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Computer Support Specialist

What is this job like?

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 college degree might make it easier to get jobs.

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 their own.

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

How many jobs are there?

In 2008, there were about 565,700 computer support specialists. They worked in businesses, schools, government, and many other places.What about the future?

More of these workers will be needed because the number of computers and their level of complexity is rising. Workers will also be needed to teach people how to use new tools and programs.

In fact, support specialist jobs are expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations between 2008 and 2018.

Computer support specialists 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.

How much does this job pay?

Computer support specialists had average yearly wages of $46,370 in May 2008.

Are there other jobs like this?

Computer programmers

Computer scientists

Computer software engineers

Database administrators

Systems analysts

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