Job Outlook for Computer Support Specialists
Employment for computer support specialists is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, Quicker than the average for all field occupations. More support/maintenance services will be needed as organizations upgrade their computer equipment and software. Computer support specialists staff will be needed to respond to the installation and computer repair requirements of increasingly complex computer equipment and software. However, a rise in cloud computing could increase the productivity of computer support specialists, slowing their growth at many firms. Growth will be highest at firms that provide cloud-computing technology. Employment of support specialists in computer systems design and related firms is projected to grow 46-50 percent from 2012 to 2022.
Employment growth also should be strong in healthcare industries. This field is expected to greatly increase its use of information technology (IT), and support services will be crucial to keep everything running the proper way.
Some lower level tech support jobs, commonly found in call centers, may be sent to countries that have lower wage rates which has already been happening for quiet sometime. However, a recent trend to move jobs to lower cost regions of the United States may offset some loss of jobs to other countries.
Pay For Computer Support Specialists
The median annual wage for computer network support specialists was $59,100 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than the amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,900, and the top 10 percent earned more than $96,890.
In May 2012, the median annual wages for computer network support specialists in the top four industries in which these specialists worked were as follows:
|Finance and insurance||62,760|
|Computer systems design and related services||60,060|
|Educational services; state, local, and private||51,930|
The median annual wage for computer user support specialists was $46,430 in May 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,620, and the top 10 percent earned more than $77,430.
In May 2012, median annual wages for computer user support specialists in the top four industries in which these specialists worked were as follows:
|Computer systems design and related services||46,695|
|Educational services; state, local, and private||43,625|
Most computer support specialists have full-time work schedules; however, many do not work typical 9-to-5 jobs. Because computer support is important for businesses, support specialists must be available 24 hours a day. As a result, many support specialists must work nights or weekends or on call.
Here’s how to become a Computer Support Specialists
Because of the wide range of skills used in different Technology jobs, there are many areas into the occupation. A bachelor’s degree is required for some computer support specialist positions, but an associate’s degree or post secondary classes may be enough for others, even still, vast experience in the field could be sufficient.
Education requirements for computer support specialists vary. Computer user support specialist jobs require some computer knowledge, but not necessarily a post secondary degree. Applicants who have taken some computer-related classes are often qualified. For computer network support specialists, many employers accept applicants with an associate’s degree, and even not schooling at all as long as experience is present, although some prefer applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.
Large software companies that provide support to business users who buy their products or services often require a bachelor’s degree. More technical positions are likely to require a degree in a field such as computer science, engineering, or information science, but for others, the applicant’s field of study is less important.
To keep up with changes in technology, many computer support specialists continue their education throughout their careers.
When they start out, computer user support specialists often work on simple problems. Over time, they learn more about the software or equipment they support and advance to positions that handle complex questions. Advancement can take anywhere from several months to a year, depending on how complicated a position is and how fast the specialist learns.
Many of these workers advance to other information technology positions, such as network and computer systems administrators and software developers. Some become managers in the computer support services department. Some organizations provide paths for support specialists to move into other parts of the organization, such as sales.
Customer-service skills. Computer support specialists must be patient and sympathetic/people’s skills. They must often help people who are frustrated with the software or hardware they are trying to use.
Listening skills. Support workers must be able to understand the problem that their customer is describing and know when to ask questions to clarify the situation at hand.
Problem-solving skills. Support workers must identify both simple and complex computer problems, analyze them, and resolve them.
Speaking skills. Support workers must describe the solution to a computer problem in a way that a nontechnical person can understand. layman’s terms.
Writing skills. Strong writing skills are useful for preparing instructions and email responses for employees and customers, as well as real-time web chat interactions.