I was a Computer Science major that never obtained a Bachelor’s degree. Working a full time job, usually as an Administrative Assistant, I deduced two things. One was that programming was too time consuming and the second thing was that I really loved computers. Now that I have children preparing for college I know I need a more acceptable income in order to afford them the type of education they will need to succeed in life. The Information Technology field has many different directions you can choose to take. Which direction should I go? First I needed to find out if the IT field would continue to grow.
After checking the Career Cluster publication it stated “Over 216,000 jobs in Information Support and Services are projected immediately. Expect 21 to 35 percent job growth to 2012. ” With this forecast it seems the IT Support field is wide open. There are still many types of Information Support and Services positions. Some of these positions include Computer Support Specialist, Technical Support Specialist, and Help Desk Technicians. Computer support specialists provide technical assistance, support, and advice to customers and other users.
This occupational group includes technical support specialists and help-desk technicians. These troubleshooters interpret problems and provide technical support for hardware, software, and systems. They answer telephone calls, analyze problems by using automated diagnostic programs, and resolve recurring difficulties. Support specialists work either within a company that uses computer systems or directly for a computer hardware or software vendor. Increasingly, these specialists work for help-desk or support services firms, for which they provide computer support to clients on a contract basis.
Technical support specialists respond to inquiries from their organizations’ computer users and may run automatic diagnostics programs to resolve problems. They also install, modify, clean, and repair computer hardware and software. In addition, they may write training manuals and train computer users in how to use new computer hardware and software. These workers also oversee the daily performance of their company’s computer systems and evaluate how useful software programs are. Help-desk technicians respond to telephone calls and e-mail messages from customers looking for help with computer problems.
In responding to these inquiries, help-desk technicians must listen carefully to the customer, ask questions to diagnose the nature of the problem, and then patiently walk the customer through the problem-solving steps. Help-desk technicians deal directly with customer issues and companies value them as a source of feedback on their products. They are consulted for information about what gives customers the most trouble, as well as other customer concerns. Most computer support specialists start out at the help desk.
In researching Computer support specials and system administrators I have learned that they normally work in well-lighted, comfortable offices or computer laboratories. They usually work about 40 hours a week, but are sometimes required to provide computer support over extended hours, they may be “on call” for rotating evening or weekend work. Overtime may be necessary when unexpected technical problems arise. Like other workers who type on a keyboard for long periods, computer support specialists and systems administrators are susceptible to eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Computer support specialists and systems administrators constantly interact with customers and fellow employees as they answer questions and give advice. This is why I feel I would well suited for this field. I have always enjoyed fixing things and helping people solve problems. I tend to be very patient and have always enjoyed teaching. And in considering my family and how important my time is with them the normal hours of work per week make Technical Support and Help Desk Technician my top picks for possible careers.
Career Cluster –Focusing Education on the Future – Information Technology http://www.careerclusters.org/resources/ClusterDocuments/itdocuments/brochure.pdf Technology in Action, Introductory 4rd Edition, Author: Evans, Martin and Poatsy, Prentice Hall, Bundled ISBN: 0536073546 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer Support Specialist and System Administrators http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos268.htm#nature