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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
  • $54,000

    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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Technical Support Specialist Jobs

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Technical Support Specialist Career Paths

Technical Support Specialist
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Systems Engineer Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Analyst Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology/Support Technician Information Systems Technician Desktop Support Technician
Senior Desktop Support Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Analyst Systems Analyst
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Consultant Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Consultant Information Technology Consultant
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Consultant Information Technology Consultant
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Mail Clerk Technical Support Technician
Senior Support Technician
5 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Senior Business Analyst
Implementation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Service Desk Analyst Service Desk Supervisor
Service Desk Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Engineer Technical Support Manager
Technical Support Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Desktop Support Technician Service Desk Analyst
Incident Manager
9 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
Systems Support 2.7 years
Help Desk Analyst 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Technical Support Specialist
Cashier 5.5%
Internship 3.9%
Technician 3.4%
Top Careers After Technical Support Specialist
Consultant 3.3%

Do you work as a Technical Support Specialist?

Technical Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

67.8%

Female

24.6%

Unknown

7.6%
Ethnicity

White

58.7%

Hispanic or Latino

16.2%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

8.8%

Unknown

4.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

54.5%

French

8.8%

Arabic

4.5%

German

3.6%

Portuguese

3.3%

Chinese

3.3%

Mandarin

3.1%

Japanese

3.0%

Russian

2.4%

Hindi

2.3%

Italian

1.9%

Carrier

1.9%

Urdu

1.6%

Korean

1.4%

Cantonese

1.3%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Cheyenne

0.6%

Hebrew

0.5%

Ukrainian

0.5%

Greek

0.5%
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Technical Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

26.4%

Strayer University

10.2%

University of Maryland - University College

7.3%

Northern Virginia Community College

5.0%

Western Governors University

4.9%

Kaplan University

4.7%

American InterContinental University

4.5%

George Mason University

3.7%

University of Houston

3.6%

Pennsylvania State University

3.3%

Colorado Technical University

3.3%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.1%

Community College of the Air Force

2.7%

Capella University

2.7%

ECPI University

2.6%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

2.5%

Ashford University

2.5%

Georgia State University

2.4%

The Academy

2.3%

Liberty University

2.3%
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Majors

Business

15.2%

Computer Science

15.1%

Information Technology

14.7%

Computer Information Systems

13.6%

Computer Networking

7.8%

Electrical Engineering

4.1%

Information Systems

3.5%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Management Information Systems

2.7%

Computer Engineering

2.4%

Communication

2.2%

Computer Systems Security

2.0%

Management

2.0%

Computer Technical Support

2.0%

Psychology

1.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.7%

Accounting

1.6%

General Studies

1.6%

Education

1.4%

Computer Programming

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.6%

Other

22.3%

Associate

20.1%

Masters

9.8%

Certificate

4.6%

Diploma

1.9%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$54,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$30,000
Min 10%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
BioZyme
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
New Jersey
Avg Experience Level
2.4 years
How much does a Technical Support Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Technical Support Specialist in the United States is $54,474 per year or $26 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $30,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $95,000.

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 Feb 05, 2016 $125,757
IT Support Specialist CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Fairfax, VA Apr 26, 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. CA May 11, 2015 $118,061 -
$136,852
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 Cincinnati, OH Jun 12, 2015 $93,060
Technical Support Analyst IBM Corporation Chicago, IL Jun 10, 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
Staff Technical Support Analyst BMC Software, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 12, 2015 $92,500 -
$112,500
Technical Support Specialist Vitec, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Sep 19, 2015 $92,500
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

  1. Technical Support
  2. Computer Hardware
  3. Network Printers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided technical support for entire organization.
  • Maintained asset inventory consisting of computer hardware and software licenses.
  • Configured and installed Network Printers in Active Directory.
  • Implemented a project to upgrade and standardized desktop and network computing environments.
  • Answered telephone calls and emails using automated diagnostic programs.

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Top 10 Best States for Technical Support Specialists

  1. Utah
  2. North Carolina
  3. Colorado
  4. Alaska
  5. Florida
  6. Delaware
  7. Oregon
  8. Minnesota
  9. Ohio
  10. Rhode Island
  • (566 jobs)
  • (1,421 jobs)
  • (1,075 jobs)
  • (136 jobs)
  • (2,159 jobs)
  • (152 jobs)
  • (535 jobs)
  • (991 jobs)
  • (1,430 jobs)
  • (164 jobs)

Top Technical Support Specialist Employers

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