Computer Support Specialist

Computer support specialists help people use computers. When something goes wrong, support specialists figure out why. Then they try to fix it. To do well at this job, workers need to be good listeners and good at solving problems.

Many support specialists answer questions over the phone or by e-mail. Others also help people face-to-face. To answer a problem over the phone, the specialist takes the person through the necessary steps to fix the problem.

Computer support specialists also install printers, software, and other computer tools. Then they teach people how to use them. Sometimes they write instruction books. Some specialists check computer systems to make sure they are working well.

Computer support specialists may work for the company that makes the computers or software, or for an organization that uses the computers or software. They can work in schools, government, computer stores, and many other places. Some computer specialists even start their own businesses. They may be asked by a manufacturer for feedback about a product, since they work with it daily.

Most computer specialists spend a long time sitting in front of computers in offices or computer labs. Computer support specialists normally work a 40-hour week, but that can include being “on call” by phone when they are not on their shift. Some specialists work at night or on weekends.

To become a computer support specialist, one must have experience working with computers. Students can start getting ready by learning about computers in school, in the library, or on their own. Studying math is also important because it helps you learn to solve problems. The ability to read and speak well is useful, too.

Community colleges offer courses leading to computer-related degrees. Passing a certification test is another way to prepare for a computer job. For example, CompTIA A+ certification validates foundation-level knowledge and skills. Microsoft Certification helps validate your skills and experience whether you are just starting out or a seasoned professional. Computer companies, associations, and technical career schools such as TechSkills offer these tests.

Since technology is always changing, computer workers need to continue learning new skills throughout their careers. Those who have a strong background in computers and are up to date with the latest skills will have the best chance of getting a job.

Related Occupations:

Computer programmers
Computer scientists
Computer software engineers
Database administrators
Systems analysts


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