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Become A Specialist

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Working As A Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $76,562

    Average Salary

What Does A 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 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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Specialist Videos

Career Advice on becoming an IT Helpdesk Specialist by Fiona A (Full Version)

Career Advice on becoming an IT Specialist by Felix A (Highlights)

Clinical Nurse Specialist | Salary and Job Description

Specialist Jobs

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Specialist Career Paths

Specialist
Analyst Finance Analyst
Accounting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Specialist Sales Manager Office Manager
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Program Manager General Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Branch Manager Account Manager
Client Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Analyst Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Analyst Business Analyst Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Technician Technical Support Specialist
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Support Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Forklift Operator Warehouse Manager
Logistics Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Sales Manager General Manager
Regional Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Program Manager General Manager Account Executive
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager General Manager Account Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Dispatcher Operations Manager
Supply Chain Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Technical Support Specialist Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Human Resources Coordinator Technical Recruiter
Technical Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

52.3%

Male

45.6%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

61.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.3%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

7.5%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.4%

French

9.8%

German

4.2%

Portuguese

3.2%

Chinese

2.8%

Mandarin

2.7%

Italian

2.7%

Russian

2.6%

Arabic

2.4%

Japanese

2.3%

Korean

1.3%

Hindi

1.2%

Carrier

1.2%

Vietnamese

0.9%

Cantonese

0.8%

Tagalog

0.8%

Urdu

0.8%

Polish

0.7%

Greek

0.7%

Hebrew

0.6%
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Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

25.2%

Liberty University

5.6%

Strayer University

5.2%

Ashford University

5.2%

Kaplan University

5.2%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.7%

Grand Canyon University

4.4%

University of Houston

4.0%

Michigan State University

3.9%

Arizona State University

3.9%

American InterContinental University

3.7%

Pennsylvania State University

3.5%

Temple University

3.4%

Florida State University

3.4%

Capella University

3.3%

University of Central Florida

3.2%

University of North Texas

3.2%

Community College of the Air Force

3.1%

Walden University

3.0%

Florida International University

2.9%
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Majors

Business

27.7%

Psychology

7.1%

Criminal Justice

6.8%

Accounting

5.5%

Communication

4.7%

Health Care Administration

4.4%

Management

4.2%

Nursing

4.1%

General Studies

3.8%

Marketing

3.6%

Computer Science

3.4%

Finance

3.2%

Education

3.2%

Social Work

3.0%

Biology

2.9%

Medical Assisting Services

2.6%

Liberal Arts

2.6%

English

2.5%

Graphic Design

2.4%

Computer Information Systems

2.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.1%

Other

26.5%

Masters

14.7%

Associate

12.6%

Certificate

4.7%

Doctorate

1.6%

Diploma

1.4%

License

0.5%
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Specialist Videos

Career Advice on becoming an IT Helpdesk Specialist by Fiona A (Full Version)

Career Advice on becoming an IT Specialist by Felix A (Highlights)

Clinical Nurse Specialist | Salary and Job Description

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Real Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Addiction Specialist Rakesh Ranjan Md & Associates, Inc. Mentor, OH Jan 11, 2015 $323,485
US PV CRO Oversight Specialist Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals NJ Dec 15, 2016 $239,138
Pore Pressure Specialist BP America Inc. Houston, TX Jun 01, 2015 $226,700
Global Alliances Specialist Adobe Systems Incorporated New York, NY Aug 18, 2016 $215,405
Cementing Specialist BP America Inc. Houston, TX Sep 28, 2015 $190,000
Spm/Sprd Specialist Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Nov 23, 2015 $179,640 -
$212,004
Fixed Income Specialist Citibank, N.A. Miami, FL Mar 14, 2016 $175,000
Microstrategy Specialist Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Union, NJ Mar 17, 2016 $169,900
Fluids Specialist BP America Inc. Anchorage, AK Oct 01, 2015 $167,702
Specialist Platform Sapient Corporation New York, NY Nov 30, 2015 $167,000
Specialist Platform Sapient Corporation Houston, TX May 09, 2016 $167,000
Specialist Platform Sapient Corporation Oakbrook Terrace, IL Aug 22, 2016 $167,000
Specialist McKinsey & Company, Inc. United States Chicago, IL Jan 05, 2016 $166,271
Advisor Specialist HTC America Seattle, WA Jul 20, 2016 $99,840
SAP Specialist Festo Corporation Hauppauge, NY Sep 08, 2015 $99,674
SAP Architecture Specialist The Dow Chemical Company Saginaw, MI Jan 22, 2016 $99,276 -
$148,920
Gear Component Specialist Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN Jan 13, 2015 $99,100 -
$125,100
Portfolio Analytics & Strategy Specialist The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA Jul 02, 2015 $99,000
Specialist Platform Sapient Corporation Stamford, CT Sep 09, 2015 $98,904
SAP BI Specialist Brainer Consultancy, Inc. Addison, TX Mar 20, 2015 $98,904
Emulation Specialist Mentor Graphics Corporation Fremont, CA Jan 09, 2016 $79,498 -
$96,100
ENB I&V Specialist Nokia Solutions and Networks Us LLC Irving, TX May 21, 2015 $79,303
Subsea Coatings Specialist Technip USA, Inc. Houston, TX Nov 02, 2016 $79,270
Finite Element Specialist Metalsa Structural Products Novi, MI Jan 11, 2016 $79,125
Gips (Global Investment Performance Standard) Specialist Nuveen Investments Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 30, 2016 $78,900
Performance Specialist Western Asset Management Pasadena, CA Nov 29, 2016 $78,874 -
$90,000
Antifoulant Specialist Baker Hughes Incorporated Sugar Land, TX Aug 01, 2015 $78,866
Mainframe Specialist IBM India Private Limited Paramus, NJ Sep 06, 2016 $78,661 -
$82,187

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Top Skills for A Specialist

  1. Customer Service
  2. Procedures
  3. Safety
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide personalized customer service: register customer information, address questions and concerns.
  • Maintain a current understanding of established policies, procedures and regulations relating to escrow.
  • Ensured efficient, cost-effective, and safe operations by performing thorough safety inspections of equipment and identifying deficiencies.
  • Assisted online entrepreneurs in finding suppliers and starting their online businesses, filed financial reports and completed miscellaneous data entry assignments.
  • Perform standard communication (phone calls, emails, and letters) to appropriate parties throughout the duration of the leave.

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Top 10 Best States for Specialists

  1. Oregon
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Connecticut
  4. Texas
  5. Pennsylvania
  6. Alaska
  7. Arkansas
  8. Idaho
  9. Georgia
  10. Maryland
  • (2,019 jobs)
  • (4,876 jobs)
  • (1,642 jobs)
  • (10,863 jobs)
  • (6,395 jobs)
  • (392 jobs)
  • (947 jobs)
  • (711 jobs)
  • (4,322 jobs)
  • (3,804 jobs)

Top Specialist Employers

Jobs From Top Specialist Employers

Specialist Videos

Career Advice on becoming an IT Helpdesk Specialist by Fiona A (Full Version)

Career Advice on becoming an IT Specialist by Felix A (Highlights)

Clinical Nurse Specialist | Salary and Job Description

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