Find out what types of career options are open to information and computer support professionals. Read about job duties and educational requirements here, as well as how much you can earn in this fast-growing field of technology.
Information and computer support services employees may handle a variety of computer problems, including repairing computer hardware, upgrading computer software and troubleshooting problems that users have encountered. Some of the professionals in the information support field include database administrators, computer systems analysts and computer support specialists.
Database administrators design, implement and modify the systems that organize and store data. You might move data from an old system to a new system, troubleshoot user problems or make recommendations for improving existing storage methods. Computer systems analysts help businesses solve problems by analyzing existing information technology systems and recommending improvements. Computer support specialists provide technical support for businesses and individuals with computer system issues. Computer support services may also include virus removal and computer application training.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment opportunities for computer support specialists and database administrators were expected to increase by a faster-than-average rate nationwide between 2012 and 2022. Computer systems analysts will see a 25%, or much-faster-than-average, increase in jobs during the same 10-year period. As of May 2013, the median annual salary of a computer support specialist was $47,660. At that same time, database administrators and computer systems analysts earned $78,520 and $81,190 respectively (www.bls.gov).
You may find some entry-level computer support positions with a certificate or an associate's degree in computer technical support or computer technolog, but some employers require a bachelor's degree in computer science, management information systems, computer engineering or a related field. If you want to pursue a career in database administration or computer systems analysis, you'll probably need at least a bachelor's degree. Some employers may only consider you for highly technical positions if you have a master's degree.
Certificate and associate's degree programs in information and computer support services can include topics in networking basics and concepts, computer operating systems and interpersonal communications. Additional topics in PC maintenance and support will also be included. Through a 4-year program in computer science, you might also have the chance to study computer errors and failures and file structures.
If you plan to work in the information and computer support industry, you should possess strong communication, mathematical and analytical skills. The ability to handle stress and multitask is key, especially when working under tight deadlines. An attention to detail can also be helpful when working in the information and computer support industry.