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Computer Support Technician: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a computer support technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and requirements to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

The computer support technician wears many hats. Responsibilities include troubleshooting, answering employees' technical questions and providing general technical support. Often, the computer support technician serves as a company's main authority for employees regarding their personal computer and related peripheral equipment. The education requirements for this career vary and often depend heavily on applicants' skill sets with different kinds of computers, programs and hardware, rather than specific degrees.

Required Education High school diploma and minimum computer skills are mandatory; applicants with postsecondary certificates or degrees may be preferred by employers
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 17% for all computer support specialists*
Median Salary (2013) $46,620 for computer user support specialists; $60,180 for computer network support specialists*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

The computer support technician makes sure a company's computer equipment is configured to conform to established guidelines. He or she maintains all terminals and peripherals including printers, modems, personal computers and data communications machines. Responsible for locating and ascertaining the nature of network errors using appropriate software, the computer support technician is in charge of troubleshooting. Along with these duties, he or she fixes and replaces equipment when it is down. The position often requires the individual to be the authority on repairing equipment malfunctions and supplying necessary technical support. The job also entails keeping all computer supplies handy and available. In some cases, the computer support technician monitors compliance with the company's policy on end-users' network use.

Requirements for the Position

This position demands at least a high school diploma, but often a college degree is required. Excellent computer skills are necessary as well as the ability to solve problems and troubleshoot. Customer service experience is usually required. The computer support technician should have strong communication skills and be able to converse with and support those employees who are not technologically proficient.

The position also requires knowledge of basic hardware and software functions and networking. If the computer support technician works in a call center, he or she should be able to type quickly and have the writing skills to enter the data in the job ticket correctly. Organizational skills are essential.

Familiarity with both the Macintosh and personal computer is also a requirement. The computer support technician should be motivated with a mind attuned to detail. People who wish to become computer support technicians should be willing to accept responsibility and be dependable. Knowledge of different versions of Microsoft, including WinXP through Vista and Windows 7 is also essential.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Computer support specialists are expected to have about average growth of 17% over the decade spanning 2012-2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median annual wage for computer user support specialists was $46,620 in May 2013, and most salaries ranged from $27,780 to $78,410. The BLS published the median salary earned by computer network support specialists as $60,180 the same year.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics