If you are interested in a career as a technical support technician, computer programmer, user support specialist, consider earning a degree in computer and information support services. An associate's degree can lead to entry level positions providing support services to a business's customers while a bachelor's degree in computer and information support services is required to become a computer programmer.
Individuals who hold an associate's or bachelor's degree or certification in computer and information support services can initially find work providing support to both a business's customers as well as its employees. With time and experience, these workers can advance into more challenging managerial and technical roles.
|Career Titles|| Computer User Support Specialists
(Including Help Desk Technicians and Technical Support Specialists)
|Education Requirements||Variable; computer classes, associate's degree or bachelor's degree||A bachelor's degree in computer science or a related discipline|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||13%||-8%|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$48,620||$79,530|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The potential opportunities for those who successfully complete classes or degree programs that prepare them for careers in computer and information support services are numerous. They include help desk technician, technical support specialist and computer programmer.
Help Desk Technician
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), help desk technicians assist a company's customers with problems they are having with the computer hardware or software (www.bls.gov). This assistance is typically provided over the phone or via e-mail. The BLS also notes that many people begin their careers in computer support by working as a help desk technician.
Technical Support Specialist
Technical support specialists provide computer support services within a business or organization, according to the BLS. A technical support specialist responds to reports of employee problems with computer hardware and software, trains employees in the use of office technology and may even compose manuals and other training materials for the organization.
Salary and Job Prospects
The BLS classifies both help desk technicians and technical support specialists as computer user support specialists. The median annual salary for computer user support specialists as of May 2015 was $48,620. The BLS also projected good job prospects for those wishing to enter the field between 2014 and 2024, noting that employment should increase by 13% during this time.
The BLS states that employees of computer companies or within IT departments can advance rapidly into positions that offer more responsibility and higher pay. Individuals who excel in support positions may eventually become computer programmers. According to the BLS, programmers translate the directions provided by software and systems engineers into instructions that can be understood by a computer. A programmer may also maintain existing programs by making appropriate repairs and updates.
Salary and Job Prospects
The BLS expected the employment of computer programmers to decrease by 8% between 2014 and 2024. The tendency to hire staff overseas that can be paid lower salaries is part of the reason for the job decline in this field. The median salary for computer programmers as of May 2015 was $79,530.
Computer programmers repair and update computer software and systems. Computer user support specialists help troubleshoot problems users are having with software or hardware. While computer programmers will see a decline in jobs in their field from 2014 to 2024, job prospects for computer user support specialists are expected to remain strong, and those with a relevant degree should be able to compete for openings in this field.