PC Support Specialist

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PC Support Specialist


PC support specialists are the detectives of the computer world. Whenever someone has a problem with their computer, a program, or an operating system, they call a PC support specialist for their help and expertise. PC support specialists work closely with both computers and people to find solutions to PC-related questions.

PC support specialists are often on staff with companies that do a lot of computer-based work. Publishing companies, for example, have a number of databases, programs, and systems running all at the same time. One of the programs can cease functioning, and it is up to the support specialist to figure out why and restore the program.

There are thousands of things to know about PCs and the various programs and systems used. However, the PC specialist doesn't have to worry about knowing it all off by heart. The PC support specialist only has to have in-depth knowledge about the basics of word processors, operating systems, programming languages, and applications. While most problems are similar, a little bit of detective work will resolve any unique problems. A firm understanding of the fundamentals is required in order to troubleshoot the more complex hardware and software that is being developed today.

PC support specialists can also provide assistance over the phone or via email. Unlike PC support specialists who are on permanent staff with a company, PC support specialists who work for computer companies or computer vendors have to learn about the problems, assess the situations, and provide answers without actually seeing the computers in front of them.

When they work with a company, the support specialists are in charge of installing software and virus protection programs, maintaining the backing up files, and cleaning the computers within the company on a regular basis.

The PC support specialist is concerned with ensuring computers are up and running, but they are also preoccupied with ensuring the users are finding the computers easy to understand and navigate. When the systems are up and running, the hardware functioning properly, and the users have no complaints, then the support specialist has done their job.
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Mayfield College
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Programs Offered:
  • Computer Support Technician



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Interested in becoming a PC support specialist? Along with a thorough knowledge of PCs, support specialists need to be organized and able to balance a number of pressing projects at once. They need to be calm, patient, and respectful of others, regardless of their circumstances or questions. They should have good listening skills, and be able to ask questions to gather additional information. They should also be inquisitive, and enjoy problem solving.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Communicate regularly with users
  • Maintain computer systems for users
  • Troubleshoot users' issues as they arise
  • Collect information, research solutions, and analyze possible resolutions to issues
  • Test and implement new solutions
  • Evaluate resolutions for ways to prevent future problems
  • Place follow-up calls to users about ongoing issues
  • Learn new hardware and software to be supported
  • Care for all computer-related equipment, including workstations and printers
  • Install security systems on new equipment
  • Install new software
  • Implement virus protections
  • Back up important files
  • The typical day for a PC support specialist will involve a lot of working with both computers and people. The support specialist will ask a lot of questions about the problems, and experiment with the computers to try and find quick, effective solutions. PC support specialists don't travel much, working from home or an office; however, if they work at a company they travel throughout the building, from computer to computer. They work in small teams of computer specialists, and alongside the workers in the company.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • PC support specialists can work for computer companies or vendors, or on staff with companies or government agencies with a large number of employees who use various PC programs. They can also work independently as private consultants.
  • They can work in comfortable offices, or from home. They work in small teams of computer specialists; however, with smaller companies they may perform a number of tasks and work alone. They usually work regular hours, unless there is a computer-related emergency and they have to solve it before heading home.

  Long Term Career Potential  
PC support specialists can go on to become help desk specialists, computer technicians, or PC administrators. They can provide system and network support or sell programs and computers. They can become IT instructors, or write information books and articles for people learning to use PCs on their own.

  Educational Paths  
In order to become a PC support specialist, individuals should take a college program in PC support. They should also consider some courses in psychology and communication to ensure good relationships with clients.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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