Skilled computer support specialists are valued by a variety of employers to provide technical assistance to computer users. They troubleshoot problems and answer questions to prevent downtime, while enhancing the use of hardware, software, peripheral equipment and operating systems. Preparing for a computer support specialist position can begin by enrolling in a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration program with a specialization in Computer Information Systems.
Computer Support Specialist Job Outlook
According to national data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2011, employment for computer support specialists is projected to grow faster than the average occupation through 2018. A growing job rate may not guarantee employment in the industry. Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research regarding actual job growth rates, which vary according to location, education and experience.
Computer Support Specialist Job Duties
Whether working for an organization that develops, sells or uses computer systems, computer support specialists provide much-needed technical assistance, support and advice to individuals and organizations. Some may be referred to as technical support specialists, while others are known as help desk technicians.
Technical support specialists typically answer inquiries from computer users. They may run diagnostic programs to determine the causes of and help resolve problems. Additional job duties may include writing training manuals, training users, and overseeing computer information systems. Resolving issues with Local Area Networks (LAN), Wide Area Networks (WAN) and other systems is a frequent activity of technical support specialists.
Help desk technicians respond to inquiries by telephone, email, live chat or other means. Typically, they are required to listen to the customer’s problem, diagnose the nature of the issue and walk the caller through the steps required to solve it. They may assist with installing software, maintaining computer systems, and repairing computer hardware.
Customer support specialists are typically called upon to provide feedback on computer hardware and software, guide improvements for future upgrades and consult on new software development.
While flexible schedules are typical for computer support specialists, most put in 40 hours per week. They may work at a customer’s location, so travel may be required. Weekend and evening hours may also be required. Some computer support specialists work from home.
Potential Salary for Computer Support Specialists
According to a 2010 national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, the average annual salary for computer support specialists was $49,930, while the middle 50% earned between $35,860 and $60,020. The lowest 10% earned approximately $28,300, while those in the highest 10% bracket brought in around $76,970 per year. Because salary potential may vary depending on location, education and experience, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual earning potential.
Education and Training for Computer Support Specialists
A college degree is the typical entry path to computer support specialist jobs. Many employers seek applicants with bachelor’s degrees in business, computer science or information systems. Some show preference to candidates with previous experience, which can be obtained through summer employment or internships while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
A successful path to a computer support specialist career may begin with earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Computer Information Systems. Coursework typically includes management information systems, systems analysis and design, survey of software systems and business computer skills.
Employers can be confident that individuals who have earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Computer Information Systems are able to:
- Effectively streamline systems and processes to improve productivity.
- Implement principles of operating systems theory and design.
- Examine various software systems, and identify advantages and roles.
- Apply both technical skills and business training to solve real-world problems.
- Leverage advanced skills and knowledge to succeed as a computer support specialist.
Some employers offer opportunities for continuing education. It may be possible to gain an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree and use a tuition assistance program to pay for a master’s degree.
Are You Considering a Career as a Computer Support Specialist?
Becoming successful as a computer support specialist takes excellent verbal and written communication skills and technical expertise. It also takes the interpersonal skills, current business knowledge and self-confidence that can be yours when you earn a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in CIS. Advance your computer support specialist career opportunities with high-demand skills!