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Become A Systems Support

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Working As A Systems Support

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $80,416

    Average Salary

What Does A Systems 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 Systems 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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Systems Support jobs

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Systems Support Career Paths

Systems Support
Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Senior Manager Director Of Information
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Network Administrator Senior System Administrator
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Network Administrator Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Senior Manager Director Of Information
Director, Technical Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Analyst Systems Analyst
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Systems Engineer Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Marketing Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Software Engineer
Senior Software Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Engineer
Senior Systems Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Sales Consultant Solution Specialist
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Systems Manager 4.2 years
Systems Specialist 4.2 years
Systems Analyst 3.4 years
Pc/Lan Analyst 3.3 years
Computer Analyst 3.3 years
Systems Engineer 3.2 years
Systems Integrator 3.2 years
Network Technician 3.1 years
Help Desk Leader 3.0 years
Systems Consultant 3.0 years
Systems Support 3.0 years
PC Support Analyst 3.0 years
PC Analyst 2.7 years
Support Lead 2.7 years
MIS Technician 2.7 years
Production Support 2.7 years
Desktop Engineer 2.6 years
Helpdesk Lead 2.5 years
Network Consultant 2.4 years
Support Analyst 2.3 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Server Technician 2.1 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.1 years
Support 2.0 years
Support Associate 2.0 years
Help Desk Engineer 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Consultant 4.7%
Manager 3.9%
Technician 3.2%
Top Employers After
Consultant 6.6%

Systems Support Demographics

Gender

Male

72.0%

Female

25.7%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

75.9%

Asian

10.4%

Hispanic or Latino

10.2%

Unknown

2.7%

Black or African American

0.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

35.8%

French

10.5%

Chinese

8.4%

Mandarin

5.3%

Russian

5.3%

Portuguese

4.2%

German

4.2%

Arabic

4.2%

Vietnamese

3.2%

Polish

3.2%

Korean

2.1%

Hebrew

2.1%

Carrier

2.1%

Italian

2.1%

Japanese

2.1%

Hmong

1.1%

Hindi

1.1%

Dutch

1.1%

Danish

1.1%

Bulgarian

1.1%
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Systems Support Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

25.3%

University of Maryland - University College

5.9%

Strayer University

5.5%

Capella University

5.5%

Community College of the Air Force

4.8%

University of Houston

4.8%

Western Governors University

4.8%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.0%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.0%

George Washington University

3.7%

Michigan State University

3.3%

Carnegie Mellon University

3.3%

Villanova University

3.3%

American InterContinental University

3.3%

Purdue University

3.3%

Colorado Technical University

3.3%

Northeastern University

3.3%

Pennsylvania State University

2.9%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

2.9%

George Mason University

2.9%
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Majors

Business

19.5%

Computer Science

18.2%

Computer Information Systems

11.3%

Information Technology

9.2%

Electrical Engineering

5.3%

Computer Networking

4.7%

Management

3.7%

Information Systems

3.3%

Accounting

3.2%

Management Information Systems

2.6%

Computer Engineering

2.6%

Computer Technical Support

2.5%

Project Management

2.2%

Finance

1.9%

Communication

1.8%

Psychology

1.7%

Computer Systems Security

1.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.6%

Computer Programming

1.5%

General Studies

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.6%

Other

22.2%

Masters

16.9%

Associate

13.1%

Certificate

4.5%

Diploma

1.6%

Doctorate

0.9%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Systems Support Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Tech & UX Developer Pappas Group LLC Arlington, VA Sep 26, 2016 $184,000
Systems Support Mastercard International Incorporated OFallon, MO Sep 23, 2013 $105,000
Creative Technologist-UX Developer Visa U.S.A. Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 15, 2016 $97,192 -
$115,390
Advanced Planning & Scheduling System Support SR. Hyundai Information Service North America, LLC West Point, GA Jan 23, 2014 $90,347
User Interface/Experience Technician Igate Technologies, Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Oct 05, 2016 $83,741
User Interface/Experience Technician Igate Technologies, Inc. Bridgewater, NJ Jun 29, 2016 $83,741
Systems & Applications Management & Support Specia Swift, Inc. Culpeper, VA Oct 01, 2014 $73,464
Manufacturing System Support Pentair Thermal Management LLC Redwood City, CA Jan 30, 2015 $72,675 -
$90,420
Financial Systems Support Comscore, Inc. Reston, VA Aug 01, 2010 $70,000
Manufacturing System Support TYCO Thermal Controls LLC Redwood City, CA Jan 30, 2012 $66,352 -
$70,000
Systems Services and Support Vastika, Inc. Durham, NC Jan 19, 2016 $64,875
Senior User Support Technician Gallaudet University Washington, DC Oct 04, 2009 $63,232
Computer User Support Technician Starshr, Inc. Reston, VA Sep 01, 2015 $54,262
Computer Systems/Web Support Zillion Technologies Inc. Schaumburg, IL Aug 20, 2014 $53,747
Computer Systems/Web Support Zillion Technologies Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 01, 2013 $53,747

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Top Skills for A Systems Support

HardwareIssuesDesktopSupportCustomerServicePCRemoteAccessProceduresDatabaseTroubleshootActiveDirectoryNetworkPrintersTechnicalSupportSetupLaptopsSQLServerWebWindowsXPSystemSupportUnixVPNLan/Wan

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Top Systems Support Skills

  1. Hardware Issues
  2. Desktop Support
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Identified, analyzed and fixed servers, operating systems, network configurations, software applications and hardware issues.
  • Provided hands on desktop support for Butler Snow employees in the Memphis office.
  • Collaborated with Client Services Help Desk Management in planning process improvement strategies to implement customer service training for Help Desk associates.
  • Support and assisted the IT department with PC set up and maintenance for all clinic sites.
  • Train customers and staff on basic use of hardware, software and remote access.

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Q&A - Salaries for Computer Jobs [How much $$$ can you make?]

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