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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 Senior Specialist
Top Careers After Senior Specialist
Hispanic or Latino10.8%
Black or African American0.7%
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University of Phoenix22.4%
Pennsylvania State University5.6%
Texas A&M University4.4%
George Washington University4.3%
University of Houston4.2%
Arizona State University4.2%
New York University3.9%
University of Texas at Austin3.5%
Grand Canyon University3.5%
University of Maryland - University College3.5%
University of Florida3.2%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Senior FX Specialist||Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited||New York, NY||Sep 16, 2015||$230,000|
|Senior Specialist Environmental||Technip USA, Inc.||Houston, TX||Sep 10, 2015||$214,500|
|Architect Senior Specialist||Citigroup Technology, Inc.||Jersey City, NJ||Jun 29, 2015||$188,843|
|Senior Specialist Database||Sapient Corporation||Boston, MA||Jan 27, 2016||$166,355|
|Senior Specialist Database||Sapient Corporation||New York, NY||Feb 17, 2016||$166,355|
|Senior Specialist Platform||Sapient Corporation||Tucker, GA||Mar 03, 2016||$165,600|
|Senior Specialist Platform||Sapient Corporation||New York, NY||Dec 23, 2015||$165,600|
|Senior Specialist Platform||Sapient Corporation||Burlington, MA||Jul 21, 2016||$165,600|
|Engineer SR. Specialist||Citigroup Technology, Inc.||Tampa, FL||May 14, 2015||$164,403|
|Senior Specialist-Subsea Controls||Wood Group Kenny, Inc.||Houston, TX||Apr 03, 2015||$163,093|
|Senior Specialist Platform||Sapient Corporation||Arlington, VA||Feb 09, 2015||$162,000|
|Senior Specialist Platform||Sapient Corporation||Arlington, VA||Feb 11, 2015||$162,000|
|Senior Specialist Database||Sapient Corporation||New York, NY||Jun 01, 2015||$161,510|
|ERS Specialist Senior||Deloitte & Touche LLP||New York, NY||Apr 06, 2015||$102,981|
|Specialist Senior||Deloitte Consulting LLP||Princeton, NJ||Feb 20, 2015||$102,669 -
|SR. Specialist-Scada||Sunoco Partners LLC||Sinking Spring, PA||Sep 03, 2015||$102,500|
|Specialist Senior||Deloitte Consulting LLP||San Francisco, CA||Jul 14, 2015||$102,357 -
|Specialist Senior||Deloitte Consulting LLP||San Francisco, CA||May 24, 2016||$102,357 -
|Specialist Senior||Deloitte Consulting LLP||Dallas, TX||Jan 03, 2016||$102,253 -
|Specialist Senior||Deloitte Consulting LLP||Miami, FL||Jan 03, 2016||$102,253 -
|Systems Development Senior Specialist||Xerox State & Local Solutions, Inc.||Boston, MA||Sep 10, 2015||$102,004|
|Senior Specialist||APL Logistics Americas, Ltd.||Scottsdale, AZ||Sep 21, 2015||$95,056 -
|SR Specialist Wcdma & I-Hspa Product Support||Nokia Solutions and Networks Us LLC||Irving, TX||Sep 08, 2016||$95,040|
|SR. Specialist-Technology (Programmer Analyst)||Synechron, Inc.||Charlotte, NC||Sep 03, 2015||$95,018|
|Systems Development Senior Specialist||Xerox State Healthcare, LLC||West Sacramento, CA||Jan 08, 2016||$95,000|
|Systems Development Senior Specialist||Xerox State &Amp; Local Solutions, Inc.||Phoenix, AZ||Jan 03, 2016||$95,000|
|Programming Senior Specialist||Compucom Systems, Inc.||Dallas, TX||Jul 07, 2015||$95,000|
|Informatics Senior Specialist||Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company||Wilmington, DE||May 30, 2016||$95,000|
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