The information and computer support services industry has experienced fast growth and offers solid earning potential, but this field is not right for everyone. If you think you have what it takes to solve computer problems for customers and clients, keep reading to learn more about the careers you could pursue in this industry.
Information and computer support services employees may handle a variety of computer problems, including repairing computer hardware, upgrading computer software and troubleshooting problems that users have encountered. Some of the professionals in the information support field include database administrators and computer systems analysts. Database administrators design, implement and modify the systems that organize and store data. You might move data from an old system to a new system, troubleshoot user problems or make recommendations for improving existing storage methods. Computer systems analysts help businesses solve problems by analyzing existing information technology systems and recommending improvements. Computer support specialists provide technical support for businesses and individuals with computer system issues. Computer support services may also include virus removal and computer application training.
If you plan to work in the information and computer support industry, you should possess strong communication, mathematical and analytical skills. You may experience varying levels of stress due to tight deadlines. You could also benefit from a strong multitasking ability and being able to pay attention to detail.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that career opportunities in the computer support services industry would grow by 14% between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). In 2010, the BLS found that computer support specialists earned a median salary of $46,260, database administrators earned $73,490 and computer systems analysts earned $77,740.
You may find some computer support positions with an associate's degree or a relevant certification, but some employers require a bachelor's degree in computer science, management information systems, computer engineering or a related field. If you want to pursue a career in database administration or computer systems analysis, you'll probably need at least a bachelor's degree. Some employers may only give you consideration for highly technical positions if you have a master's degree.
Coursework for a certificate program in information and computer support services may include interpersonal communications, network basics and PC support. An associate's degree in computer technical support or computer technology could give you the necessary training for entry-level computer support positions. Relevant course options in a computer technology associate's program include PC maintenance, operating systems and networking concepts.
A bachelor's degree in computer science could be beneficial if you're looking to complete an undergraduate program before working in the computer support field. Some potential courses options you might have in a computer science program include errors and failures, file structures and computer operating systems.