Technical support analyst is a broad term describing professionals who provide technical support to computer users. As computer network support specialists, they assist employees within an information technology (IT) organization. As computer user support specialists, they assist non-IT computer users.
Technical support analysts, also known as computer support specialists, support information technology workers or computer network support specialists, are customer service professionals who assist clients with technical issues that arise while using a specific company's products. They might work for software companies, hardware manufacturers or information technology services.
Some employers prefer candidates who have a bachelor's degree, while others only require an associate's degree or vocational certificate. Due to the changing nature of technology, professionals in this industry must continue their education throughout their careers, and many earn industry-specific certifications.
|Required Education||Postsecondary vocational training, associate's degree or bachelor's degree|
|Recommended Skills||Communication and customer service skills, knowledge of technology, problem-solving skills.|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||Computer support specialist: 12%*|
|Median Salary (2015)||Computer support specialist: $51,470*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Employers often require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in computer science or business administration; however, in some instances, extensive work experience can replace education requirements. Coursework typically incorporates programming, system architecture and marketing. Students seeking advancement in a career as a technical support analyst can take classes in management and finance.
A number of certifications provided by technology companies can make a candidate more desirable to potential employers. Large corporations, such as Oracle and Microsoft, allow interested people to pursue certification in an array of specialties, such as network and security administration.
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Technical support analysts assist customers with usage problems, set up networks and configure software. They're also responsible for system performance and assisting customers with new products. According to March 2011 job postings on Monster.com, individuals working for technical solutions firms might help clients operate proprietary databases or software.
Internet service and cable providers often staff technical support analysts to help customers with connection issues. Positions with information technology companies might require work on site rather than addressing problems remotely. Though some employees interact with the public as they handle technical issues, many technical support analysts assist knowledgeable and skilled individuals, such as engineers, in operating specific equipment.
Some companies promote technical support analysts to sales or research positions. Substantial experience as a technical support analyst can lead to management or supervisory roles. Promotions for technical support analysts will largely depend on performance, though education is often a factor. Some of the best advancement opportunities for technical support analysts are available with software and hardware businesses.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the BLS, jobs for computer support specialists are expected to increase by 12% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the national average. The BLS reports that the median salary for technical support analysts was $51,470 a year as of May 2015.
Some technical support analyst jobs may require an associate's degree or certificate in a relevant field. However, the best job prospects will go to applicants holding a bachelor's degree and high proficiency in computer technology. Continuing education is required to keep up with new technologies.