How Can I Learn Computer System Support?

There are several educational, work and research opportunities you can pursue to learn more about computer system support. Read on to learn more about what this field involves and the paths you can take to learn the skills needed to find employment. Schools offering Computer Support Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Computer System Support

Computer system support is a general term for providing assistance in matters related to computer and information technology. If you work in this field, you'll be called upon to listen to problems clients or co-workers might have with their computer technologies. You'll then take care of the problem by troubleshooting and performing other diagnostic techniques before implementing the necessary fixes.

Important Facts About This Area of Study

Common Courses Computer programming, security, systems analysis and design, databases, networking
Prerequisites Knowledge of computers
On-the-job Training Internships or work-study positions
Similar Occupations Computer and information systems managers, computer network architects, computer programmers, computer systems analysts

What You'll Need to Know About Computer System Support

You'll need to know how to work with local area networks, wide area networks, routers, computer software and computer hardware. You will also need to know how to conduct regular maintenance, repairs and installations. To learn the skills needed in this field, you can either study on your own or enroll in a postsecondary education program. You can also find an entry-level job that provides you with the opportunity to learn computer system support skills. Pursuing certification is another way to gain skills in this field.

Education

There are various postsecondary education paths that can help you learn about computer system support. Many certificates and undergraduate programs are geared towards this computer science specialization. Many employers prefer applicants who hold bachelor's degrees in computer science or related majors, though some you might also find employment with an associate's degree and certification.

Some schools offer 2-year degree programs in computer support, which may include classes in the following topics:

  • Hardware and software support
  • Operating systems
  • Technical communication
  • Help desk support

Independent Study

Another potential route is to research the field yourself. This is an excellent way to learn about computer system support while you're still in high school. While in high school computer science class, you might focus your studies on the technical support aspects covered in your educational texts. Additionally, you might check out books related to computer system support from a library or purchase such books from a bookstore. If you work in a place that uses computers, you might contact the office's technical support team and ask them questions about how they got started in computer system support. You can also find computer training videos on the Internet.

Work Experience

By getting hands-on experience and working under a professional, you can learn how to address and solve problems in IT settings.

After obtaining some experience, you may find employment in a full-time computer support specialist position. In this role, you'll gradually expose yourself to many different technical issues that can arise in the field of computer system support. Skills may develop in these early work experience opportunities include problem solving, communication and troubleshooting. Be prepared to express yourself verbally and in writing due to the high use of phone conversations and e-mails.

Certification

Another way to learn computer support skills is to prepare for and take a certification exam, such as the CompTIA A+ credential. This exam covers computer hardware, software, operating system and network support, as well as mobile device support. You would take two exams, with one focusing on fundamental concepts and the other emphasizing practical application. You don't need to have any work experience to take the A+ exam, although CompTIA recommends that you have at least six months of hands-on experience.

Employment Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment growth for both computer user support specialists and computer support specialists between 2016 and 2026; both are expected to experience an above average growth of 11% during that time. In May 2018, the median wage was $53,470 for computer support specialists and $50,980 for computer user support specialists.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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