An Information Technology (IT) specialist is a person who works with computers and other technologies such as telephones and fax machines. Many companies have someone on staff who helps with the maintenance of computers and computer networks within the organization. He or she may also work for an independent consulting company, a customer-support division of a computer or technology company, a private computer repair shop, or in any number of other settings where a person can come to him to pay him for help with a computer.
Although some IT specialists can handle any issues and problems relating to technology, it is most common for them to work within the field of computers. Because computers have become so pervasive, almost every workplace, school, public institution and private home has one. As such, there is a great number of potential problems that can arise for novice computer users, from how to set up a network to how to troubleshoot software that is not working properly. As such, IT specialists are much in demand within the computer industry.
In a company, an IT specialist may serve many roles and functions. Most are given administrative privileges over the network of computers. This means they must help maintain servers through checking both hardware and software. If a server begins exhibiting problematic behavior, such as a failure to turn on, the IT expert must be able to identify and diagnose the problem, such as a broken power cord or a failed motherboard. He then must be able to take the appropriate steps to correct it.
Most IT specialists are able to correct software problems themselves. For example, specialists may install fixes for software released by a manufacturer or may uninstall and reinstall software that is not working properly. Hardware problems may either be fixed in-house by the IT specialist, or he or she may be required to outsource the repair if the problem is very complex or requires special tools.
In addition to handling problems, an IT specialist within the company also keep the computers running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. This can mean making sure there are sufficient software licenses for everyone in the company who needs access to a given program. This can also mean installing the actual software on employee's computers. Specialists may also respond to calls for computer help from staff who do not know how to resolve problems on their own.