Computer Support Specialist

What Does a Computer Support Specialist Do?
Computer support specialists give technical assistance and direction to individuals and companies that rely on information technology to do business. They solve most computer-related problems and respond to questions from their organizations’ computer users. Computer support specialists aim to keep computer systems and other technical equipment working properly and secure their clients’ work. Organizations save a great deal of time and expenses by hiring computer support specialists, because their computer systems will be safe, quick and allow them to keep up with competitors. Some specialists write training manuals, as well as train computer users to navigate new computer hardware and software programs. They monitor the daily performance of their company’s computer systems, run automatic diagnostic tests and resolve problems with Local Area Networks (LAN), Wide Area Networks and other services. Most support specialists are employed by organizations that use computer systems, computer hardware or software vendors, or third-party organizations that offer support services on a contract basis.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Computer Support Specialist?
The employment and salary outlook for computer support specialists should be favorable over the next ten years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate of specialists is expected to increase by 14 percent during the 2008-2018 decade. In addition to a growing job force, the salary outlook for computer support specialists should remain stable. Computer support specialists made an average salary of $43,450 in 2008. The highest salaries were in professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers. Computer support specialists will be in greater demand as more organizations and individuals start implementing new technology and need help with technical problems. Businesses will need high levels of support to combat technical issues and keep their confidential information and finances protected. Organizations that rely heavily on technology will need more support specialists to stay up to par with their competitors in speed, business and overall profits. For example, the computer systems design and related services industry, as well as the management, scientific and technical consulting industry, will be hiring more support specialists to maintain their technology and stay as efficient as possible.

How Can I Become a Computer Support Specialist?
Before you can enter the technology support field, you must first complete the necessary educational and training steps to prepare you for professional work. Since a college degree is required for most computer specialist jobs, an associate degree is the quickest, most sufficient educational track for interested job candidates. An associate degree in information technology or another relevant major allows students to complete two years of formal college training and prepares them to start an entry-level job in their preferred field. During your associate degree program, you’ll learn about new and current computer systems, hardware and software programs, as well as information technology support procedures. You will also gain strong problem-solving and communication skills that are critical in the technology support field. For a list of support specialists positions and other technology support occupations, visit the Association of Support Professionals.