Computer Support Specialist

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Job Outlook:
Faster than average
Education: Associate's degree
Work From Home
Average: $59,660.00
Average: $28.68

What Computer Support Specialists Do

Computer support specialists assist computer users and organizations. These specialists either maintain computer networks or provide technical help directly to computer users.


Computer network support specialists typically do the following:

  • Test and evaluate existing network systems
  • Perform regular maintenance to ensure that networks operate correctly
  • Troubleshoot local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Internet systems

Computer network support specialists analyze and troubleshoot computer network problems. They have an important role in the daily, weekly, or monthly maintenance of their organization’s networks. This maintenance may be routine or part of the organization’s disaster recovery efforts. Network support specialists also may assist computer users through phone, email, or in-person visits. They often work under the direction of network and computer systems administrators, who handle more complex tasks.

Computer user support specialists typically do the following:

  • Analyze customers’ computer problem to diagnose it and determine the cause
  • Document customers’ descriptions of their computer problems
  • Guide customers through the recommended problem-solving steps
  • Set up or repair computer equipment and related devices
  • Install and train users on new hardware or software
  • Inform team members and managers of major problems or of customers’ recurring concerns

Computer user support specialists, also called help-desk technicians, usually provide technical help to non-IT computer users. They respond to requests for help in a number of ways, such as in person or by phone, online chat, or email.

Help-desk technicians solve a range of problems that vary with the industry and the particular firm. Some technicians work for large software companies or for support service firms and instruct business customers in the use of business-specific programs, such as an electronic health records program used in hospitals or physicians’ offices.

Other help-desk technicians work in call centers and take customers through a problem step by step, such as to reestablish an Internet connection or to troubleshoot Wi-Fi routers or other household IT products.

Work Environment

Computer support specialists
Computer support specialists work for a variety of industries.

Computer network support specialists held about 177,900 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of computer network support specialists were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services 19%
Educational services; state, local, and private 12
Telecommunications 10
Government 7
Finance and insurance 6

Computer user support specialists held about 736,200 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of computer user support specialists were as follows:

Computer systems design and related services 22%
Educational services; state, local, and private 11
Wholesale trade 6
Finance and insurance 6
Government 6

Some computer support specialists are able to telework. Others must be onsite or may need to travel to clients’ locations.

Work Schedules

Most computer support specialists work full time. Because computer support services may need to be available 24 hours a day, some specialists work nights or weekends.

Getting Started

How to Become a Computer Support Specialist

Computer support specialists
Communication skills are important for computer support specialists.

Entry requirements vary for computer support specialists. Network support specialists typically need an associate’s degree, and user support specialists typically need to complete some college courses. However, candidates for either type of position may qualify with a high school diploma plus relevant information technology (IT) certifications.


Education requirements for computer support specialists vary. Computer user support specialist jobs require some computer knowledge but not necessarily a college degree. Applicants who have taken courses in areas such as networking, server administration, and information security may qualify for these jobs. For computer network support specialists, employers may accept applicants who have an associate’s degree, although some prefer that applicants have a bachelor’s degree.

Large software companies that provide support to business users who buy their products or services may require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. Positions that are more technical are likely to require a degree in a field such as computer and information technology or engineering. For others, the applicant’s field of degree is less important.

To keep up with changes in technology, computer support specialists may need to continue their education throughout their careers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification programs are generally offered by vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates the knowledge of and best practices required by computer support specialists. Companies may require their computer support specialists to hold certifications in the products the companies use. Other types of certifications, such as CompTIA A+, may be a helpful starting point for workers seeking entry into the occupation.


Many computer support specialists advance to other information technology positions, such as information security analysts, network and computer systems administrators and software developers. Some become managers in the computer support services department. Some organizations provide paths for support specialists to move into other parts of the organization, such as sales.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of computer support specialists is projected to grow 5 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 66,500 openings for computer support specialists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


Computer support specialists will be needed to provide technical help and training to users with new hardware or software. However, this demand may be offset somewhat as organizations continue to implement automated tools, such as chatbots, for troubleshooting. This use of automation may free up some computer support specialists to handle more complex cases and troubleshooting that require attention. Some businesses, especially smaller ones with minimal information technology (IT) requirements, may find it more cost effective to contract with outside firms for these services rather than to hire computer support specialists directly.

Contacts for More Information

For more information about computer support specialists, visit

Association of Support Professionals

Help Desk Institute (HDI)

Technology Services Industry Association

For more information about computer careers, visit

Association for Computing Machinery

Computing Research Association

Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)

IEEE Computer Society

For information about opportunities for women pursuing information technology careers, visit

National Center for Women & Information Technology

Occupational Requirements Survey

For a profile highlighting selected BLS data on occupational requirements, see

Computer user support specialists (PDF)

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of computer support specialists.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Computer and information systems managers Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct computer-related activities in an organization.

Bachelor's degree $164,070
computer network architects image Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets.

Bachelor's degree $126,900
Computer programmers Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write, modify, and test code and scripts that allow computer software and applications to function properly.

Bachelor's degree $97,800
Computer systems analysts Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and design ways to improve efficiency.

Bachelor's degree $102,240
Customer service representatives Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives interact with customers to handle complaints, process orders, and answer questions.

High school diploma or equivalent $37,780
Database administrators Database Administrators and Architects

Database administrators and architects create or organize systems to store and secure data.

Bachelor's degree $112,120
Network and computer systems administrators Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and computer systems administrators install, configure, and maintain organizations’ computer networks and systems.

Bachelor's degree $90,520
Information security analysts Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.

Bachelor's degree $112,000
Web developers Web Developers and Digital Designers

Web developers create and maintain websites. Digital designers develop, create, and test website or interface layout, functions, and navigation for usability.

Bachelor's degree $80,730

Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

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