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Become A Technical Support Specialist

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Working As A Technical Support Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $66,311

    Average Salary

What Does A Technical 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 Technical 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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Do you work as a Technical Support Specialist?

Technical Support Specialist Jobs

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Technical Support Specialist Career Paths

Technical Support Specialist
Project Manager Program Manager Business Developer
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Senior System Administrator
Data Center Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Senior Manager Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Network Technician Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Project Leader Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Engineer Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Product Manager Sales Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Business Analyst Product Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Administrator
Senior System Administrator
8 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Engineer
Senior Systems Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Sales Consultant Solution Specialist
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Manager
Technical Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Technical Support Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Help Desk Analyst 2.1 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 3.9%
Technician 3.7%
Cashier 3.0%
Top Employers After
Consultant 3.4%
Technician 2.7%

Do you work as a Technical Support Specialist?

Technical Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

72.1%

Female

25.9%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

75.9%

Hispanic or Latino

11.8%

Asian

8.7%

Unknown

2.7%

Black or African American

0.9%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.0%

French

8.9%

Arabic

4.8%

German

3.7%

Chinese

3.4%

Japanese

3.1%

Portuguese

3.0%

Mandarin

3.0%

Hindi

2.6%

Russian

2.5%

Italian

2.0%

Carrier

1.9%

Urdu

1.8%

Korean

1.4%

Cantonese

1.4%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Cheyenne

0.8%

Hebrew

0.6%

Greek

0.6%

Ukrainian

0.5%
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Technical Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

26.6%

Strayer University

10.6%

University of Maryland - University College

7.0%

Northern Virginia Community College

5.1%

Kaplan University

4.6%

American InterContinental University

4.5%

Western Governors University

4.4%

George Mason University

4.1%

University of Houston

3.6%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.5%

Colorado Technical University

3.3%

Pennsylvania State University

3.1%

Community College of the Air Force

2.8%

ECPI University

2.8%

Capella University

2.7%

Northeastern University

2.5%

Liberty University

2.4%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

2.3%

Ashford University

2.2%

Webster University

2.1%
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Majors

Business

15.1%

Computer Science

15.1%

Information Technology

14.9%

Computer Information Systems

13.8%

Computer Networking

7.8%

Electrical Engineering

4.0%

Information Systems

3.6%

Management Information Systems

2.8%

Criminal Justice

2.7%

Communication

2.3%

Computer Engineering

2.2%

Management

2.2%

Computer Systems Security

2.1%

Computer Technical Support

1.9%

Psychology

1.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.7%

General Studies

1.7%

Accounting

1.5%

Education

1.5%

Project Management

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.0%

Other

23.4%

Associate

19.5%

Masters

10.1%

Certificate

4.6%

Diploma

1.8%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Technical Support Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Apps Support Technical Specialist Citigroup Technology, Inc. Warren, NJ Nov 05, 2016 $147,500
Techical Support Analyst Intermodal Association of North America Calverton, MD Feb 21, 2016 $138,720
Compliance IT Support Specialist MUFG Union Bank, N.A. Jersey City, NJ Oct 18, 2016 $130,666
Apps SUP Tech Specialist, TPS Support Citibank, N.A New York, NY Sep 27, 2016 $130,000
Technical Analyst-Support Oracle America, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 05, 2016 $127,837 -
$136,852
IT Support Specialist CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Fairfax, VA Apr 26, 2016 $125,757
IT Support Specialist CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Fairfax, VA Feb 05, 2016 $125,757
Technical Support Specialist Tokyo Electron America, Inc. Beaverton, OR Aug 30, 2016 $125,300
Associate, Technical Support Specialist Fig LLC New York, NY Oct 31, 2016 $124,987 -
$130,000
Apps Support Technical Specialist, Middleware Integration Citigroup Technology, Inc. Warren, NJ Apr 15, 2016 $123,410
Technical Support Analyst The Intermodal Association of North America Calverton, MD Mar 20, 2015 $122,886 -
$136,000
Technical Analyst-Support Oracle America, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 26, 2015 $122,762 -
$173,048
Technical Support Specialist Apttus Corporation San Mateo, CA Sep 28, 2015 $120,000
Technical Analyst-Support Oracle America, Inc. Belmont, CA Jul 30, 2015 $118,061 -
$173,048
Technical Analyst-Support Oracle America, Inc. Belmont, CA Mar 13, 2015 $93,071 -
$115,260
Technical Analyst-Support Oracle America, Inc. Denver, CO Jun 24, 2015 $93,065 -
$144,498
Technical Support Analyst IBM Corporation Chicago, IL Jun 10, 2015 $93,060
Technical Support Analyst IBM Corporation Cincinnati, OH Jun 12, 2015 $93,060
Technical Analyst-Support Oracle America, Inc. CA Aug 25, 2015 $92,973 -
$122,014
Technical Analyst-Support Oracle America, Inc. Broomfield, CO Aug 25, 2015 $92,564 -
$123,167
Technical Support Specialist Vitec, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Sep 19, 2015 $92,500
Staff Technical Support Analyst BMC Software, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 12, 2015 $92,500 -
$112,500
Technical Support Specialist Forcepoint LLC Austin, TX Feb 23, 2016 $77,970
Technical Support Specialist Terarecon Inc. Acton, MA Nov 25, 2015 $77,713
Technical Support Specialist Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc. Milpitas, CA Jan 05, 2015 $77,563
Technical Support Specialist (Sales Engineer) Chartboost, Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 22, 2016 $77,000
Technical Support Specialist SRS Consulting Inc. Fremont, CA Aug 02, 2016 $77,000
Technical Support Specialist Epson America, Inc. Long Beach, CA Sep 16, 2016 $76,800
Technical Analyst-Support Oracle America, Inc. Lehi, UT Sep 19, 2016 $76,760 -
$109,812
Staff Technical Support Analyst BMC Software, Inc. Pleasanton, CA Feb 19, 2015 $76,700 -
$127,900

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Top Skills for A Technical Support Specialist

ComputerHardwareTechnicalSupportDeskSupportRemoteDesktopTroubleshootActiveDirectoryPhoneCallsNetworkPrintersEmailAccountsCustomerServiceLaptopsSetupWindowsXPInternetExplorerVPNWebTechnicalIssuesHelpDeskOSCitrix

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  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Technical Support
  3. Desk Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained asset inventory consisting of computer hardware and software licenses.
  • Provided technical support for customers via telephone.
  • Help desk support for 5,000 plus employees across the USA and Canada.
  • Used Windows Remote Desktop and Dame Ware to assist and troubleshoot user problems.
  • Performed all types of troubleshooting; hardware, software, network, DNS.

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Top Technical Support Specialist Employers