To be successful as a technical support technician, you must be knowledgeable about computer systems, and have excellent interpersonal skills. This knowledge, particularly the technological aspects, can be gained through classes in computer science or a higher degree. Job growth should be faster than average over the next decade, and these professionals may provide support to staff within a particular company, or to customers by phone or email.
A job as a technical support technician may be right for you if you love computers, are highly technical, and enjoy helping people. Technical support technicians may either assist an organization's employees with their computer problems or help solve customer problems by phone or e-mail. Getting into this field may only require a high school diploma and proficiency with computers.
|Required Education||Variable; classes or an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering or information science|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||13% for computer user support specialists|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)*||$48,620 for computer user support specialists|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Technical support technicians are computer support specialists that work for companies assisting either employees or customers in resolving computer-related issues. They may also sometimes be called technical support specialists or help-desk technicians. Excellent customer service and problem-solving skills are essential to this career.
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Technical support technicians must have a solid understanding of computer hardware and software, since they spend a good portion of time answering questions about hardware and software problems. They may work for organizations, vendors, or companies that provide third-party contract technical support.
Technicians who work solely in a technical support capacity manage customer questions directly via telephone or e-mail. A high degree of technical skill is needed to solve problems in what can be a stressful environment.
In-house technical support technicians have many of the same problem-solving tasks as their remote counterparts, but they may also have additional duties that can only be performed in person. In-house technicians may be expected to repair minor problems in hardware, software, or equipment.
Support technicians may also write manuals for and train users in the use of new hardware and software. Installing new programs and equipment and ensuring the proper functioning of a company's existing computer system are also important daily tasks.
Regardless of what capacity technical support technicians work in, they must be willing and able to stay abreast of new technologies. Good ways of doing this include reading trade publications or manuals and attending industry-related trade shows or seminars.
Salary Info and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary earned by computer user support specialists was $48,620 in May 2015. The employment of computer support specialists, including technical support technicians, is expected to grow by 13% between 2014 and 2024, per the BLS. This represents faster than average employment growth compared to the average for all career fields.
Technical support technicians can provide in-house support a particular company's staff, or work remotely providing assistance and troubleshooting to customers via phone or email. Either way, a high school degree and computer expertise may be the only requirement, although an associate's or bachelors' degree in computer science will likely improve job prospects. Excellent customer service skills are an essential skill on top of knowledge of computer systems.