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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

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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

Tasks

  • Enter commands, using computer terminal, and activate controls on computer and peripheral equipment to integrate and operate equipment. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Monitor the system for equipment failure or errors in performance. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Respond to program error messages by finding and correcting problems or terminating the program. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Notify supervisor or computer maintenance technicians of equipment malfunctions. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Answer telephone calls to assist computer users encountering problems. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Record information such as computer operating time, problems that occurred, and actions taken. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Operate spreadsheet programs and other types of software to load and manipulate data and to produce reports. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Help programmers and systems analysts test and debug new programs. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Retrieve, separate and sort program output as needed, and send data to specified users. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Oversee the operation of computer hardware systems, including coordinating and scheduling the use of computer terminals and networks to ensure efficient use. See more occupations related to this task.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Load peripheral equipment with selected materials for operating runs, or oversee loading of peripheral equipment by peripheral equipment operators. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Supervise and train peripheral equipment operators and computer operator trainees. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Type command on keyboard to transfer encoded data from memory unit to magnetic tape and assist in labeling, classifying, cataloging and maintaining tapes. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Clear equipment at end of operating run and review schedule to determine next assignment. See more occupations related to this task.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Check endorsing machines — Check signers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Computer servers — Email servers; Minicomputers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Dot matrix printers — High speed impact printers; Impact printers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Electronic media or data duplicating equipment — Backup drives See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hard disk drives — Computer hard disk drives; Disk storage units See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laser printers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Magnetic stripe readers and encoders — Magnetic card readers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Mainframe computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Mainframe console or dumb terminals — Computer terminals See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Modems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Network routers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Paper cutting machines or accessories — Decollating equipment; Form bursters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Plotter printers — Plotters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Scanners See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tape drive libraries — Robotic tape libraries See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tape drives — Computer tape drives; Magnetic tape units MTU See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Access software — Citrix software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Backup or archival software — Data3 ENGUARD; EMC NetWorker; Symantec Veritas NetBackup See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Charting software — Microsoft Office Visio See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base reporting software — SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base user interface and query software — IBM DB2; Microsoft Access; SPSS ShowCase Suite; Sybase SQL Anywhere (see all 7 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Development environment software — Common business oriented language COBOL See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Electronic mail software — Email software; IBM Lotus Notes; Microsoft Exchange; Microsoft Outlook See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Enterprise application integration software — IBM WebSphere See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Filesystem software — IBM Tivoli NetView Distribution Manager See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Helpdesk or call center software — BMC Software Remedy IT Service Management Suite; Hewlett-Packard HP OpenView Service Center See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Internet browser software — Web browser software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Internet protocol IP multimedia subsystem software — File transfer protocol FTP software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • LAN software — Local area network LAN software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Network conferencing software — Microsoft SharePoint See more occupations related to this technology.
  • 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) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Object or component oriented development software — Practical extraction and reporting language Perl; Python; Tandem advanced command language TACL See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Object oriented data base management software — IBM Informix See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Operating system software — Linux; Microsoft Windows; Solaris; Sun Microsystems Java Enterprise System (see all 19 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Storage networking software — EMC AlphaStor; Storage area network SAN software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Transaction server software — Customer information control system CICS software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • WAN switching software and firmware — Wide area network WAN software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word See more occupations related to this technology.

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Knowledge

  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

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Skills

  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • 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. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • 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). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • 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). See more occupations related to this ability.

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Work Activities

  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Answer telephones to direct calls or provide information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Format digital documents, data, or images. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Read work orders to determine material or setup requirements. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Compile data or documentation. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate computers or computerized equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Report maintenance or equipment problems to appropriate personnel. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Send information, materials or documentation. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Schedule operational activities. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain operational records. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Load materials or equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Supervise clerical or administrative personnel. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain office equipment in proper operating condition. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Develop computer or online applications. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Telephone — 98% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Electronic Mail — 99% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 78% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 68% responded “Constant contact with others.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 85% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 66% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Sitting — 47% responded “More than half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 50% responded “Some freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 58% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 58% responded “Some freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 47% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 58% responded “40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 46% responded “Important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 28% responded “Important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 35% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With External Customers — 31% responded “Important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 33% responded “Minor results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Physical Proximity — 66% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Letters and Memos — 30% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.” See more occupations related to this work context.

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Job Zone

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)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
43   Associate's degree
23   High school diploma or equivalent Help
21   Some college, no degree

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Credentials

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Interests

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. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this interest.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction. See more occupations related to this work style.

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Work Values

  • 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. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this work value.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $19.03 hourly, $39,590 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 75,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Decline (-3% or lower) Decline (-3% or lower)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 7,200
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "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.

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Job Openings on the Web

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