What Does a Computer Support Specialist Do?

If you’re interested in a desk job that doesn’t necessarily require a college degree, you may want to know more about becoming a computer support specialist. The job market for these workers is shrinking due to help desk automation software and other customer relations management applications that most small to medium-sized businesses can access through the cloud, but many larger companies still need full-time employees to help customers with technical issues such as Internet service interruptions, device activations, upgrades and installations.

Where to Find Work

Jobs in this field are available with companies that provide temporary or outsourced staff for businesses that need humans to help customers but don’t need full-time employees for tech support. These jobs aren’t available in every location, and you may need to apply at several companies to get hired. It may take several weeks for a position to become available, and you will increase your chances of getting hired if you have experience solving computer-related problems. A past job in an information technology, Web administration or computer repair position would give you relevant experience, and a degree in IT or Web design may also help.

Tech support agents also work for large companies such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to answer customer phone calls and chat live with customers on the website. They help customers with common issues such as modem operation and software installation, and they answer calls from customers who want to have service activated at their homes. A related job with these big companies is a Web administrator, which is a position responsible for updating the company website with blog content, user guides and other information that can be published with a content management system.

The Changing Face of the IT Industry

Most computer support jobs are concentrated within large corporations, but some traditional IT jobs can still be found in small companies that provide support for organizations that don’t have internal IT departments. These computer support specialists offer their services in essentially a freelance capacity to companies who outsource their IT needs, usually on an hourly basis. For example, a business that needs data recovered from a dead hard drive would hire an IT company by the hour to extract the salvageable files. These IT companies also do common computer-related work such as anti-virus software installation, data backup and PC diagnostics. Their services are usually available on a walk-in basis to anyone with PC issues, and as long as tasks such as data recovery and virus removal are difficult to perform without professional knowledge, IT specialists will be in business.

There are no licenses or certifications in this industry, and a degree in information technology doesn’t necessarily help you find work. Industry experience and connections separate the successful businesses from the unsuccessful ones, and marketing involves the same blogging, social media and SEO strategies that other small businesses use. Without large corporate clients, an IT support contractor won’t be able to stay in business.

Software is one of the most important tools in business, and most SMBs upload data and access software in the cloud. As fewer businesses handle their own software installations and data storage, the job of a computer support specialist will become less common.