How to Become
a Computer Support Specialist
Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications
A computer support specialist plays an essential role in the operation of many companies and organizations. Technological support is essential to most projects in the modern economy.
If you are here, you probably want to learn how to become a computer support specialist. This guide provides information on educational resources, work environment, job outlook, and average salaries in this industry.
What Is a Computer Support Specialist?
A computer support specialist is responsible for providing resources, help, and advice for computer users. They need to have a range of interpersonal communication skills and computer skills.
Technical support specialists can work from communication centers, companies, technical support offices, or freelance from their homes. A computer support specialist also usually leads conferences for information technology (IT) teams on specific software.
What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Computer Support Specialist?
Education is a necessary step in your preparation to become a computer support specialist. Educational requirements may vary depending on the company and position you’re interested in. Many companies prefer their employees to have a bachelor’s degree. However, it’s possible to work in this field without one.
Best Computer Support Specialist Education Tracks
Selecting the right institution is crucial if you want a place to learn computer support skills. Each school offers different options, and it’s important to consider the cost, benefits, and length of the programs offered.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the possible pathways that can lead you to a career as a computer support specialist.
Community college is an incredible option if you want to learn the fundamentals of a particular field at a much lower cost than a university education. With this option, you can obtain an associate degree, which can lead you to entry-level positions in computer support.
If you choose to attend a two-year computer science program, you will learn about hardware, software, operating systems, programming, mathematics, and scientific analysis.
Computer Support Specialist Degrees
Although this is not a field where a bachelor’s degree is required, a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science can help you obtain excellent professional training. It will likely also help you skip entry-level jobs and allow you to apply for more senior positions. This path can take you four or five years.
Computer Support Specialist Bootcamps
If you want to study to become a computer support specialist, you can also consider a boot camp. Coding boot camps offer training in tech skills like coding, software engineering, data science, machine learning, app development, and more.
Bootcamps are a great way to learn a lot in a short period. Attending one can turn you into an indispensable computer assistant for any company. Many boot camps offer job assistance after you complete the program.
Computer Support Specialist Courses
A course is also an option for starting your journey as a computer assistant. You can find many professional resources online to increase your knowledge and improve your skills.
In addition to learning about computer science, you can improve your communication skills and critical thinking, learn about the experiences of other experts in the field, and much more.
How to Become a Computer Support Specialist A Step-by-Step Guide
There is no specific path to becoming a computer assistant. However, you can choose the most common options among professionals to get a job and be successful in this industry. Remember, your results depend on your performance and your abilities.
Below you will see the five best steps to obtain a successful job as a computer support specialist.
Analyze your possibilities
Before choosing a career, you should consider the job outlook in your region, the average annual salary, the labor benefits, and the cost of professional training.
The most common educational paths for computer assistants are community colleges and universities. If you are good at what you do, any educational path will help you achieve your goals.
Look for work
In the IT industry, you can turn your knowledge into valuable skills for completing tasks. Depending on the company you’re interested in, you might have to meet educational or experience-based requirements.
Your first job opportunity will help you learn how the company works. You may start as an assistant, but if you improve your performance, you can move up quickly, earn higher salaries, or even start your own company.
Improve your resume
All companies value education. With a more advanced degree or a specialized certificate, you could receive a higher salary. If you want to improve your resume, consider a master’s degree or a certification from a technology company.
Key Computer Support Specialist Skills
Most vacancies for these jobs require minimal skills and knowledge. Now that you know about the academic preparation of a computer assistant, we can tell you about the skills with the highest demand in the workplace.
Keep reading to learn more about the three skills that every computer support specialist should have.
Analytical Thinking Skills
If you work in a customer service center, you must be patient and responsible. Remember, not all users are computer experts, so you should pay attention to their computer problems, analyze their answers to diagnose the problem, and start looking for solutions.
Knowledge of Hardware and Software Features
This job requires knowledge of all the functions of computer hardware and software. Before joining a company, you should test your knowledge by fixing basic errors on a computer. You may have to train other users in how to transfer solutions and solve problems.
Technical Communication Skills
Communication is the most crucial skill in this job. You have to be technologically literate and be able to relate your ideas to people who may not be as knowledgeable as you. As a computer user support specialist especially, you’ll have to learn technical jargon and be able to analyze user responses to solve computer problems.
Technical communication includes speaking skills as well as writing skills. If you are a virtual assistant through chat channels, you must have perfect spelling, fast writing, and the ability to describe technical features and concepts.
