Computer Support Specialist Review

Computer support specialists assist clients with a variety of technical issues. Educational requirements vary dramatically by job, but there's always plenty of room for advancement for those willing to seek more training.

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The Good

Jobs in many different industries

Computer support specialists aren’t limited to working for computer companies; they work in all types of industries, helping customers tackle issues with their hardware or software. Some support specialists deal with clients who have more basic problems, such as a home computer that won’t turn on. Other computer support specialists focus solely on a particular organization’s computer network. These types of specialists work in the healthcare, education, and finance fields, among many others. The extensive use of computers and technology in most professions today means knowledge of this kind will always be in demand somewhere. If you’re interested in this field, you’ll have plenty of employment options.

Easy to move up the ladder

Once you get some experience under your belt, the knowledge you gain as a computer support specialist can help you land a more advanced computer job, such as systems administrator. You may also need to pursue additional education if you want to go this route, although a more advanced degree isn’t always necessary to move up. After you’ve gained a few years of experience, it’s possible to secure a management position supervising other computer support specialists — it just depends on how well you perform and which company you work for. Overall, if you’re interested in advancing in the information technology field, a career as a computer support specialist is a good place to start, as it enables you to get your foot in the door and learn some valuable skills applicable to future jobs.

Perfect for those with good communication skills

In addition to technical knowledge, the most important skill a computer support specialist needs is the ability to communicate clearly and effectively with clients. Computer and software problems can be extremely confusing, especially for those who aren’t technologically inclined. It’s essential to be patient and ask the right questions in order to diagnose the issue. Then, you must walk the client through the steps to solve the problem. For those who enjoy assisting and interacting with others, this job is an excellent fit. Certain complex tasks may require you to work with other computer support specialists to resolve the issue, so the ability to work well as part of a team is also important to this type of job.

Convenient remote work an option

Depending on where you work, you may be able to work from home since most customer issues are simply handled via phone or email. Few vocational careers allow you to work away from the office, so if you’re someone who prefers completing projects in your own space, this is a huge plus. Of course, not every computer support specialist job is going to offer this opportunity. Some require visiting your clients in person to solve their computer problems, so definitely ask your prospective employer if you’re interested in telecommuting.

The Bad

Night and weekend shifts are common

Computer support specialists often work overnight, weekend, or even holiday shifts to ensure someone is always standing by to help clients. There isn’t much that can be done about this, so it’s something you should be conscious of before committing to a job in this field. If you prefer the traditional 9-to-5 work hours, this probably isn’t the right career for you.

Educational requirements vary widely by job

Some computer support specialists may be able to get by with only a basic amount of technical knowledge while others need a bachelor’s degree for an entry-level position. It’s all going to depend on exactly what job you’re pursuing and what your employer prefers. Unless you know exactly what job and company you’re gunning for, this makes it difficult to determine how much schooling you need. In general, though, it’s better to err on the side of more education because you’ll have better job prospects and more options to choose from.

The Details

Details

  • Career Growth (2012-2022): 17%
  • Median Pay: $48,900
  • Number of Jobs: 722,400
  • Number of New Jobs (2012-2022): 123,000

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