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Career Profile: Computer Support Specialist

Why Is Computer Support a Job of Tomorrow?
Even the most technologically savvy people encounter issues with their computers from time to time. In these instances, computer support specialists are there to help users resolve those problems so that they may return to using the computer quickly. As the number of households and businesses with computers increase, and technology becomes more and more advanced, computer support specialists will see a surge in demand. Employment opportunities for computer support specialists are expected to grow 18 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Computer support specialists make an average salary of $41,470 annually.

What Does a Computer Support Specialist Do?
Computer support specialists assist in troubleshooting computer problems. Whenever users encounter an issue that they cannot solve, computer specialists can help remedy the situation. They are trained in fixing a myriad of common as well as rare and complex glitches, including program installation problems, connectivity issues and sound quality concerns. There are several types of computer support specialists. Technical support specialists work with an organization as in-house troubleshooters. When someone reports a problem, the technical support specialist may run a diagnostic test on the problem computer, modify or clean its hardware and software, or repair it if it is damaged. They also manage the organization's day-to-day computer systems and usage. Help-desk technicians work with outside customers who contact the help desk employees with their problems through the Internet or phone. From the user's description, help-desk technicians must diagnose the computer's problem and talk the user through the steps to resolve it.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Computer Support Specialist?
There are no set education requirements for computer support specialists. Some employers prefer those who have at least an associate degree in a technology-related field, but others find certification and ample professional working experience sufficient. An associate degree would take about two years to earn, and courses cover such topics as computer language and business models. Prospective computer support specialists can increase their marketability by seeking out certification, which is offered by a variety of institutions.