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Become A Support

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Working As A Support

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $70,971

    Average Salary

What Does A Support 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 Support

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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Support Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Community Support Officer by Julie J (Highlights)

#IWCE2016: Supporting LTE public safety networks with Parallel Wireless' Band 14

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Support Jobs

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Support Career Paths

Support
Epic Consultant Trainer General Manager
Chief Operating Officer
12 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Case Manager Account Manager
Client Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Business Analyst-Consultant Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Operations Manager Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Support Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Driver Operation Supervisor
Logistics Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Account Representative Account Executive
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Technical Support Technician
Senior Support Technician
5 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Information Technology Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Epic Consultant Training Consultant Program Manager
Service Director
10 Yearsyrs
Physician Billing Specialist Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Network Administrator Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Merchandiser Field Service Technician Technical Support Engineer
Technical Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Physician MD Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Support?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Support Analyst 2.3 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Support 2.0 years
Support Associate 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Support
Cashier 11.1%
Internship 5.7%
Teller 5.0%
Manager 3.8%
Volunteer 3.5%
Consultant 3.0%
Server 2.9%
Supervisor 2.8%
Top Careers After Support
Cashier 6.9%
Consultant 6.2%
Internship 4.3%
Manager 3.7%
Teller 3.5%
Specialist 3.4%
Volunteer 3.3%
Technician 3.0%
Physician 3.0%
Analyst 2.9%

Do you work as a Support?

Support Demographics

Gender

Male

49.7%

Female

48.1%

Unknown

2.2%
Ethnicity

White

60.4%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Black or African American

10.7%

Asian

8.8%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.8%

French

7.3%

German

5.6%

Mandarin

4.3%

Portuguese

4.0%

Chinese

4.0%

Arabic

4.0%

Japanese

3.7%

Carrier

2.7%

Russian

1.7%

Korean

1.3%

Vietnamese

1.3%

Italian

1.3%

Cantonese

1.3%

Hmong

1.0%

Thai

1.0%

Turkish

0.7%

Serbian

0.7%

Czech

0.7%

Dakota

0.7%
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Support Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

22.6%

Strayer University

6.8%

Kaplan University

6.8%

Southern New Hampshire University

5.0%

Miami Dade College

4.5%

Pennsylvania State University

4.5%

Boise State University

4.0%

Texas State University

4.0%

University of Houston

3.8%

Liberty University

3.8%

University of North Texas

3.8%

Ashford University

3.8%

American InterContinental University

3.8%

Fordham University

3.5%

Capella University

3.5%

Colorado Technical University

3.3%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.3%

Georgia State University

3.3%

Northeastern University

3.3%

Indiana State University

3.0%
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Majors

Business

24.4%

Computer Science

6.9%

Information Technology

6.0%

Accounting

5.8%

Psychology

5.6%

Computer Information Systems

5.4%

Criminal Justice

4.7%

Health Care Administration

4.3%

Nursing

3.9%

Electrical Engineering

3.7%

Communication

3.7%

General Studies

3.6%

Management

3.6%

Education

3.3%

Liberal Arts

2.7%

English

2.5%

Finance

2.5%

Medical Assisting Services

2.4%

Graphic Design

2.4%

Computer Networking

2.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.2%

Other

28.3%

Associate

14.1%

Masters

11.4%

Certificate

5.7%

Diploma

1.9%

Doctorate

0.9%

License

0.4%
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Support Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Community Support Officer by Julie J (Highlights)

#IWCE2016: Supporting LTE public safety networks with Parallel Wireless' Band 14

Becoming an apprentice: are your parents supportive of your choice?

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Support Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
PP Planing Support Strategic Staffing Solutions, L.C. Creve Coeur, MO Nov 01, 2013 $166,960
Phoenix Environment Support Judge Technical Staffing, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Jul 27, 2012 $146,090
Phoenix Environment Support Judge Technical Services, Inc. Jersey City, NJ May 20, 2013 $131,481
Process Support Rhodia Inc. Cranbury, NJ Nov 20, 2012 $124,000
Chemical Advisor-Polypropylene Plant Support Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc. La Porte, TX Oct 20, 2016 $118,301 -
$144,000
Sp3D Support SME Kelly Services, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 15, 2016 $114,785
Sp3D Support SME Kelly Services, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 12, 2014 $114,785
IOT (Inter Operability Testing) Protocol/Support Anite Telecoms Inc. San Diego, CA Aug 18, 2014 $110,000
Support Consutlant IV Sap America, Inc. Bellevue, WA Feb 22, 2012 $110,000
Process Support Rhodia Inc. Cranbury, NJ Mar 01, 2010 $110,000
MQ Series Support Bering Straits Information Technology, LLC Kansas City, MO Oct 22, 2016 $110,000
MQ Series Support Bering Straits Information Technology, LLC Kansas City, MO Jun 10, 2015 $110,000
Chemical Advisor-Polypropylene Plant Support Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc. La Porte, TX Sep 18, 2014 $104,300
Global GTM, SME & OCM Support Bunge Global Markets, Inc. Saint Louis, MO Jan 20, 2013 $100,000
Support Advisor Intersystems Corporation Cambridge, MA Sep 16, 2011 $75,462 -
$78,000
Special Advisor, Transition Support Partnership for Public Service Washington, DC May 23, 2016 $75,000
World Class Manufacturing Plant Support CNH Industrial America LLC Wichita, KS Oct 01, 2014 $74,000
Reporting Process Support Rhodia Inc. Cranbury, NJ Oct 01, 2013 $72,512
LCA Support Nexius Solutions Inc. Reston, VA Jul 16, 2010 $72,000
Design Support Hornberger+Worstell, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 15, 2015 $64,551
Configuration Support Genesis Software Solutions, Inc. Brentwood, TN Aug 03, 2015 $62,088
Accounting Support EBAY Enterprise, Inc. King of Prussia, PA Aug 03, 2016 $62,067
Accounting Support 5 EBAY Enterprise, Inc. King of Prussia, PA Jul 16, 2015 $61,299
Design Support Hornberger + Worstell, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 13, 2016 $60,899
VPI Manufacturing Lane Support Cummins Filtration, Inc. Cookeville, TN Jan 21, 2013 $60,800 -
$72,200
Database Support LGBS Software, Inc. Mahwah, NJ Jan 09, 2016 $60,000

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Top Skills for A Support

  1. Procedures
  2. Computer
  3. Data Entry
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Better Diagnosing Procedures Tools/Software Customer/Personal Communications.
  • Attended continuing security education and training requirements for computer security, the DoDIIS program and SCIF physical security.
  • Collaborated with colleagues to accomplish daily office responsibilities, including data entry, organization and presentation.
  • Assist with international phone calls and video conference connections with international offices.
  • Monitored the home environment for safety hazards and insure general safety precautions are in place/provide training for emergencies.

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Top 10 Best States for Supports

  1. Delaware
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Minnesota
  4. Alaska
  5. Massachusetts
  6. New Jersey
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Colorado
  9. Connecticut
  10. New York
  • (232 jobs)
  • (493 jobs)
  • (1,960 jobs)
  • (149 jobs)
  • (2,005 jobs)
  • (1,705 jobs)
  • (3,088 jobs)
  • (1,399 jobs)
  • (695 jobs)
  • (3,463 jobs)

Top Support Employers

Jobs From Top Support Employers

Support Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Community Support Officer by Julie J (Highlights)

#IWCE2016: Supporting LTE public safety networks with Parallel Wireless' Band 14

Becoming an apprentice: are your parents supportive of your choice?

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