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Become A Technical Support Professional

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Working As A Technical Support Professional

  • 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 Technical Support Professional 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 Support Professional

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 Support Professional jobs

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Technical Support Professional Career Paths

Technical Support Professional
Network Engineer Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Windows System Administrator Senior System Administrator
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Systems Analyst Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Team Manager Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Network Engineer Director Of Information
Director, Technical Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Engineer Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Team Manager Service Manager Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Project Manager General Manager
Managing Partner
9 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Technical Support Specialist Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Engineer Systems Engineer Operations Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Technician Operations Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Business Development Manager Solution Specialist
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Technical Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Systems Support 3.1 years
PC Support Analyst 3.0 years
Technical Expert 2.8 years
Support Lead 2.7 years
Technical Advisor 2.4 years
Support Analyst 2.3 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Support 2.0 years
Support Associate 2.0 years
Service Desk Agent 1.7 years
Junior Technician 1.6 years
Help Desk Agent 1.5 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 9.0%
Internship 4.3%
Manager 3.1%
Specialist 2.3%
Top Employers After

Technical Support Professional Demographics

Gender

Male

62.1%

Female

36.0%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

76.7%

Hispanic or Latino

12.7%

Asian

7.7%

Unknown

2.0%

Black or African American

1.0%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.7%

Urdu

7.7%

Hindi

7.7%

Dakota

3.8%

Japanese

3.8%

Tagalog

3.8%

Russian

3.8%

Korean

3.8%

Arabic

3.8%

Cebuano

3.8%
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Technical Support Professional Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.9%

Portland Community College

10.9%

Portland State University

8.9%

University of South Dakota

5.9%

Oregon State University

5.9%

A-Technical College

5.9%

Albany State University

5.0%

Central Texas College

4.0%

University of South Florida

4.0%

ITT Technical Institute-Albuquerque

4.0%

Jefferson Community College

4.0%

Colorado Technical University

4.0%

Hillsborough Community College

4.0%

Central New Mexico Community College

3.0%

Sinclair Community College

3.0%

University of Louisville

3.0%

Strayer University

3.0%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.0%

Clackamas Community College

3.0%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.0%
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Majors

Business

15.0%

Information Technology

12.7%

Computer Science

12.0%

Computer Information Systems

11.0%

Psychology

8.0%

Electrical Engineering

5.0%

Criminal Justice

4.3%

Accounting

4.0%

Computer Networking

3.3%

General Studies

3.0%

Computer Engineering

3.0%

Nursing

2.7%

Finance

2.3%

Computer Applications

2.3%

Liberal Arts

2.0%

Management

2.0%

Medical Assisting Services

2.0%

Health Care Administration

2.0%

Education

1.7%

Communication

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.0%

Other

25.1%

Associate

15.8%

Masters

13.3%

Certificate

5.8%

Diploma

1.7%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Technical Support Professional Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Professional-Advanced Technical Support at&T Mobility Services LLC Port Huron, MI Apr 20, 2015 $125,241
Professional-Advanced Technical Support at&T Operations Inc. Austin, TX Nov 29, 2010 $87,971
Technical Support Professional IBM Corporation Foster City, CA Feb 02, 2012 $75,060 -
$120,119
Technical Support Professional IBM Corporation Foster City, CA Aug 31, 2011 $75,060 -
$120,119
Guardium Technical Support Professional IBM Corporation Somers, NY Sep 04, 2015 $75,046
Technical Support Professional IBM Corporation Foster City, CA Sep 18, 2014 $72,302 -
$131,498
Guardium Technical Support Professional IBM Corporation Littleton, MA Jul 02, 2015 $72,155 -
$97,400
Technical Support Professional IBM Corporation Austin, TX Oct 25, 2010 $70,736 -
$139,124
IT Systems Support Professional V Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA Jun 14, 2011 $69,000
IT Systems Support Professional V Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA Jun 14, 2010 $69,000
Technical Support Professional IBM Corporation Foster City, CA Sep 05, 2012 $68,884 -
$81,620
Technical Support Professional IBM Corporation Lenexa, KS Jan 21, 2013 $67,748 -
$100,465
Technical Support Professional IBM Corporation Foster City, CA Sep 18, 2011 $67,684 -
$81,364
Technical Support Professional IBM Corporation Foster City, CA Oct 01, 2010 $66,000 -
$78,420
IT Application Support Professional V Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA Jul 01, 2012 $64,210
Delivery Technical Support Professional IBM Corporation Bellaire, TX Jan 04, 2016 $63,149 -
$88,168
Technical Support Professional IBM Coorporation Lenexa, KS Oct 01, 2012 $54,373 -
$71,304

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Top Skills for A Technical Support Professional

TechnicalSupportComputerHardwareDeskSupportInternetExplorerTroubleshootPCCustomerSatisfactionTechnicalIssuesActiveDirectoryOSWindowsXPMacWebCustomerSupportCustomerServiceSoftwareApplicationsSoftwareIssuesInboundCallsNTSoftwareSupport

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Top Technical Support Professional Skills

  1. Technical Support
  2. Computer Hardware
  3. Desk Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Qualified for monthly bonuses for meeting or exceeding quality and efficiency levels as a technical support professional.
  • Assisted clients in setting up and installing a variety of computer hardware and software packages.
  • Experienced and knowledgeable Information Technology Professional seeking to contribute training and acquired skills within a Help Desk support role.
  • Exceeded production goals in excess of 143% using Outlook, Excel, and Internet Explorer.
  • Maintained detailed records of troubleshooting activities in support of customers.

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