Aspiring technical support specialists can pursue their career goals through a few different educational paths, but earning a degree from a two-year school is the most common choice. Technical support specialists provide a wide range of services to customers with most of them being computer-related. They also provide help in using computers and computer products. In the technology and computer-based world in which we live and work, technical support specialists are in demand and experience better-than-average job growth. Learn what a two-year program can mean for an aspiring technical support specialist.
What is Technical Support?
Technical support is the process of providing clients or companies with support with their technology devices or computer systems. Technical support specialists are also known as computer support specialists. They consult with clients about their computer systems or electronic equipment, identify technical issues and make proposals on how to best improve the productivity and efficiency of the current system. Technology is changing almost constantly, and technical support specialists must be knowledgeable of the technology advances and must be able to keep up with necessary changes.
Technical support specialists may work heavily with information technology, while others may be experienced in hardware and software analysis. They must also have a strong background in operating systems and both computer software and computer hardware. Technical support specialists should have good interpersonal and communication skills so that they may be able to teach users on how to use the equipment and when to detect problems. Program solving skills are also a benefit for this job.
Technical support specialists may be hired with just a high school diploma and some undergraduate courses, but most employers prefer someone with more education and training. For this reason, a degree from a two-year college is usually the preferred educational path. Some higher-level positions in large organizations may want a candidate with a bachelor’s degree, but an associate degree is generally the most common degree level for technical support positions.
If the job is technical, the candidate may have a degree in information science, computer science or even engineering technology. Certifications may be obtained through vendors when the company or technician uses their products according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While certification may not be a requirement for employment, it’s a way to demonstrate knowledge and commitment to the profession.
What a Technical Support Program Entails
The technical support associate degree program is a two-year program found at technical colleges, community colleges and vocational schools. The curriculum includes some general education courses as well as major-related courses. Towards the end of the program, students complete an internship to obtain hands-on training. Course topics in this program include the following:
- Computer applications
- Customer service
- Database applications
- Help desk basics
- IT project management
- Operating systems
- Microsoft Office
- Website design
Technical or computer support specialists are expected to see job growth of 10 percent as indicated by the bureau. As organizations continue to grow, so will the number of computer systems in their company, which puts technical support specialists in demand to keep their systems running efficiently. Technical support specialist wages range from about $35,000 to $79,000, and the average annual wage was $50,890 according to a December 2019 PayScale report.
The average starting salary for technical support specialists nationwide is $43,000. Several factors, such as work experience, degree level, employer and location, can all affect the wage possibilities. Technical support specialists with one to four years of experience earn about $46,000, while those with five to nine years earn about $52,000, and those with 10 to 19 years of experience earn about $59,000. Although men and women can obtain this career, more than 71 percent of technical support specialists are men.
Technology-driven individuals often find working as technical support specialists extremely rewarding and fun. It allows them to not only do what they enjoy doing but also helping others. One of the main reasons for choosing this career is because they can join the workforce after earning a degree from a two-year school.