What Do Computer User Support Specialists Do?
Computer User Support Specialists are the technology people who work most closely with end users, helping them become comfortable and proficient with their technology tools. This may involve training, troubleshooting, and on-call support for questions and problems. Often, end users will have little or no specific technology knowledge or experience, and they may even be afraid, embarrassed or feeling intimidated by computers. This position plays a vital part in ensuring that users will be able to make the most effective use of their technology.Users who need support will be at all levels of the organization, from clerical staff all the way to the CEO. In addition, many of them may be professionals in fields other than technology and have specialized skills and knowledge of their own. Nevertheless, they will have questions, problems and difficulties and need to call upon a Computer User Support Specialist for help.
Computer User Support Specialists Skills and Abilities
A Computer User Support Specialist is a combination of counselor, hand-holder, teacher, and consultant. In order to help users who need support, you should have:
- Proficiency with a wide variety of hardware and software
- Sensitivity for, and understanding of, users’ discomfort with technology
- Excellent communication skills in general, both verbally and in writing, and excellent listening skills in particular
- The ability to see things from a user’s point of view
- A strong orientation toward customer service
Computer User Support Specialists Duties
Computer User Support Specialists work in all types of organizations, with varying duties depending on the environment. However, you will find a number of tasks that all of these positions have in common. They include:
- Diagnosing and fixing a user’s problem, which may or may not be what the user thinks it is
- Designing solutions that prevent user problems in the first place
- Documenting how particular technologies work, especially from the end users’ point of view
- Training end users in how to use technology
- Staffing a Help Desk, providing in-person, telephone and email support on demand
Computer User Support Specialists Tools and Technology
You need to use many different technology tools as a Computer User Support Specialist, including word processing, email, problem logging and tracking software, and report writers. In addition, you will use the specific application systems found in the organization that you work for.
Education and Training for Computer User Support Specialists
Most Computer User Support Specialists today have some college, and some have either an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree. Only ten percent have no college at all. If you have a degree, it can be in almost any field, although hiring managers will tend look more favorably on applicants who majored in a technology-related subject.It is also very important in this position to constantly keep up-to-date in the field of technology. Your employer will very likely expect you to take continuing-education classes and subscribe to professional publications. Your employer may also offer on-the-job training which you will be expected to attend; in some cases, this may lead to additional certification.
Computer User Support Specialists Salary
As is the case with most technology positions, Computer User Support Specialists are generally paid well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries average around $60,000 a year, nationwide. Average salaries are expected to increase for at least the next few years. Employment opportunities are expected to grow faster than average for the next seven to 10 years, with an estimated 20,000 job openings each year.
Computer User Support Specialists Jobs by Geography
Technology positions of all kinds are in demand all across the country. This field has many good opportunities for well-paying Computer User Support Specialist jobs in every state. In general, larger states will have higher-paying jobs, but this position earns a good salary regardless of region.