How Much Does a Computer Support Specialist Earn Yearly?
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A computer support specialist is a professional technician who helps individuals, businesses, and other organizations get the most out of their computer systems. They are also commonly known by a variety of other titles such as computer network support specialists and/or information technology or IT specialists.
Highly knowledgeable of old, new, and developing technologies, computer support specialists have the skillset and training to repair almost any kind of technological malfunction. Essentially, these professionals work with computers in the same way that a plumber works with pipes, toilets, and sinks.
Computer support specialists perform a variety of job duties that revolve around repairing computer hardware, software, and information technology (IT) systems.
There are different specializations that these tech-savvy professionals may choose to concentrate their skills; for example, maintaining everyday computer operations, configuring equipment and repairing malfunctions, assisting individual customers with their computer processing needs, and documenting technical procedures and issues.
Additionally, many computer support specialists provide valuable insight and recommendations to company decision-makers and executives.
The primary job duty of a computer support specialist is to maintain an organization’s everyday computer operations. In order to ensure that all technical equipment, hardware, and computer software is functioning exactly as intended, computer support specialists regularly run preemptive tests on networking systems. These tests help them anticipate what sorts of processing errors are likely to occur; and then, based upon the results, they perform maintenance updates to prevent any such errors from actually occurring.
An important responsibility of computer support specialists is to ensure all technological systems are working correctly from day one. It is their duty to set up technical equipment, properly connect all cables, configure computer hardware and software, and install updates to programs and operating systems as needed. Furthermore, computer support specialists also repair malfunctioning equipment, manage diagnostics, and troubleshoot internet systems and networks.
In addition to taking care of technical matters, most computer support specialists also provide customer service assistance. These job duties involve answering phone calls, listening to customers as they describe their technical issue, identifying all likely causes of their issue, and delivering step-by-step instructions to help users resolve the problem.
In cases where they are unable to help customers via the phone, it is not uncommon for computer support specialists to meet with customers in person and repair their technical issues on-site.
Whether they are solving technical issues for individual customers or for the entire organization through which they are employed, computer support specialists are typically required to document each cause and solution to every issue they encounter.
Furthermore, as technology continuously evolves, computer support specialists are expected to be the experts on each and every one of those advancements. To ensure that they always have the latest, up-to-the-minute information, computer support specialists read technology magazines about new hardware and software developments.
Computer support specialists document each technical issue that they encounter because it is their duty to update management about these malfunctions and provide valuable insight into how they can best be prevented in the future. Administrators rely on computer support specialists for their recommendations and guidance to make important decisions when purchasing IT equipment, hardware, and upgrades to software.
While working conditions may vary depending upon the specific industry and type of employer, nearly all computer support specialists perform their job duties within a typical office setting. For example, those who primarily provide technical assistance over the phone work in cubicles at large corporate call center.
Visiting multiple different offices in one day, some computer support specialists travel from client to client, while others are able to practice from home. For the most part, they work a standard Monday-through-Friday and 9-5 schedule. However, technology can malfunction at any time, day or night; and accordingly, there are plenty of computer support specialists who work weekends and other odd hours such as second and third shifts.
There is so much information an aspiring computer support specialist should know before applying to or interviewing for a job. While formal education may not officially be required, earning a bachelor’s or associate’s degree is an excellent way to prepare oneself for a successful career in computer support. It should be mentioned, however, the following is not a complete list as there may be many more concepts that students learn in a computer support specialist degree program.
Computer support specialists enjoy working in one of the few professions that does not officially require any type of degree or formal education. Employers simply want applicants who are highly knowledgeable of computers, and for the most part, they are not particularly concerned with how they achieved it. Of course, there are certain advantages to obtaining a degree and there are a variety of different educational paths from which to choose.
For entry-level positions, employers may select candidates who hold an associate’s degree or have at least completed a few courses in computer science and technology. However, those who aspire for a higher ranking and/or managerial position should earn a four-year bachelor’s degree, preferably in business administration with a concentration in computer information systems.
