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Become A Program Support Specialist

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Working As A Program Support Specialist

  • 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 A Program 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 A Program 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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Program Support Specialist jobs

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Program Support Specialist Career Paths

Program Support Specialist
Case Manager Program Coordinator Project Coordinator
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Assistant Accounts Payable Clerk Staff Accountant
Accounting Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Manager Sales Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Administrative Coordinator Human Resources Coordinator
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Program Director Educator Program Manager
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Service Director Operations Director
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Assistant Human Resources Coordinator
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Program Director General Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Program Manager General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Project Coordinator Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Project Manager Program Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Counselor Case Manager Program Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Counselor Program Coordinator Project Coordinator
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Operations Director
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Specialist Operations Manager General Manager
President/Chief Executive Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Program Analyst Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Administrative Coordinator Project Coordinator Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Program Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Program Analyst Program Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Business Analyst Senior Systems Analyst
Senior Software Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Staff Specialist 3.7 years
Specialist 2.5 years
Data Specialist 2.5 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Program Assistant 2.0 years
Support 2.0 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 7.5%
Secretary 5.3%
Cashier 2.9%
Manager 2.7%
Top Employers After
Consultant 3.7%
Internship 3.4%
Counselor 3.1%
Specialist 2.8%
Teacher 2.5%

Program Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

75.7%

Male

22.8%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

81.4%

Hispanic or Latino

9.6%

Asian

6.8%

Unknown

1.6%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.9%

German

12.3%

Japanese

5.3%

French

5.3%

Chinese

3.5%

Vietnamese

3.5%

Amharic

3.5%

Mandarin

3.5%

Turkish

1.8%

Swedish

1.8%

Khmer

1.8%

Tigrinya

1.8%

Yoruba

1.8%

Cantonese

1.8%

Greek

1.8%

Hindi

1.8%

Tagalog

1.8%

Urdu

1.8%

Russian

1.8%
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Program Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.8%

Strayer University

14.2%

University of Maryland - University College

9.5%

George Mason University

5.9%

Howard University

5.9%

Ashford University

4.1%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

4.1%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.1%

Liberty University

4.1%

Prince George's Community College

3.6%

Capella University

3.6%

Germanna Community College

3.6%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.0%

San Francisco State University

3.0%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.0%

Old Dominion University

3.0%

University of Utah

3.0%

American University

3.0%

Trinity University

2.4%

University of North Texas

2.4%
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Majors

Business

32.8%

Psychology

7.5%

Criminal Justice

6.4%

Health Care Administration

4.8%

Human Resources Management

4.8%

Communication

4.6%

Management

4.4%

Accounting

4.2%

Social Work

3.1%

Public Administration

3.1%

Computer Information Systems

2.9%

Political Science

2.7%

Sociology

2.7%

Education

2.5%

Human Services

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.3%

Public Relations

2.3%

General Studies

2.1%

Finance

2.1%

Marketing

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.6%

Masters

22.5%

Other

20.4%

Associate

9.4%

Certificate

4.9%

Diploma

2.0%

Doctorate

1.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Program Support Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Program Support and Training Specialist Annrell Incorporated San Antonio, TX Jun 22, 2015 $108,000
Program Support Specialist University of Maryland University College College Park, MD Jul 01, 2010 $56,680 -
$61,000
Program Support Specialist University of Maryland University College Largo, MD Jul 01, 2010 $56,680 -
$61,000
Program Support Specialist Sensitech Inc. Beverly, MA Apr 19, 2013 $48,000
Computer Program/Support Specialist Rehabtek LLC Wilmette, IL Nov 10, 2011 $46,000
Computer Program/Support Specilist Rehabtek LLC. Wilmette, IL Apr 01, 2011 $35,000
Computer Program/Support Specilist Rehabtek LLC. Wilmette, IL Nov 01, 2010 $35,000

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Top Skills for A Program Support Specialist

ProceduresAppropriateDatabaseProgramSupportPersonnelActionsFinancialReportsDataEntryCustomerServiceCommunityResourcesLogisticalSupportSafetyProgramManagementTravelArrangementsSharepointOfficeSuppliesProposalsClearanceManagementSystemProgramActivitiesMonthlyReportsPowerpoint

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Top Program Support Specialist Skills

  1. Procedures
  2. Appropriate Database
  3. Program Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Identified, examined, and recommended changes or improvements to data collection methods, tools and procedures.
  • Served as the Program Support Specialist.
  • Maintained the status of and updates to personnel actions communicated to the requester within the agreed upon time frame.
  • Compiled and analyzed accurate and timely financial reports utilizing a number of procedures and applications.
  • Assist in all areas of administrative work including data entry and file organization.

Top Program Support Specialist Employers

Program Support Specialist Videos

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