how to become a computer support specialist

What does a Computer Support Specialist do?

A computer support specialist provides technical support for a company, organization’s customers, or their employer’s staff. They use computer software and equipment to assist them in providing advice and help to their employer and their employee’s. They carry a variety of titles such as technical support specialist, information technology specialist (IT specialists), computer technician, and several others.

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How to Become a Computer Support Specialist

A computer support specialist may need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in computer science or other area of technology. A recognized apprenticeship may be recognized in this career field as well. A technical background would be expected usually accompanied by 1-2 years of training both formal and informal, such as training with experienced workers. A vocational school may also be considered for an applicant.

Job Description of a Computer Support Specialist

A computer support specialist would watch over computer systems everyday in a company or organization and give minor repairs, when needed, to software, hardware or other equipment in this job. They would follow any specifications in installation or design of operating systems cables or other software and be sure the system operates correctly when issuing commands. If a major problem would occur the computer support specialist would connect with appropriate technicians or vendors for repair and service to any hardware or software or other product. They would be expected to maintain their knowledge of current technology by reading technical manuals and other sources of information and use their up-to-date education to give any appropriate training and materials to the users of the computer’s software or hardware or other equipment.

A computer support specialist would need skills in telecommunications, such as, broadcasting, transmission, control and other systems as well as knowledge in engineering and technology in order to give practical application in techniques, procedures and other areas of services and goods. A computer support specialist would also be using their listening and communication skills to be clear that both the user and support specialist understand any problem, solution or user requirements.

Computer Support Specialist Career Video Transcript

A combination of technical know-how, persistence, and customer service skills are needed to be a computer support specialist. They provide essential help and advice to users of computer software and related equipment in virtually every type of organization in the country. There are two types of specialists. Network Support Specialists keep computer networks running efficiently for their organization. They work within the IT department to test systems, perform maintenance, and troubleshoot local and wide area networks and Internet systems. Typically, their customers are other IT professionals.

Computer User Support Specialists (or Help Desk Technicians) help individual employees work through computer problems. Talking with workers who do not have an IT background, specialists avoid jargon as they ask questions to diagnose a computer problem, and then walk users through steps to resolve the issue. They also set up and repair computer equipment and train users on new hardware and software.

Computer support specialists are employed in a variety of industries, including IT, education, finance, healthcare, and telecommunication. Many help desk technicians work for call centers and firms that contract with businesses, some work from home-based offices. Most computer support specialists work full time, and many work nights and weekends. There are many paths into this field; a bachelor’s degree is required for some positions, but an associate’s degree or related computer classes may be enough for other jobs.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer Support Specialists.

National Center for O*NET Development. 15-1151.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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