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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:
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:
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.
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 Support Specialist
Top Careers After Support Specialist
Hispanic or Latino10.7%
Black or African American0.6%
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University of Phoenix28.4%
Southern New Hampshire University5.0%
American InterContinental University3.8%
Grand Canyon University3.5%
University of Maryland - University College3.1%
Virginia Commonwealth University3.0%
Arizona State University2.9%
Monroe Community College2.8%
University of Houston2.7%
University of North Carolina at Greensboro2.7%
University of Central Florida2.6%
Florida State University2.6%
Northern Virginia Community College2.5%
University of Louisville2.4%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Siteminder Support Specialist||SDG Corporation||Norwalk, CT||Jan 11, 2015||$135,000|
|Siteminder Support Specialist||SDG Corporation||Norwalk, CT||Jan 11, 2015||$120,000|
|Site Support Specialist||Rockwell Automation, Inc.||Houston, TX||Jan 28, 2016||$119,100|
|Physics Support Specialist||Accuray Incorporated||Madison, WI||Dec 04, 2016||$115,000|
|Eikon Support Specialist||Thomson Reuters (Markets) LLC||New York, NY||Aug 21, 2015||$113,190|
|BIM Premium Support Specialist||Autodesk, Inc.||Houston, TX||May 07, 2015||$110,677 -
|Android Support Specialist, Tier II||Amplify Education, Inc.||New York, NY||Sep 18, 2015||$110,000|
|Test Support Specialist II||DLL Management Services, LLC||Wayne, PA||Jul 09, 2015||$109,117|
|Jcaps Support Specialist||Wise Men Consultants Inc.||Houston, TX||Jan 01, 2015||$108,000|
|SAP Basis Support Specialist||FTS International Services, LLC||Fort Worth, TX||Sep 24, 2016||$106,181|
|SAP Support Specialist Pp/Apo||CSM Bakery Products Na, Inc.||Tucker, GA||Sep 07, 2015||$105,000|
|Scale Support Specialist (Computer Systems Analyst)||Triplefin, LLC||Wood Dale, IL||Jun 27, 2016||$105,000|
|Middleware Support Specialist||Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc.||Lake Buena Vista, FL||Nov 15, 2015||$105,000|
|MQ Series Support Specialist||Bering Straits Information Technology, LLC.||Anchorage, AK||Nov 30, 2016||$89,898|
|Programmer/Analyst and Support Specialist||It Works! Inc.||Washington, DC||Aug 30, 2016||$88,878|
|Test Support Specialist||DLL Management Services, LLC||Wayne, PA||Nov 05, 2015||$86,112|
|Global Trade Support Specialist||Convergex Group, LLC||New York, NY||May 11, 2015||$82,000|
|Server Support Specialist||IBM Corporation||Poughkeepsie, NY||Jul 30, 2016||$81,640 -
|Server Support Specialist||IBM Corporation||Poughkeepsie, NY||Jun 09, 2016||$81,640 -
|Test Support Specialist||de Lage Landen Financial Services, Inc.||Wayne, PA||Mar 05, 2016||$78,955|
|Support Specialist||IBM India Pvt Ltd||Richardson, TX||Aug 26, 2015||$64,043|
|Support Specialist||IBM India Pvt Ltd||Richardson, TX||Sep 01, 2015||$64,043|
|Engagement Support Specialist||PWC Strategy& (Us) LLC||Chicago, IL||Oct 01, 2015||$62,294|
|Engagement Support Specialist||PWC Strategy& (Us) Inc.||Chicago, IL||Oct 01, 2015||$62,294|
|CIS Support Specialist||Law Office of Cherie E. Cookorinis, P.C.||Sandy Springs, GA||Oct 01, 2015||$61,776|
|Elevated Support Specialist||Condusiv Technologies Corp||Burbank, CA||Jun 29, 2016||$60,528|
|SAP Basis Support Specialist||KHOJ Information Technology, Inc.||Branchburg, NJ||Sep 20, 2016||$60,000|
|SAP Basis Support Specialist||KHOJ Information Technology, Inc.||Branchburg, NJ||Jul 25, 2015||$60,000|
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A Day in The Life - Applications Engineer