As new technologies emerge and grow in complexity, the demand for specialists to provide technical assistance will rise along with it. Computer support specialists often work for major hardware and software producers like Microsoft, Apple, SAP, or Oracle, but there are also opportunities with smaller companies or independent software companies. Typical activities include answering technical questions or resolving customers issues. In some cases, they offer support for an office’s overall network, which may include duties such as assisting employees with IT issues and installing new software. In addition to having technological understanding, strong problem-solving and communication skills are very important, and the ability to juggle multiple simultaneous requests will also help.
Most computer support specialist jobs require a degree or certificate in information technology or a related field. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
Computer Support Specialist Job Responsibilities
Computer support specialists typically receive descriptions of issues from hardware or software users and respond to the users with a series of steps or commands that will help the user alleviate the issue. Sometimes, this may require the support specialist to attempt to duplicate the user’s actions to try to recreate the issue. If the cause of the issue was user error, the specialist will have to tell the user what went wrong and how to prevent it in the future. If the issue is the result of a software or hardware malfunction, the specialist will have to dig deeper through troubleshooting, or conferring with other specialists and programmers. If the root of the issue can been be fixed, the specialist will patiently help the user fix it.
Other computer support specialists work in setting up computer systems to be sent to customers through installation of operating systems and software. Another duty may be the training of internal staff to properly utilize a computer’s capabilities and help users learn new systems. This can be done on a full office basis, or, in some cases, a client by client basis to handle all issues for their assigned group.
Computer support workers require top-notch critical thinking and troubleshooting. Support specialists may also have to compile technical reports about issues in the resolution process. Software engineers and programmers can then use these write-ups to enhance products or prevent similar issues for future software. As support specialists must deal with users of all levels of experience, they must be able to convey complex technical language in simple terminology.
Computer Support Specialist Training and Education Requirements
For most employers seeking computer support specialists, some level college education in required. Degree programs in mathematics and sciences, especially computer sciences, are well received, as are any courses that would display well honed communication skills. Most of the training on specific software and hardware will be conducted be companies after the hiring process
Computer Support Specialist Salary and Wages
The average annual salary for computer support specialists is listed at $63,000. Specialists in their first year average $30,037-$47,500, and experienced workers (+20 years) can earn as much as $77,000. As most of these jobs are with established companies, benefits will usually include paid vacations, medical benefits, and retirement packages.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Computer Support Specialist Certifications
It is important to obtain the specific certification for the exact support role you are pursuing. Most computer support specialist jobs will necessitate at least the A+ Certification, which explains computing basics and hardware troubleshooting. There are many learning resources such as textbooks and online guides geared toward getting applicants ready for the A+ test. Also, many colleges and universities will administer the A+ certification test for a fee. Other certifications include the Cisco “CCNA” or CompTIA “Network+”, and may be necessary depending on the specific field you are trying to enter.