Summary Report for:
15-1152.00 - Computer Network Support Specialists
Analyze, test, troubleshoot, and evaluate existing network systems, such as local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet systems or a segment of a network system. Perform network maintenance to ensure networks operate correctly with minimal interruption.
Sample of reported job titles: Computer Network Specialist, IT Consultant (Information Technology Consultant), Network Engineer, Network Specialist, Network Support Specialist, Network Technical Analyst, Network Technician, Personal Computer Network Analyst, Senior IT Assistant (Senior Information Technology Assistant), Systems Specialist
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Back up network data.
- Configure security settings or access permissions for groups or individuals.
- Analyze and report computer network security breaches or attempted breaches.
- Identify the causes of networking problems, using diagnostic testing software and equipment.
- Document network support activities.
- Configure wide area network (WAN) or local area network (LAN) routers or related equipment.
- Install network software, including security or firewall software.
- Troubleshoot network or connectivity problems for users or user groups.
- Provide telephone support related to networking or connectivity issues.
- Evaluate local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) performance data to ensure sufficient availability or speed, to identify network problems, or for disaster recovery purposes.
- Analyze network data to determine network usage, disk space availability, or server function.
- Perform routine maintenance or standard repairs to networking components or equipment.
- Configure and define parameters for installation or testing of local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), hubs, routers, switches, controllers, multiplexers, or related networking equipment.
- Install new hardware or software systems or components, ensuring integration with existing network systems.
- Test computer software or hardware, using standard diagnostic testing equipment and procedures.
- Install or repair network cables, including fiber optic cables.
- Monitor industry websites or publications for information about patches, releases, viruses, or potential problem identification.
- Create or update technical documentation for network installations or changes to existing installations.
- Train users in procedures related to network applications software or related systems.
- Test repaired items to ensure proper operation.
- Install and configure wireless networking equipment.
- Maintain logs of network activity.
- Document help desk requests and resolutions.
- Research hardware or software products to meet technical networking or security needs.
- Create or revise user instructions, procedures, or manuals.
- Run monthly network reports.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Access servers — Remote access servers
- Circuit tester — Continuity testers; Test lights
- Computer servers — Caching engines; Network address translation NAT appliances
- Hard disk arrays — Redundant array of independent disks RAID systems
- Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines
- Mainframe computers
- Network analyzers — Asynchronous transfer mode ATM analyzers; Port analyzer adapters; Synchronous optical network SONET analyzers; Throughput testers (see all 9 examples)
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
- Photocopiers — Copy machines
- Power meters — Powerline monitors
- Server load balancer — Load balancers
- Voltage or current meters — Cable testers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Access software — Citrix software
- Administration software — Cisco Systems CiscoWorks software; ifconfig; ipconfig; SolarWinds software (see all 7 examples)
- Backup or archival software — EMC NetWorker; NovaStor NovaBACKUP; Roxio Retrospect; Tape backup system software (see all 5 examples)
- Computer aided design CAD software — Network design software
- Configuration management software — Automated installation software; EMC Ionix Network Configuration Manager; Microsoft Windows Sysprep; Patch and update management software (see all 5 examples)
- Customer relationship management CRM software
- Data base management system software — Database management software; Microsoft SQL Server
- Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access; MySQL software
- Desktop communications software — Remote control software; Symantec pcAnywhere
- Development environment software — Microsoft Visual Basic; Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition VBScript; Ruby
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat software
- Electronic mail software — Email software; IBM Lotus Notes; Microsoft Exchange Server
- Enterprise application integration software — IBM Websphere
- Filesystem software — File server software; IBM Tivoli NetView Distribution Manager
- Helpdesk or call center software — BMC Software Remedy IT Service Management Suite
- Internet directory services software — Internet directory service software; Microsoft Active Directory; Novell eDirectory
- Network conferencing software — Microsoft SharePoint
- Network monitoring software — Dartware InterMapper; tcpdump; WildPackets OmniPeek Network Analyzer; Wireshark (see all 35 examples)
- Network operating system enhancement software — Traffic shapers
- Network security and virtual private network VPN equipment software — Firewall software
- Network security or virtual private network VPN management software — Intrusion prevention system IPS software; Network and system vulnerability assessment software; NIKSUN NetDetector; Sonicwall SonicOS Enhanced (see all 9 examples)
- Object or component oriented development software — Practical extraction and reporting language Perl; Python
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Operating system software — Hewlett Packard HP-UX; Oracle Solaris; Red Hat Enterprise Linux; Unix shell (see all 13 examples)
- Platform interconnectivity software — Connectivity software
- Program testing software — Load testing software
- Project management software — Bentley Systems ProjectWise; Project planning software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Storage networking software — EMC Symmetrix DMX; Storage area network SAN software
- Transaction security and virus protection software — Encryption software; McAfee software; Root kit detection software; Symantec Norton Antivirus (see all 8 examples)
- Transaction server software — Microsoft Internet Information Services IIS
- Web platform development software — Apache Tomcat
- 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.
- Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
- 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.
- 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.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- 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.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- 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.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- 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.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- 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.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Detailed Work Activities
- Test computer system operations to ensure proper functioning.
- Document operational activities.
- Analyze data to identify or resolve operational problems.
- Create electronic data backup to prevent loss of information.
- Implement security measures for computer or information systems.
- Test software performance.
- Update knowledge about emerging industry or technology trends.
- Install computer hardware.
- Resolve computer network problems.
- Troubleshoot issues with computer applications or systems.
- Analyze security of systems, network, or data.
- Install computer software.
- Maintain computer hardware.
- Conduct research to gain information about products or processes.
- Document network-related activities or tasks.
- Configure computer networks.
- Monitor the performance of computer networks.
- Provide technical support for computer network issues.
- Train others in computer interface or software use.
- Develop specifications for computer network operation.
- Test computer hardware performance.
- Prepare instruction manuals.
- Electronic Mail — 94% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 93% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 80% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 79% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 68% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 64% responded “Extremely important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 57% responded “Some freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 49% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Time Pressure — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 47% responded “40 hours.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 38% responded “Important results.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 40% responded “Important.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 37% responded “More than half the time.”
- Letters and Memos — 30% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Deal With External Customers — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 30% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 39% responded “Very important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 35% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 34% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Consequence of Error — 36% responded “Fairly serious.”
- Physical Proximity — 78% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 39% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|14||Some college, no degree|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: REC
- 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.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- 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.
- 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.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- 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.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- 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.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- 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.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- 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.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$29.72 hourly, $61,830 annual|
|Employment (2014)||181,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Average (5% to 8%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||36,900|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "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, 2016-17 Edition.
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) , 2 Penn Plaza, Suite 701, New York, NY 10121-0701. Phone: (800) 342-6626.
- Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) , 1815 S. Meyers Rd., Suite 300, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181-5228. Phone: (630) 678-8300. Fax: (630) 268-1384.
- IEEE Computer Society , 1730 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036-1992. Phone: (202) 371-0101. Fax: (202) 728-9614.
- Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) , 2350 E. Devon Ave., Suite 115, Des Plaines, IL 60018-4610. Phone: (847) 299-4227. Fax: (847) 299-4280.
- National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies (NWCET) , Bellevue Community College, 3000 Landerholm Circle SE, N258, Bellevue, WA 98007-6484. Phone: (425) 564-4229. Fax: (425) 564-6193.