As the modern world continues to make more and more goods and services available through the internet, universities and colleges have done the same with their degree programs. Students may now conveniently earn a computer support specialist bachelor’s or associate’s degree online and right from their very own home computers.
Through an online educational program, aspiring computer support specialists can acquire the very same technical skills that they would learn by attending any on-site program. While many online computer support specialist degrees can be earned solely through a web-based format, some schools advise that students take their advanced courses on-campus so that they may practice their skills on other computers than their own.
Many computer support specialists begin their careers by assisting individual customers and making trips to their offices, personal homes, or delivering instructions over the phone. As a result of honing these skills and becoming more knowledgeable every day, opportunities for advancement typically present themselves much sooner in computer support than they do in other professions.
For example, after working in customer service, companies often promote computer support specialists to software development or computer network administration to create systems as opposed to merely solving their issues.
Computer support specialists use different tools and software programs to perform their professional duties. While some functions may overlap from time to time, each one of these tools carries out a particular task according to its own unique processing abilities. It should be noted, however, that the following list is incomplete and that there may be many more tools that computer support specialists use on a daily basis.
Computer support specialists use help-desk applications to record and respond to issues identified by the users. These applications often allow the specialists to respond through emails or phone.
Computer support specialists use data base management software or DBMS to retrieve, organize and secure large quantities of information as it is stored and retrieved. For example, as a starting point, many support specialists utilize internal DBMS to retrieve solutions for the past issues that are related to the issue on hand.
When developing new software, computer support specialists work within a software development environment or SDE to streamline programming tasks and coding. SDE is also used when making software updates and other changes.
Enterprise resource planning or ERP is a system that integrates the numerous different software programs that businesses use to process day-to-day enterprise activities and transactions.
A computer’s hardware and every one of its software programs run through its operating system or OS. All of the daily duties performed by computer support specialists require OS expertise.
When working with highly sensitive and confidential information, computer support specialists use encryption software to protect data from hackers.
While most of their professional working knowledge is memorized, there will always be some tasks that require research. In these cases, computer support specialists use technical manuals, how-to guides, coding cheat sheets, and other types of reference materials.
In addition to the technical knowledge and expertise that is required to be a computer support specialist, candidates need to possess a wide variety of soft skills and personality traits in order to have a successful career in the field. While the following list is a great start to understanding the qualities one may need, there are likely many more than what is listed here.
Below are seven of the most common reasons why so many computer support specialists love their careers.
Like most professions, there are disadvantages to being a computer support specialist. Here are a few of the most common complaints.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer support specialists can expect to see opportunities of employment increase 11-percent by 2026. Faster than the average of all other professions, this growth is attributed to the fact that technology is continuously always evolving while our reliance on it exponentially increases. And as every bit of technological equipment currently requires maintenance updates, that number is unlikely to drop any time soon.
On the other hand, some speculate that as cloud storage and processing continues to develop, companies may become so efficient at streamlining their tech support that computer support specialists will actually to see a drop in employment opportunities by 2036.
Information security analysts are computer systems experts who work to prevent unauthorized individuals and organizations from hacking into computer systems and stealing highly sensitive, confidential, and sometimes even government-classified information. Information security analysts help prevent identity theft and keep customers’ credit card information private while making online purchases.
A computer systems analyst combines business-savvy expertise with information technology to build computer systems and software programs for a variety of different clients. What sets these computer science professionals apart from others is the fact that they must know about business in order to design computer programs to meet the specific needs of any company.
Computer hardware engineers are the shoulders upon which all other computer science professionals stand. They design, develop, and engineer the very hardware equipment that is a computer. While programmers and coders, certainly have a significant influence upon the technologies that we use every day, their ideas could not come to life without the tangible equipment and hardware to support it. In other words, computer hardware engineers create the canvases upon which software developers paint.