Computer Support Specialist Salary and Job Outlook
Before choosing any career, you should consider the number of jobs available in your city or state. Projections are necessary to analyze other aspects such as salary increases and hiring time.
A BLS report says that jobs for computer support specialists will increase by eight percent between 2019 and 2029. Related occupations are expected to grow ten percent in this same period. BLS also shows that the median annual salary for these workers is $55,510. This number may increase or decrease depending on the specific field the specialist works in.
Entry-Level Computer Support Specialist Job Requirements
For an entry-level computer support specialist job, you have to perform technical functions like computer repair, software and hardware installation, and maintenance. You’ll also need soft skills, like general communication skills and the ability to provide written analysis.
A report from Zip Recruiter says that the average entry-level computer support specialist earns $39,107 per year.
What Does a Computer Support Specialist Do?
The day-to-day routine of a computer support specialist consists of different activities related to solving problems with computer systems. Responsibilities for this job may vary depending on your position and your experience.
Take a look at the most common job duties for this position.
Many computer support specialists work in call centers or chat programs. Your job is to understand the customer’s description of their problem and provide solutions. A desk technician must follow company protocol to serve users. Usually, you collect customer information and store it in the company’s database.
After listening to the customer’s description, you should offer a series of solutions to solve the most common problems. If the issue is complex, you will offer users a step-by-step process to resolve the error.
Supervises New Services
If your company offers computer software services, you can be part of the sales team and supervise the installation and operation of the programs on the client’s computers.
Before taking on this job, you will need to test the software or attend conferences to understand how the programs work.
Registers Clients and Delegates Responsibilities
In a call center, you will record each user’s information, write a description of their problem, and send reports to the administration, among other activities.
In corporate computer support specialist positions, you may be responsible for offering solutions to clients and superiors. You may also oversee a team of tech employees.
Computer Support Specialist Certifications
To do this job, you do not need a license to work in any of the 50 states. However, several technology and communication companies offer certifications that provide more knowledge and preparation for working in this field.
Continue reading to find out the three most valuable certifications for computer support specialists
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
Cisco offers a certification created for people who work with IT services. The CCNA certification validates your knowledge of computer science. The company recommends training before testing.
CompTIA is an organization that offers many specialized IT certifications. Some of the recommended programs are IT Fundamentals, Network+, A+, and Linux+. All certifications include an exam and special training focused on each area of work.
Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
This Microsoft certification allows you to develop professional skills to become an expert in the field. These processes help you improve your IT and computer science skills in almost any work environment.
How to Prepare for Your Computer Support Specialist Job Interview
These jobs require a suitable personality to deal with clients. Acing a job interview is essential to get your first experience as a computer support specialist. To help you during this stage, take a look at the most frequently asked questions in job interviews.
Computer Support Specialist Job Interview Practice Questions
- What is your experience as a network support specialist?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- Do you have experience in creating, installing, and maintaining software?
- Can you direct IT staff to create customer service plans?
- Describe a technical issue you’ve come across and how you resolved it.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Computer Support Specialist?
The timeline is entirely dependent on the skills you already have, and what educational path you choose to go down. If you want standard preparation, you will study for up to two years at a community college. A bachelor’s degree from a university will take four to five years to complete.
If you want a certification to improve your professional profile, it will take one to two months to prepare for your exam. Most people spend one to three months searching for a job after the necessary preparations.
Should You Become a Computer Support Specialist in 2021?
Yes. Most IT and software-related careers will grow a lot in the next few years. This career has a good job outlook, average salaries, and employee benefits.
Also, this era is remarkable for the accessibility of education. Colleges offer online courses and programs that you can take from home. Other institutions provide job assistance and job guarantees to help you start a career in a short time.
Computer Support Specialist FAQ
How many people work as computer support specialists today?
Reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics say that in 2019, 882,300 people were working as computer support specialists, and projections show that in 2029 that number will be 949,600, an increase of eight percent.
How much does a community college tuition cost?
Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows that in 2019-20, the average tuition and required fees for a public two-year institution totaled $11,069 per year.
Where does a computer support specialist work?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a plurality of computer network support specialists works in computer system design and related services. The next most common industries that hire computer support specialists are telecommunications companies, software publishers, and temporary help services.
What are the hours of a computer support specialist?
The hours for this job depend on the company and your position. Some companies may require 24-hour services, although most employees work between eight and 12 hours a day, five days a week.