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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, Control Room Operator, Desktop Engineer, Information Technology Associate, Operations and Maintenance Technician, Software Technician, Systems Operator

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

Tasks  |  Technology Skills  |  Tools Used  |  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

Tasks

  • Enter commands, using computer terminal, and activate controls on computer and peripheral equipment to integrate and operate equipment.
  • Oversee the operation of computer hardware systems, including coordinating and scheduling the use of computer terminals and networks to ensure efficient use.
  • Monitor the system for equipment failure or errors in performance.
  • Answer telephone calls to assist computer users encountering problems.
  • Respond to program error messages by finding and correcting problems or terminating the program.
  • Retrieve, separate, and sort program output as needed, and send data to specified users.
  • Record information such as computer operating time, problems that occurred, and actions taken.
  • Notify supervisor or computer maintenance technicians of equipment malfunctions.
  • Operate spreadsheet programs and other types of software to load and manipulate data and to produce reports.
  • Supervise and train peripheral equipment operators and computer operator trainees.
  • 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.
  • Help programmers and systems analysts test and debug new programs.
  • Load peripheral equipment with selected materials for operating runs, or oversee loading of peripheral equipment by peripheral equipment operators.

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Technology Skills

  • Access software — Citrix Hot technology
  • Application server software — Microsoft Windows Server
  • Backup or archival software — Data3 ENGUARD; EMC NetWorker; Veritas NetBackup Hot technology
  • Data base management system software — Oracle DBMS
  • Data base reporting software — SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports
  • Data base user interface and query software — IBM DB2; Microsoft Access Hot technology ; Structured query language SQL Hot technology ; Teradata Enterprise Data Warehouse (see all 7 examples)
  • Development environment software — Common business oriented language COBOL Hot technology
  • Electronic mail software — Email software; IBM Notes Hot technology ; Microsoft Exchange Server Hot technology ; Microsoft Outlook Hot technology
  • Enterprise application integration software — BMC Software Control-M; IBM WebSphere Hot technology
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software Hot technology — SAP Hot technology
  • Enterprise system management software — IBM Power Systems software Hot technology
  • Filesystem software — IBM Tivoli NetView Distribution Manager
  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Microsoft Visio Hot technology
  • 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 monitoring software — IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE for CICS on z/OS; Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold; Micro Focus OpenView; Novell NetWare (see all 5 examples)
  • Object or component oriented development software — Practical extraction and reporting language Perl Hot technology ; Python Hot technology ; Tandem advanced command language TACL
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office
  • Operating system software — Hewlett Packard HP-UX Hot technology ; Job control language JCL Hot technology ; Linux Hot technology ; UNIX Hot technology (see all 18 examples)
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint Hot technology
  • Project management software — Microsoft SharePoint Hot technology
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Storage networking software — EMC AlphaStor; Storage area network SAN software
  • Transaction server software — Customer information control system CICS Hot technology
  • WAN switching software and firmware — Wide area network WAN software
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word Hot technology

Hot technology Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.

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Tools Used

  • 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
  • Modems
  • Network routers
  • Paper cutting machines or accessories — Decollating equipment; Form bursters
  • Personal computers
  • Plotter printers — Plotters
  • Scanners
  • Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems
  • Tape drive libraries — Robotic tape libraries
  • Tape drives — Computer tape drives; Magnetic tape units MTU

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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.
  • 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.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • 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.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

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Skills

  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • 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.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • 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.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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Abilities

  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • 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.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • 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.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

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Detailed Work Activities

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

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Work Context

  • Electronic Mail — 97% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 92% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 81% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 82% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 52% responded “Very important.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 60% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 45% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Time Pressure — 34% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 49% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 43% responded “About half the time.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 63% responded “Very important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 54% responded “Important results.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 40% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 69% responded “40 hours.”
  • Level of Competition — 32% responded “Slightly competitive.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 43% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 38% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 29% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 17% responded “Very important.”
  • Consequence of Error — 41% responded “Very serious.”

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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 hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
36   Bachelor's degree
24   High school diploma or equivalent Help
22   Associate's degree

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: CR   Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.

  • 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.

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Work Styles

  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • 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.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • 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.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • 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.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • 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.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

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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.
  • 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.

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2017) $21.28 hourly, $44,270 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2016) 52,000 employees
Projected growth (2016-2026) Decline (-2% or lower) Decline (-2% or lower)
Projected job openings (2016-2026) 3,400
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2016)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017 wage data external site and 2016-2026 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2016-2026). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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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.

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