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What does a computer software specialist do?

When people have computer trouble, they ask these workers for help.

Computer support specialists help people use computers. When something goes wrong, support specialists figure out why. Then, they try to fix it.

Many support specialists answer questions over the phone. Others help people face-to-face.

Computer support specialists also install printers, software, and other computer tools. Then, they teach people how to use them. Sometimes, they write instruction books.

Some specialists check computer systems every day to make sure they are working well.

To be good at these jobs, workers need to be good listeners and good at solving problems.

Most computer specialists work in offices or computer labs. They spend a long time sitting in front of computers. This can strain their back, wrists, and eyes.

Some specialists work at night or on weekends.

How do you get ready?

There are many ways to become a computer support specialist. Going to college is one way. Some people earn an associate degree. Others earn a bachelor's degree. Having a degree might make it easier to get jobs.

Passing a certification test is another way to prepare for jobs. Computer companies and associations offer these tests.

Experience working with computers is also important.

Workers need to learn new computer skills throughout their careers.

Students can start getting ready now by learning about computers in school, in the library, or on your own.

Studying math is also important because it helps people learn to solve problems. Learning to read and speak well is useful, too.

How much does this job pay?

In 2002, the middle half of these workers earned between $29,760 and $51,680. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $67,550. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $23,060.

How many jobs are there?

In 2002, there were about 507,000 computer support specialists. They worked in businesses, schools, and other places.

What about the future?

More of these workers will be needed because the number of computers is rising. Workers will also be needed to teach people how to use new tools and programs.

In fact, support specialist jobs are expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations between 2002 and 2012.

Computer support specialists who are up to date with the latest skills will have the best chance of getting a job.

Are there other jobs like this?

  • Computer programmers
  • Computer scientists
  • Computer software engineers
  • Database administrators
  • Systems analysts
Where can you find more information?

More information about computer support specialists and systems administrators can be found in the Careers Database.

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics

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