Computer Support Specialists fall under the Strong Interest Inventory Realistic theme which strongly relates to individuals that enjoy working with technology, especially computers. Secondary themes associated with this job family include the Investigative and Conventional themes. These two themes relate with the analytical and practical focus (respectively) that is a central concept for this job family. When entering this field, attention to detail and persistence is emphasized in the face of obstacles. The Strong Interest Inventory® Assessment, which was first released in 1927, has been revised and refined with the goal of accurately and effectively identifying individuals’ overall interests, and using analysis to help them find a career that would be a good-fit occupation. Moreover, careers in the Realistic Theme Code category typically involve accomplishing specific tasks using one’s hands or body. People who score high in this theme generally prefer to solve particular problems and can find themselves in technical fields, such as Computer Support Specialists.
Computer Support Specialists are responsible for providing customers with quick, comprehensible answers to technical questions. Depending on their specialization, Computer Support Specialists may handle issues related to printing, installation, e-mail, word processing, or other aspects of hardware or software. Some Specialists provide direct support to customers, either over the phone, via email, or even in online chat rooms. Others may be responsible primarily for setting equipment up for employees in offices or corporations, performing minor repairs, or even developing training manuals and workshops to teach laypeople how to use the technical product at hand. Computer Support Specialists need to be comfortable working closely with others to establish requirements for new systems or modifications for existing ones. As they reach the higher ranks, Computer Support Specialists should attend conferences to remain up-to-date on current trends in the field, hire and direct workers to complete special projects, or conduct studies to improve workflow analysis, space design, or to reduce costs.
In order to be successful and effective, Computer Support Specialists use a wide range of tools and technology, and may also need to be able to instruct others to do the same. Desktop, laptop, and handheld computers, as well as external storage devices from floppy disks to CDs to flash drives are extremely important. They deal with a wide range of software applications, including access and administration software, backup or archival software, database reporting or interface and query software, and graphic design software are all widely used. These days, Microsoft Office Suite, Google Suite, Adobe Systems, and Apple products are all essential as well. In addition, those who are interested in working as Computer Support Specialists should be able to learn new programs quickly and easily, and be able to support others is becoming familiar with them as well.
Many Computer Support Specialists have some level of higher education—either a Bachelor’s degree (29%) or an Associate’s degree (18%). However, being able to closely listen to others’ problems, think critically about them, make a decision, and find a solution that will resolve them, all within a relatively short time, is even more important than a formal education. In addition to their technical knowledge, Computer Support Specialists should be able to communicate fluently in English and have strong reading and writing skills in order to convey their knowledge effectively to others. They also need to be able to keep up with the rapidly-changing technological field, and be able to apply their newly acquired knowledge effectively to their career.
Computer Support Specialists salary can be as low as $24,000 annually, as a new hire in Kentucky, and as high $122,000 as an experienced specialist in California. In the most-populated states (California, Florida, New York, and Texas), the average salary for Computer Support Specialists is around $55,000 per year. Employment trends area also generally rising nation-wide, with some states, like Utah and Colorado, growing as fast as 44%, while the slowest growth is in Massachusetts at just 4%. However, no state’s employment of Computer Support Specialists is declining.
Below are some employment trends for Computer Support Specialists:
- Median Computer Support Specialist Salary $25.13 hourly, $52,270 annually
- Employment: 671,800 employees
- Projected growth (2018-2028): Much faster than average (11% or higher)
- Projected job openings (2018-2028): 65,100
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Click on one of these to access more Realistic Theme Code Careers: Acupuncturist, Airline Pilot, Animal Trainer, Anesthesiologist Assistant, Baker, Barber, Bus Driver, Civil Engineer, Cardiovascular Technologist and Technician, Medical and Clinical Lab Technician, Game Warden, Forest Firefighter, Heating and Air Conditioning Mechanics, Recreational Protective Service Worker, Meat Trimmer, Molecular and Cell Biologist, Nanotechnology Engineering Technician, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Pathologist, Plumber, Radiologist, Police Patrol Officer, Surveyor, Telecommunications Engineering Specialist, Veterinarian, Veterinary Technologist and Technician, Welder, Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist.
Explore our Strong Interest Inventory® Blog Pages:
- Strong Interest Inventory Realistic Theme Explained
- Strong Interest Inventory Artistic Theme Explained
- Strong Interest Inventory Investigative Theme Explained
- Strong Interest Inventory Social Theme Explained
- Strong Interest Inventory Enterprising Theme Explained
- Strong Interest Inventory Conventional Theme Explained
- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org