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Working As A Senior System Support Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $91,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior System 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 Senior System 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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Senior System Support Specialist Career Paths

Senior System Support Specialist
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Analyst Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Senior Software Engineer Lead Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Database Administrator Consultant Senior Programmer Analyst
Senior Technical Analyst
7 Yearsyrs
Database Administrator Senior Programmer Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Database Administrator Technical Consultant Senior Programmer Analyst
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Consultant Senior Business Analyst
Implementation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Technical Analyst Desktop Support Analyst
Level Senior Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior System Administrator
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Senior System Support Specialist
Assistant 2.9%
Top Careers After Senior System Support Specialist
Consultant 4.5%

Do you work as a Senior System Support Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$91,000
Show Salaries
$74,000
Min 10%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$111,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Dow Jones
Highest Paying City
South Brunswick, NJ
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
4.7 years
How much does a Senior System Support Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Senior System Support Specialist in the United States is $91,304 per year or $44 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $74,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $111,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Senior System Support Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Business Systems Support Specialist Valero Energy Corporation Jan 10, 2016 $118,703
Senior System Support Specialist II Mount Sinai Medical Center Aug 12, 2015 $118,450
SR Systems & Applications Management & Support Specialist S.W.I.F.T., Inc. May 28, 2015 $100,000
Senior Specialist, Systems Support Novartis Services Inc. Apr 01, 2016 $91,401
Senior Specialist, Systems Support Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Inc. Nov 17, 2014 $91,401
Systems Support Specialist, Senior Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Nov 13, 2009 $88,283
Systems Support Specialist Senior Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Nov 17, 2010 $88,283
System Support Specialist SR. Dow Jones and Company Nov 17, 2011 $87,987
Senior Specialist, Systems Support Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Inc. Nov 17, 2011 $86,275
Senior Systems Support Specialist Ansys, Inc. Oct 24, 2011 $85,000
Senior Systems Support Specialist Ansys, Inc. Nov 15, 2011 $85,000
Senior Systems Support Specialist Data Glove Inc. Sep 15, 2011 $72,000
Senior Systems Support Specialist Data Glove Inc. Oct 10, 2011 $72,000
Senior Systems Support Specialist Data Glove Inc. Nov 15, 2011 $72,000

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Top Skills for A Senior System Support Specialist

  1. Customer Service
  2. Technical Support
  3. Desktop
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained a high level of customer service while supporting users over the phone and side by side.
  • Processed inbound and outbound technical support calls at 20% faster rate than team average.
  • Managed, monitored and maintained all company desktop assets providing oversight and control around purchasing and distribution.
  • Added/removed PCs in Active Directory using AD Users and Computers tool and Quest One Active Roles Web interface.
  • Manage user and computer accounts in Microsoft Active Directory and NetIQ Directory and Resource Administrator.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Senior System Support Specialists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Delaware
  3. North Carolina
  4. Virginia
  5. Georgia
  6. New Jersey
  7. Maryland
  8. Minnesota
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. California
  • (473 jobs)
  • (160 jobs)
  • (1,338 jobs)
  • (2,082 jobs)
  • (1,264 jobs)
  • (1,140 jobs)
  • (1,175 jobs)
  • (935 jobs)
  • (1,704 jobs)
  • (4,263 jobs)

Senior System Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

78.6%

Female

16.6%

Unknown

4.7%
Ethnicity

White

59.7%

Hispanic or Latino

13.3%

Black or African American

12.3%

Asian

9.9%

Unknown

4.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

28.6%

Portuguese

14.3%

Chinese

14.3%

French

14.3%

Mandarin

14.3%

Polish

14.3%
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Senior System Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Memphis

10.7%

Florida Technical College

7.1%

Pennsylvania State University

7.1%

Johns Hopkins University

7.1%

Nassau Community College

7.1%

Aims Community College

7.1%

Purdue University

7.1%

University of Connecticut

3.6%

Brewton-Parker College

3.6%

Milwaukee School of Engineering

3.6%

Southwest Institute of Healing Arts

3.6%

Western Illinois University

3.6%

University of Massachusetts - Boston

3.6%

City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College

3.6%

Olivet Nazarene University

3.6%

Ventura College

3.6%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3.6%

University of South Florida

3.6%

Northern Arizona University

3.6%

Miami Dade College

3.6%
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Majors

Computer Science

17.8%

Business

15.8%

Information Technology

10.9%

Management Information Systems

7.9%

Computer Systems Security

5.9%

Electrical Engineering

5.9%

Management

5.0%

Computer Information Systems

3.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.0%

Finance

3.0%

Computer Networking

3.0%

Computer Engineering Technology

3.0%

Information Sciences

2.0%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

2.0%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.0%

General Studies

2.0%

Mechanical Engineering

2.0%

Computer Engineering

2.0%

Computer Programming

2.0%

Liberal Arts

2.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.6%

Associate

23.9%

Masters

13.8%

Certificate

8.3%

Diploma

2.8%

High School Diploma

1.8%

Doctorate

0.9%
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Updated May 18, 2020