Working as a Computer Support Specialist

By Eric Hammer

Even though many computer support specialist jobs have been outsourced to India, there is still a tremendous demand for them right here in the United States as well. That's because the Indian support staff that some companies tried to work with often had thick accents which were difficult for Americans to understand and so many such companies have shifted their operations back to this country.

Beyond that, there was and still is a need for people who can come and work physically on people's computers on site meaning that there are plenty of jobs available. In fact, US News and World Report ranks computer support specialist as one of the best careers to go into for 2011.

The job is well suited for people who like to learn new things since you'll need to constantly keep up with the latest technology in order to be able to continue to do your job well. Also, because this job involves working with people in a wide variety of fields, you'll need to have good people skills.

How Much Can You Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer support specialists earned an average of $46,370 in 2008. The numbers should be somewhat higher now, however keep in mind that some computer support specialists also earn less if they work in low paying fields such as in store technicians.

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Be prepared for a wide variety of computer problems to be thrown your way. Everything from a simple problem of too much material having been downloaded to assorted viruses on the computer and dead hard drives that people are trying to have restored can come your way in a typical day.

You should also be ready to work in a variety of settings as a computer support specialist can work in the field, fixing computers in people's homes, at a call center when you will be answering technical support questions and even in a technology store such as Best Buy where you'll work installing software and hardware into computers that customers purchase in the shop.

Qualifications / Requirements

While there are no formal requirements to become a computer support specialist, you should consider going to school and getting a BA in computer science. Alternatively, there are a number of courses available that provide certification for computer support specialists where you won't need to earn a formal bachelor's degree.

First Steps

Start by reading up on computers. Consider trying to build your own computer from scratch and installing the hardware and software yourself. This will be good training for when you need to do the job for a customer. Then, go to school to earn your degree or certification and look for a job in the field of your choice, either as a telephone technician, working in people's homes or working in a store.

Resources Computer Support Specialist - Another introduction to the concept with a bit more depth than the BLS web page mentioned above.

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