Computer Support Specialist

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

What is this job like?

When people have computer trouble, they ask these workers for help.

Computer support specialists help people use computers. When something goes wrong, support specialists figure out why. Then, they try to fix it.

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 using their own computer.

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 every day to make sure they are working well.

To be good at these jobs, workers need to be good listeners and good at solving problems.

Computer specialists may work for the company that makes the computer software or for the business that uses certain computer software, such as a school. They may assist other employees at the company or the customers of that company. They also may be asked by the maker of the software for feedback on good or bad things about the product, since they work with it daily.

Most computer specialists work in offices or computer labs. They spend a long time sitting in front of computers. This can strain their back, wrists, and eyes.

Computer specialists normally work a 40-hour work 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.

How do you get ready?

There are many ways to become a computer support specialist. Having a degree might make it easier to get jobs. Some people earn an associate degree. Some employers prefer to hire people who earn a bachelor's degree.

Passing a certification test is another way to prepare for jobs. Computer companies and associations offer these tests.

Experience working with computers is also important.

Workers need to learn new computer skills throughout their careers.

Students can start getting ready now by learning about computers in school, in the library, or on your own.

Studying math is also important because it helps people learn to solve problems. Learning to read and speak well is useful, too.

Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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