2016 $81,894
Technology Lead-US-Professional Infosys Limited Frederick, MD Jul 08, 2016 $81,219
Technical Professional-Structural KBR, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 12, 2015 $81,177
Technology Lead-US-Professional Infosys Limited East Hanover, NJ Apr 11, 2016 $80,995
Technology Lead-US-Professional Infosys Limited Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ Oct 31, 2016 $80,995

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Top Skills for A Professional Technician

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  1. Production Enhancement
  2. Safety
  3. Technical Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assisted in production enhancement operations throughout the front range in Colorado.
  • Promoted safety awareness and environmental consciousness, and comply with all applicable safety and environmental procedures and regulations.
  • Completed training for inbound technical support of professional accounting equipment.
  • Performed software design and coding for Programmable Logic Controllers and Computers associated with Nuclear Fusion experiments.
  • Supported regional and global operations including tools from local shop by attending and completing Service and Completion Tools provided by Halliburton.

How Would You Rate Working As a Professional Technician?

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Average Salary:

Top 10 Best States for Professional Technicians

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Alaska
  3. Virginia
  4. Texas
  5. North Dakota
  6. Wyoming
  7. California
  8. New Jersey
  9. Washington
  10. Maine
  • (181 jobs)
  • (44 jobs)
  • (1,060 jobs)
  • (1,845 jobs)
  • (102 jobs)
  • (49 jobs)
  • (2,382 jobs)
  • (720 jobs)
  • (565 jobs)
  • (96 jobs)

Top Professional Technician Employers

Jobs From Top Professional Technician Employers

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