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Become A Systems Support Specialist

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Working As A Systems Support Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $58,920

    Average Salary

What Does A Systems 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 Systems 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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Systems Support Specialist jobs

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Systems Support Specialist Career Paths

Systems Support Specialist
Desktop Support Technician Network Administrator Senior System Administrator
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Program Manager General Manager
Director Of Sales
10 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 Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Engineer Operations Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Systems Engineer Sales Engineer
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Business Analyst Product Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Engineer
Senior Systems Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Sales Consultant Solution Specialist
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Information Technology Administrator Systems Engineer
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Technical Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Systems Specialist 4.2 years
LAN Analyst 3.4 years
Systems Analyst 3.4 years
Computer Analyst 3.3 years
MIS Specialist 3.3 years
Pc/Lan Analyst 3.3 years
Systems Engineer 3.2 years
Network Technician 3.1 years
Systems Support 3.1 years
PC Support Analyst 3.0 years
Computer Engineer 3.0 years
Help Desk Operator 2.9 years
MIS Technician 2.7 years
PC Analyst 2.7 years
LAN Technician 2.7 years
Desktop Engineer 2.6 years
Helpdesk Lead 2.5 years
Specialist 2.5 years
On-Site Technician 2.4 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Support Analyst 2.3 years
Computer Assistant 2.2 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.1 years
Server Technician 2.1 years
Support 2.0 years
Support Associate 2.0 years
Help Desk Engineer 1.8 years
Network Assistant 1.7 years
Junior Technician 1.6 years
Top Employers Before
Consultant 3.4%
Top Employers After
Consultant 3.8%

Systems Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

71.4%

Female

26.6%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

78.7%

Hispanic or Latino

10.4%

Asian

7.9%

Unknown

2.3%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

54.9%

French

7.7%

Mandarin

6.6%

Portuguese

4.4%

Carrier

3.3%

Arabic

3.3%

Russian

2.2%

Albanian

2.2%

Cantonese

2.2%

German

2.2%

Turkish

1.1%

Hmong

1.1%

Hindi

1.1%

Catalan

1.1%

Serer

1.1%

Greek

1.1%

Italian

1.1%

Chinese

1.1%

Interlingua

1.1%

Japanese

1.1%
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Systems Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

25.1%

Strayer University

8.6%

University of Maryland - University College

6.0%

Illinois State University

5.4%

Austin Community College

5.1%

Iowa State University

5.1%

Central Texas College

4.1%

Kaplan University

4.1%

University of Texas at Austin

3.5%

Northern Illinois University

3.5%

Northeastern University

3.2%

Texas State University

3.2%

Pennsylvania State University

3.2%

Colorado Technical University

3.2%

Capella University

3.2%

Arizona State University

2.9%

Western Governors University

2.9%

Liberty University

2.9%

University of North Texas

2.5%

Middle Tennessee State University

2.5%
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Majors

Business

18.8%

Computer Information Systems

15.0%

Computer Science

13.0%

Information Technology

11.2%

Computer Networking

5.6%

Electrical Engineering

4.9%

Management Information Systems

4.3%

Information Systems

3.9%

Management

2.5%

Criminal Justice

2.5%

Communication

2.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.2%

Computer Systems Security

2.0%

Education

1.9%

General Studies

1.8%

Computer Engineering

1.8%

Accounting

1.7%

Computer Programming

1.6%

Project Management

1.6%

Computer Technical Support

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.1%

Other

21.4%

Associate

18.1%

Masters

12.6%

Certificate

4.8%

Diploma

1.4%

Doctorate

0.7%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Systems Support Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Trading Systems Support Specialist Jane Street Holding LLC New York, NY Apr 07, 2012 $135,000
Systems Support Expert CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Fairfax, VA Mar 16, 2016 $127,379
Systems Support Expert CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Fairfax, VA Feb 05, 2016 $127,379
Trading Systems Support Specialist Jane Street Group LLC New York, NY Apr 08, 2015 $125,000 -
$150,000
Business Systems Support Specialist Valero Energy Corporation San Antonio, TX Oct 24, 2015 $110,032
Business Systems Support Specialist-SAP HCM Valero Energy Corp San Antonio, TX Aug 07, 2016 $109,054
Business Systems Support Specialist Valero Energy Corporation San Antonio, TX Jun 08, 2015 $104,800
IT Engineering Systems Support Specialist Parsons Construction Group Inc. Westminster, CO Oct 26, 2016 $103,020
Systems Support Specialist Compucom Systems, Inc. Wauwatosa, WI Jan 03, 2011 $100,000
Systems Support Specialist Compucom Systems, Inc. Delta, OH Jan 03, 2011 $95,000
System Support Specialist FCA Us LLC Auburn Hills, MI Nov 21, 2016 $91,624
IT Engineering Systems Support Specialist Parsons Construction Group Inc. QSSS Westminster, CO Sep 15, 2015 $90,000 -
$110,000
Systems Support Expert CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Reston, VA Sep 30, 2013 $90,000
Systems Support Expert CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Fairfax, VA Aug 25, 2014 $74,402 -
$89,200
System Specialist Support-Billing Berkley Technology Services, LLC Urbandale, IA May 07, 2012 $73,507 -
$79,000
Systems Support Expert CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Columbia, SC Jan 15, 2013 $73,000
Systems Support SR Specialist Compucom Systems, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, NJ Jan 02, 2012 $72,800 -
$80,000
Systems Support Senior Specialist Compucom Systems, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, NJ Sep 01, 2012 $72,800 -
$80,000
Systems Support Expert CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Jersey City, NJ Nov 11, 2013 $71,510
System Support Specialist Data Glove Inc. Princeton, NJ Aug 24, 2016 $71,000
Systems Support Expert CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Columbus, OH Jul 08, 2013 $61,630
Systems Support Expert CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Columbus, OH Jun 24, 2013 $61,630
Systems Support Expert CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Strongsville, OH Aug 07, 2014 $61,235 -
$89,000
Systems Support Specialist II Active Network, LLC Dallas, TX Sep 02, 2015 $61,000
System Support Expert CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Columbia, SC Nov 30, 2011 $61,000
Systems Support Specialist JTB USA, Inc. Jersey City, NJ Mar 16, 2016 $60,112
Systems Support Expert CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Columbia, SC Dec 15, 2011 $60,000

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Top Skills for A Systems Support Specialist

ComputerHardwareCustomerServiceRemoteDesktopPCDeskSupportNetworkPrintersActiveDirectoryTechnicalSupportTroubleshootDataDistributionSystemsSetupLaptopsBackupWindowsXPWindowsNTVPNLan/WanSQLComputerSystemsSystemSupport

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Top Systems Support Specialist Skills

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Customer Service
  3. Remote Desktop
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Installed, configure and troubleshoot computer hardware, printers, operating systems, network configurations and software.
  • Participated in special projects and provided diverse levels of customer service.
  • Set up and troubleshoot remote desktop access and remote printing between warehouses and headquarter office.
  • Supported Windows 98 and XP Professional Provided PC hardware support/repair and supported approximately 50 users in house, 100 remote.
  • Provided help desk support for all World Class Logistics and Administrative teams nationwide.

Top Systems Support Specialist Employers

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