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Become A Technical Specialist

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Working As A Technical Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $90,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Technical 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 Technical 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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Technical Specialist jobs

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Technical Specialist Career Paths

Technical Specialist
Network Technician Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Assistant Vice President Human Resources Coordinator
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Consultant Senior Consultant Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Consultant Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist 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
Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Technician Specialist Home Health Aid Technician
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Analyst Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Technician Specialist Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Engineer Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Network Administrator Systems Engineer
Senior Software Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Systems Specialist 4.2 years
Technical Manager 4.0 years
Technology Officer 3.7 years
Staff Specialist 3.7 years
Senior Specialist 3.6 years
Systems Analyst 3.4 years
Computer Analyst 3.3 years
MIS Specialist 3.3 years
Systems Support 3.1 years
Network Technician 3.1 years
Technical Trainer 3.0 years
Technical Analyst 2.8 years
Technical Expert 2.8 years
Specialist 2.5 years
Data Specialist 2.5 years
On-Site Technician 2.4 years
Technical Advisor 2.4 years
Support Analyst 2.3 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.1 years
Help Desk Engineer 1.8 years
Network Internship 0.6 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 5.9%
Technician 5.3%
Consultant 5.3%
Manager 3.9%
Cashier 3.5%
Top Employers After
Consultant 7.2%
Manager 5.1%
Technician 4.6%
Specialist 3.4%
Owner 3.4%

Technical Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

69.2%

Female

28.7%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

75.9%

Hispanic or Latino

11.1%

Asian

10.2%

Unknown

2.2%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.8%

French

9.0%

German

7.4%

Chinese

3.8%

Carrier

3.4%

Portuguese

3.2%

Russian

3.0%

Japanese

2.4%

Mandarin

2.0%

Korean

1.8%

Italian

1.8%

Hindi

1.6%

Arabic

1.6%

Vietnamese

1.4%

Cantonese

1.2%

Urdu

1.0%

Braille

0.8%

Polish

0.8%

Greek

0.6%

Croatian

0.6%
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Technical Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

24.8%

Strayer University

6.2%

Pennsylvania State University

4.7%

George Mason University

4.3%

Texas A&M University

4.3%

Northeastern University

4.2%

University of Houston

4.1%

University of Maryland - University College

4.0%

Colorado Technical University

3.9%

Purdue University

3.9%

George Washington University

3.8%

DePaul University

3.7%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.7%

Arizona State University

3.6%

University of New Mexico

3.5%

Michigan State University

3.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.5%

University of Louisville

3.4%

Liberty University

3.4%

Kaplan University

3.3%
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Majors

Business

20.5%

Computer Science

13.6%

Electrical Engineering

9.4%

Information Technology

7.7%

Computer Information Systems

7.5%

Computer Networking

3.7%

Mechanical Engineering

3.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.4%

Management

3.3%

Communication

3.0%

Criminal Justice

2.8%

Psychology

2.7%

Education

2.5%

Biology

2.5%

Computer Engineering

2.5%

Information Systems

2.5%

Accounting

2.3%

Finance

2.3%

General Studies

2.2%

Management Information Systems

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.5%

Other

21.4%

Masters

17.7%

Associate

12.8%

Certificate

4.6%

Doctorate

2.2%

Diploma

1.5%

License

0.2%
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Full Time
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Internship
Temporary

Real Technical Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Technical Specialist Finnegan Washington, DC Jul 02, 2015 $185,000
Technical Specialist Finnegan Washington, DC May 02, 2015 $170,000
Technical Specialist Finnegan Washington, DC Feb 05, 2015 $170,000
Technical Specialist-Chemical Arts Finnegan Washington, DC Aug 10, 2015 $160,000
Technical Specialist-Chemical Arts Finnegan Washington, DC Aug 17, 2015 $160,000
Technical Specialist II Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Jun 27, 2016 $152,337
Technical Specialist III Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Aug 03, 2015 $150,000
Technical Specialist III Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Aug 07, 2015 $148,000
Technical Specialist III Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Jul 08, 2015 $148,000
Technical Specialist III Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Aug 24, 2015 $148,000
Technical Specialist III Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Aug 11, 2015 $148,000
Specialist Technology Synechron, Inc. New York, NY Sep 14, 2015 $145,000
IS Tech Specialist Citigroup Technology, Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL Mar 21, 2016 $145,000
Technology Specialist UST Global Inc. Bellevue, WA Dec 23, 2015 $145,000
Technology Specialist Amdocs Inc. Champaign, IL Aug 19, 2015 $99,960
Technology Specialist Amdocs Inc. Champaign, IL Jun 20, 2016 $99,960
Technical Specialist New York Global Consultants Inc. Uniondale, NY Oct 19, 2015 $99,674
Technical Specialist New York Global Consultants Inc. Uniondale, NY Sep 24, 2015 $99,674
Technical Specialist Headstrong Services LLC Princeton, NJ Feb 29, 2016 $99,026
Technical Specialist I Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Sep 17, 2015 $98,135
Technical Specialist, Simulia Dassault Systemes Simulia Corp. Raymond, OH Oct 16, 2016 $98,108
WSA Technology Specialist Haldor Topsoe, Inc. Houston, TX Mar 09, 2016 $98,100
Technical Specialist Headstrong Services LLC New York, NY Nov 05, 2016 $80,330
Technical Specialist Majesco Software and Solutions, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Sep 05, 2015 $80,136
Technical Specialist II Michael Baker Jr., Inc. Alexandria, VA Sep 08, 2015 $80,059
IS Technical Specialist The Huntington National Bank Columbus, OH Jun 30, 2016 $80,000 -
$100,000
Technical Specialist Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN May 08, 2016 $80,000 -
$97,300
Technical Specialist Cummins Emission Solutions Inc. Columbus, IN Sep 10, 2015 $80,000 -
$97,300
Technical Specialist Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN Aug 08, 2016 $80,000 -
$97,300
Technical Specialist Niche Software Solutions Inc. Houston, TX Sep 01, 2015 $80,000

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Top Skills for A Technical Specialist

ComputerHardwareProceduresDataEntryCustomerServicePCWebRemoteDesktopSupportSetupSafetySQLServerInternetWindowsNewTechnologyVideoActiveDirectoryTechnicalSupportFinancialMacUnixWindowsXP

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Top Technical Specialist Skills

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Procedures
  3. Data Entry
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Configured personal computer hardware and software, including installations and upgrades.
  • Revise design documents and procedures.
  • Completed data entry associated with downloading, including confirmation of test signals.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage information, and utilize exceptional customer service skills when interfacing with clients, peers and management.
  • Performed hardware/software updates on servers, desktop PCs, notebook computers, routers, and firewall devices.

Top Technical Specialist Employers

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