Summary Report for:
43-9011.00 - Computer Operators
Monitor and control electronic computer and peripheral electronic data processing equipment to process business, scientific, engineering, and other data according to operating instructions. Monitor and respond to operating and error messages. May enter commands at a computer terminal and set controls on computer and peripheral devices.
Sample of reported job titles: Computer Console Operator, Computer Operator, Computer Specialist, Computer Technician, Information Technology Specialist, Operations and Maintenance Technician, Software Technician, Systems Operator
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
- Enter commands, using computer terminal, and activate controls on computer and peripheral equipment to integrate and operate equipment.
- Monitor the system for equipment failure or errors in performance.
- Respond to program error messages by finding and correcting problems or terminating the program.
- Notify supervisor or computer maintenance technicians of equipment malfunctions.
- Answer telephone calls to assist computer users encountering problems.
- Record information such as computer operating time, problems that occurred, and actions taken.
- Operate spreadsheet programs and other types of software to load and manipulate data and to produce reports.
- Help programmers and systems analysts test and debug new programs.
- Retrieve, separate and sort program output as needed, and send data to specified users.
- Oversee the operation of computer hardware systems, including coordinating and scheduling the use of computer terminals and networks to ensure efficient use.
- Read job set-up instructions to determine equipment to be used, order of use, material such as disks and paper to be loaded, and control settings.
- Load peripheral equipment with selected materials for operating runs, or oversee loading of peripheral equipment by peripheral equipment operators.
- Supervise and train peripheral equipment operators and computer operator trainees.
- Type command on keyboard to transfer encoded data from memory unit to magnetic tape and assist in labeling, classifying, cataloging and maintaining tapes.
- Clear equipment at end of operating run and review schedule to determine next assignment.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Check endorsing machines — Check signers
- Computer servers — Email servers; Minicomputers
- Dot matrix printers — High speed impact printers; Impact printers
- Electronic media or data duplicating equipment — Backup drives
- Hard disk drives — Computer hard disk drives; Disk storage units
- Laser printers
- Magnetic stripe readers and encoders — Magnetic card readers
- Mainframe computers
- Mainframe console or dumb terminals — Computer terminals
- Network routers
- Paper cutting machines or accessories — Decollating equipment; Form bursters
- Personal computers
- Plotter printers — Plotters
- Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems
- Tape drive libraries — Robotic tape libraries
- Tape drives — Computer tape drives; Magnetic tape units MTU
Technology used in this occupation:
- Access software — Citrix software
- Backup or archival software — Data3 ENGUARD; EMC NetWorker; Symantec Veritas NetBackup
- Data base reporting software — SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports
- Data base user interface and query software — IBM DB2; Microsoft Access; Sybase SQL Anywhere; Teradata Enterprise Data Warehouse (see all 7 examples)
- Development environment software — Common business oriented language COBOL
- Electronic mail software — Email software; IBM Lotus Notes; Microsoft Exchange; Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise application integration software — IBM WebSphere
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP software
- Filesystem software — IBM Tivoli NetView Distribution Manager
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Microsoft Visio
- Helpdesk or call center software — BMC Software Remedy IT Service Management Suite; Hewlett-Packard HP OpenView Service Center
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Internet protocol IP multimedia subsystem software — File transfer protocol FTP software
- LAN software — Local area network LAN software
- Network conferencing software — Microsoft SharePoint
- Network monitoring software — Hewlett-Packard HP OpenView software; IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE for CICS on z/OS; Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold; Novell NetWare (see all 5 examples)
- Object or component oriented development software — Practical extraction and reporting language Perl; Python; Tandem advanced command language TACL
- Object oriented data base management software — IBM Informix
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Operating system software — Job control language JCL; Linux; Microsoft Windows; UNIX (see all 19 examples)
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Storage networking software — EMC AlphaStor; Storage area network SAN software
- Transaction server software — Customer information control system CICS software
- WAN switching software and firmware — Wide area network WAN software
- 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.
- 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.
- Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- 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.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- 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.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- 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.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- 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).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- 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.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- 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.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- 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.
- 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).
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- 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.
- 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.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- 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.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Detailed Work Activities
- Answer telephones to direct calls or provide information.
- Format digital documents, data, or images.
- Read work orders to determine material or setup requirements.
- Compile data or documentation.
- Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning.
- Operate computers or computerized equipment.
- Report maintenance or equipment problems to appropriate personnel.
- Send information, materials or documentation.
- Schedule operational activities.
- Maintain operational records.
- Load materials or equipment.
- Supervise clerical or administrative personnel.
- Maintain office equipment in proper operating condition.
- Develop computer or online applications.
- Telephone — 98% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 99% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 68% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 85% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 66% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 47% responded “More than half the time.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 50% responded “Some freedom.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 58% responded “Very important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 58% responded “Some freedom.”
- Time Pressure — 47% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 58% responded “40 hours.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 46% responded “Important.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 28% responded “Important.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 35% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Deal With External Customers — 31% responded “Important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 33% responded “Minor results.”
- Physical Proximity — 66% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Letters and Memos — 30% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
|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|
|23||High school diploma or equivalent|
|21||Some college, no degree|
Interest code: CR
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- 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.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- 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.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- 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)||$19.03 hourly, $39,590 annual|
|Employment (2012)||75,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Decline (-3% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||7,200|
|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.