Job Options for Technical Support Specialists

Research what it takes to become a technical support specialist. Learn about education requirements, job duties, salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Customer Service degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Technical Support Specialist?

As a technical support specialist, you'll provide training and support for computer users in many types of industries. You may work as a help desk analyst, a computer support technician, or a network administrator. Help desk analysts, who may also be called computer user support specialists, communicator directly with customers who may be experiences problems with their computers or other types of technology. You provide them with assistance and help them fix the problem. As a computer support technician, you will work with computer network systems, testing them and making sure they are functioning properly. You will troubleshoot problems and perform maintenance on networks. Another possibility is a network administrator. This career involves determining the computing needs of an organization or company and making sure all of them are met. Learn what the education and training requirements are for various technical support specialist jobs from the following chart:

Help Desk Analyst Computer Support Technician Network Administrator
Degree Required Associate's or bachelor's degree Associate's or bachelor's degree Associate's or bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Computer science
Information systems
Information technology
Computer science
Information systems
Information technology
Computer science
Information systems
Information technology
Networking
Key Skills Computer, communication, troubleshooting Computer, troubleshooting, patience Network-specific knowledge, problem solving, technical expertise
Job Growth (2014-2024) 13% (for all computer user support specialists)* 8% (for all computer network support specialists)* 8% (for network and computer systems administrators)*
Average Salary (2015) $52,430 (for all computer user support specialists)* $67,260 (for all computer network support specialists)* $82,200 (for network and computer systems administrators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Jobs Can I Choose From as a Technical Support Specialist?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems is often required in order to work in this field (www.bls.gov). In some cases, work experience and professional certification can also lead to a technical support career. Possible job titles include help desk analyst, computer support technician and network administrator. The BLS notes that many entry-level specialists begin their careers at the help desk.

What Would I Do as a Help Desk Analyst?

The help desk provides support to computer users by phone, e-mail, chat and instant message. Good communication and computer troubleshooting skills are required in order to work as a help desk analyst. In this position, you resolve issues related to networks and computer hardware or software. You may enter this role at the entry or intermediate level, depending on education and experience. Skilled analysts may have the opportunity to move into more technical computer or network support jobs.

What Would My Duties Be as a Computer Support Technician?

In this hands-on position, you install hardware and software, as well as troubleshoot and correct hardware and software issues. In smaller departments, computer support technicians are also responsible for networking and telecommunication support functions. As a support technician, you may perform some of the same duties as a help desk analyst, like resolving technical issues with users via phone or e-mail. A typical day could include equipment installation, user training, printer repair and parts replacement.

What Would My Job Duties Be in Network Support?

As a network administrator, you manage local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs). You are responsible for maintaining the connectivity and operation of servers, routers, switches and firewalls. In organizations that use voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) telephone technology, you may administer the VoIP system. The BLS notes that many network administrators begin their careers as help desk technicians or computer support specialists.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are a number of other similar jobs in computing and technology you may be interested in pursuing. For example, with a bachelor's degree you could become a computer network architect. These professionals design both local and wide area networks, connecting both office spaces and large areas across states and countries. A job in computer programming may also be worth considering. Programmers are responsible for writing and testing code for both computer software programs and applications that allows them to function properly. The job also generally requires a bachelor's degree.

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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