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Technical support specialists provide computer support for organizations or businesses. The work might entail database management, troubleshooting, Internet development, or problem solving. Other job tasks might include enabling users to have access to information, enabling users to find missing information, helping computer programs run efficiently, finding missing data, or helping in cases where system overload has caused lack of space for data. If you want to become a technical support specialist, you generally will need a college degree and an internship.
To become a technical support specialist, it is important to get a college degree. It can be helpful to major in computer science, since that particular major addresses topics relevant to the functioning of computers. Keep in mind that the computer science major can be competitive. Getting good grades can be helpful because a high grade point average (GPA) is something that will distinguish you from the competition when you seek a job.
During college, it can also be helpful for you to participate in a computer science internship if you want to become a technical support specialist. Internships could involve working at a help desk or any other troubleshooting function related to technical support work. The career services department at your college should be able to help you locate and apply for an internship. Completing an internship during college can be important because an internship can provide you with valuable supervised experience to supplement your college classroom learning.
Generally it is recommended that you apply for your first job during the last semester of college. The career services department at your college can usually provide job search assistance. By contrast, you could conduct an online job search. Or, it is possible that the supervisor from your college internship may be able to hire you or help you find a job.
If you want to become a technical support specialist, graduate school is not absolutely necessary; however, if you have interest, you could look for graduate school opportunities after you work for two years. The Master of Science (MS) degree in computer science is generally recommended for anyone who wants to eventually become a technical support supervisor. Getting an MS degree in computer science might also be useful if you intend to eventually pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in computer science and become a college professor.
In addition to having excellent computer skills, it is helpful if a technical support specialist has the ability to remain calm under pressure. For instance, people who call for help may be in a state of worry or panic because their computer is having problems. Technical support specialists must remain calm and must reassure people that there is a solution for their computer problems. Also, technical support specialists must have good communication skills so people will clearly understand the instructions that are given to solve the computer problems.
Staying informed about upgrades and other technology changes is a challenging part of being a technical support specialist. Nonetheless, technical support specialists must stay abreast of new changes taking place in computer technology. Being knowledgeable about these changes is a necessary part of the job.
Also, the work hours can be very demanding. For instance, as a technical support specialist, you may get a call from a panicked client late a night or early in the morning before the work day starts. You could get called anytime something goes wrong with the computer or with data. In fact, working 12-hour days is not uncommon for technical support specialists. Still, if you can handle the long work hours and the stress, it can be a rewarding job.
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