Summary Report for:
15-1151.00 - Computer User Support Specialists
Provide technical assistance to computer users. Answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, or via telephone or electronically. May provide assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, installation, word processing, electronic mail, and operating systems.
Sample of reported job titles: Computer Specialist, Computer Support Specialist, Computer Technician, Electronic Data Processing Auditor (EDP Auditor), Help Desk Analyst, Information Technology Specialist (IT Specialist), Network Support Specialist, Network Technician, Support Specialist, Technical Support Specialist
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Oversee the daily performance of computer systems.
- Answer user inquiries regarding computer software or hardware operation to resolve problems.
- Enter commands and observe system functioning to verify correct operations and detect errors.
- Set up equipment for employee use, performing or ensuring proper installation of cables, operating systems, or appropriate software.
- Install and perform minor repairs to hardware, software, or peripheral equipment, following design or installation specifications.
- Maintain records of daily data communication transactions, problems and remedial actions taken, or installation activities.
- Read technical manuals, confer with users, or conduct computer diagnostics to investigate and resolve problems or to provide technical assistance and support.
- Refer major hardware or software problems or defective products to vendors or technicians for service.
- Develop training materials and procedures, or train users in the proper use of hardware or software.
- Confer with staff, users, and management to establish requirements for new systems or modifications.
- Prepare evaluations of software or hardware, and recommend improvements or upgrades.
- Read trade magazines and technical manuals, or attend conferences and seminars to maintain knowledge of hardware and software.
- Hire, supervise, and direct workers engaged in special project work, problem solving, monitoring, and installing data communication equipment and software.
- Inspect equipment and read order sheets to prepare for delivery to users.
- Modify and customize commercial programs for internal needs.
- Conduct office automation feasibility studies, including workflow analysis, space design, or cost comparison analysis.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Computer tool kits
- Desktop computers
- Floppy disks — MS-DOS-bootable disks
- Hard disk arrays — Redundant array of independent disks RAID systems
- Mainframe computers
- Network analyzers
- Notebook computers
- Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers — Personal digital assistants PDA
- Power meters
- Punches or nail sets or drifts — Punchdown tools
- Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems
- Tape arrays — Digital tapes
- Wire lug crimping tool — Wire crimpers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Access software — Citrix Software; Mac HelpMate
- Administration software — Element management software; SolarWinds software
- Authentication server software — Password management software
- Backup or archival software — Backup and archival software; Disaster recovery software; Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service; Symantec LiveState
- Calendar and scheduling software
- Charting software — Microsoft Office Visio
- Configuration management software — Automated installation software; Deployment software; Patch management software
- Data base management system software — Database management system software; Microsoft SQL Server
- Data base user interface and query software — Database software; Lucid IQ; Software asset management SAM software; Structured query language SQL (see all 6 examples)
- Desktop communications software — CrossTec NetOp Remote Control; Remote control software; Stac Software ReachOut; Symantec pcAnywhere
- Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe Distiller
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
- Electronic mail software — Email software; IBM Lotus Notes; Microsoft Exchange; Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP software
- Filesystem software — Desktop partitioning software; Symantec Norton Utilities
- Helpdesk or call center software — Call center software; Help desk software
- Information retrieval or search software — Information systems integration software
- Internet browser software
- Internet directory services software — Active directory software; Domain name system DNS software; Network directory services software
- License management software
- Network conferencing software — Microsoft Sharepoint
- Network monitoring software — Dartware InterMapper
- Network operation system software — Remote install server software
- Network security or virtual private network VPN management software — Virtual private networking VPN software
- Object or component oriented development software — Oracle Java
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Operating system software — Event log monitor software; Linux; Microsoft Windows; Microsoft Windows Pre-installation Environment (see all 8 examples)
- Platform interconnectivity software — Migration software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Program testing software — Defect tracking software; Personal computer diagnostic software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Storage networking software — Media storage management software
- Transaction security and virus protection software — Encryption software; Virus scanning software
- Web platform development software — Hypertext markup language HTML
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
Detailed Work Activities
- Evaluate utility of software or hardware technologies.
- Document operational activities.
- Monitor computer system performance to ensure proper operation.
- Modify software programs to improve performance.
- Provide technical support for software maintenance or use.
- Collaborate with others to resolve information technology issues.
- Test software performance.
- Update knowledge about emerging industry or technology trends.
- Install computer hardware.
- Resolve computer software problems.
- Supervise information technology personnel.
- Install computer software.
- Maintain computer hardware.
- Collaborate with others to determine design specifications or details.
- Conduct research to gain information about products or processes.
- Recommend changes to improve computer or information systems.
- Read documents to gather technical information.
- Teach others to use computer equipment or hardware.
- Train others in computer interface or software use.
- Provide recommendations to others about computer hardware.
- Test computer hardware performance.
- Participate in staffing decisions.
- Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 81% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 72% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 57% responded “Extremely important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 61% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 62% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 58% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 69% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 41% responded “Important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 57% responded “Important results.”
- Letters and Memos — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 39% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 36% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 50% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Deal With External Customers — 51% responded “Very important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 58% responded “40 hours.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 43% responded “Very important.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 34% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Level of Competition — 32% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|22||Some college, no degree|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: RIC
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$22.89 hourly, $47,610 annual|
|Employment (2012)||548,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Faster than average (15% to 21%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||196,900|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Computer Support Specialists . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.
- Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) , 1815 S. Meyers Rd., Suite 300, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181-5228. Phone: (630) 678-8300. Fax: (630) 268-1384.