Become a Computer Support Specialist

Computer support technicians are essential to the efficiency of a company's information technology.

Job Description

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A computer support specialist provides technical assistance to a company's computer users. They troubleshoot problems and provide technical support for hardware, software and computer systems. Computer tech support specialists analyze problems by using diagnostic programs and resolve computer problems.

A computer support specialist also installs computer software and repairs faulty hardware. If you've ever had a hard drive crash, you know how important good computer support techs are. They sometimes recover invaluable lost data, and will install a new hard drive.

Help desk technicians answer telephone calls and emails from customers who have computer problems. They must have good listening skills and ask questions to diagnose the nature of a problem, and then patiently walk the customer through the problem-solving steps.

Computer Support Specialist Education

While training requirements vary, many employers prefer to hire computer support specialists with formal college education. A bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems is a prerequisite for some jobs; other jobs may require only a computer-related associate's degree, or relevant computer experience and IT certification.

Computer support specialist promotions often depend more on performance than on formal education, but continuing education is helpful to further your IT career. As computer support techs gain experience, they may begin to specialize, for instance in computer networking or telecommunications repair, or work their way up to other positions such as a computer software engineer or database administrator. In some cases, they may advance because of their on-the-job experience, but in others additional computer education is essential.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of computer support specialists is expected to increase 12 percent through 2024, which is faster than average. While some IT phone support will be outsourced to other countries, companies will always need on-site computer support specialists to make hands-on computer repairs for their employees.