Computer Specialist Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a computer specialist. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a computer specialist.
Who is a Computer Specialist?
Computer specialists are highly skilled professionals who work with computer hardware and software. They may be responsible for installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting computer systems and networks. Computer specialists may also be involved in the development of new technologies or applications.
Their area of expertise may vary, with some developing new software, others working as data analysts, and still others in a variety of other areas, including computer design and technology maintenance. The specific duties depend on the industry in which the specialist works, and whether they work alone or as part of a team. However, all specialists are hired for complex technology-related tasks and must have knowledge and experience with the latest computer systems and programs.
In the United States, most positions in this field require full-time employment. However, many computer specialist positions allow employees to work non-traditional or out-of-office hours, with a growing number of specialists working from home. Some professionals also work as independent contractors.
A computer specialist working as a software engineer develops items such as computer applications, various types of commercial and personal software, and computer games. Software engineers also create entire operating systems for businesses and individuals, as well as systems for integrating and controlling networks. Not all computer specialists perform all of these tasks, but most can do them if necessary.
Another type of computer specialist called a systems analyst specializes in information technology (IT). These individuals are typically hired by companies to ensure that all aspects of technology within the company are operating at an optimal level. The IT person may work alone or as part of a team, selecting the type of technology best suited for the business and testing, configuring, and monitoring all the software and hardware needed for the day-to-day operation of the business. These technologies include computers and their operating systems, hardware and software, and company-provided cell phones.
Companies often employ a computer specialist, called a systems designer, to design custom software, install that software, and assist with information recovery in the event of a system failure. The services of such a specialist are typically used only when the company does not have its own IT specialist or team. Therefore, many system designers are freelancers who, at any given time, have multiple contracts with different companies.
While most specialists can work in a wide variety of industries, sometimes it is necessary to find a specific type of IT specialist for a particular industry. For example, a computerized flight plan reading specialist may work exclusively in the aviation industry as a computer expert. Specialists with national security clearances also tend to focus exclusively on the public sector.
Computer Specialist Job Description
Below are the computer specialist job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The duties and responsibilities of a computer specialist include the following:
- Troubleshooting computer hardware problems, including repair or replacement of components such as hard drives or power supplies.
- Providing technical support for software applications, such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat, by answering user questions via email or phone.
- Installing new software on computers and removing unnecessary software to improve performance.
- Debugging code to identify bugs in programs written in languages such as Java, C++, or Visual Basic.
- Developing new software applications or enhancing existing applications using programming languages such as C++ or Java.
- Maintaining computer networks, including performance testing and troubleshooting problems with hardware or software components.
- Providing computer support to users by installing new software or upgrading existing software on machines, troubleshooting problems, or training users in software applications.
- Installing and configuring computer equipment such as keyboards, monitors, printers, and scanners.
- Designing or creating computer databases and websites, including creating layouts and coding pages in HTML or other programming languages.
- Performing downloading, data entry, electronic data transfer, and generating various forms of computer printouts.
- Ensuring the security and integrity of databases.
- Establishing recovery and maintenance procedures, and checking for abnormal terminations and backup libraries.
- Tracking computer files on paper, tape, and disk and ensuring efficient workflow.
- Resolving computer software problems and monitoring equipment performance to ensure efficient use of the software.
- Installing, configuring, maintaining, and accounting for firewalls, switches, and routers.
- Monitoring and managing Exchange Server and Active Directory.
- Installing and managing Windows-based servers.
- Educating customers on new products and computer applications.
- Assisting, managing, and resolving hardware and software issues.
- Developing documentation for IT equipment and workflows.
- Troubleshooting and responding to requests promptly.
- Performing corrective and preventive maintenance.
- Evaluating and implementing new technologies and products related to microcomputers.
Computer Specialists should have the following qualifications:
Computer specialists are normally required to have a bachelor’s degree. Some of the most common specializations for computer professionals include computer science, information technology, and computer engineering. These programs typically include courses in programming languages, software development, computer architecture, mathematics, business, and communication.
Training and Experience
Many computer specialists gain specific skills and knowledge related to their role while on the job. Training can last several months and may involve shadowing existing staff or working with experienced professionals. Training often includes learning about a company’s specific technologies and processes.
Some IT analysts may undergo additional training to become certified. For example, a computer systems analyst may need to obtain certification from the American Society of Business Consultants or the American Management Association.
Certification and Licenses
Computer specialists can obtain several certifications that demonstrate their expertise in different types of software, hardware, and programming languages.
Security is the ability to protect data from unauthorized access. Computer specialists use their security skills in tasks such as software installation, hardware maintenance, and file backup. Security measures are necessary to ensure the safety of confidential information. Firewalls, passwords, and virus protection are examples of security skills.
- Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is a technology that allows users to store and access data from remote servers. This can be useful for computer specialists because they don’t have to maintain their equipment, saving time and money. It also allows them to work remotely with clients who may not have their own IT department.
- Attention to detail
Attention to detail is the ability to notice small details and make precise adjustments. As an IT specialist, you may be required to troubleshoot software or hardware issues that require precision. For example, if an application is not working properly, it is important to identify exactly what is causing the problem to find the right solution.
- Operating Systems
Operating systems are the software that allows computers to function. Computer specialists need to know how to use different operating systems, including Windows and Linux. They also need to understand computer hardware to be able to troubleshoot problems with the device.
- System Administration
System administration is the ability to manage an entire computer network. This includes installing and maintaining software, operating systems, and hardware, as well as monitoring and troubleshooting security. Computer specialists often need a basic knowledge of systems administration to maintain their company’s computers.
- Customer Service
Technical support is the ability to provide technical assistance and troubleshooting of computer systems. This includes identifying problems, providing solutions, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Computer specialists often work in the IT department, where they may be responsible for handling inbound calls from customers who need help with their computers or software.
- Analytical Skills
Analytical skills are the ability to examine a situation and determine the best course of action. Computer specialists use their analytical skills to troubleshoot computer systems, analyze software code or identify ways to improve existing technology. This skill set is also important when creating new computer programs and applications, as it involves evaluating what works and what doesn’t.
Computer specialists must know how to store data and files on a computer system. This includes knowing where to store different types of information, such as documents, images, audio, and video files. It is also important to know how to back up data in case it is lost or damaged.
- Data Management
Data management is the ability to store, organize and retrieve data. Computer specialists use this skill when working with databases or other types of files containing information. They may also need it to keep records of their work and to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Programming is the ability to create computer applications and scripts. Computer specialists need to know how to program because it can help them automate tasks, saving time and resources. Programming also allows them to create software that can be useful in their work, or to develop new tools for other staff members to use.
Networking is the process of building relationships with others in your industry. It can help you find jobs, learn about new technologies, and get feedback on your work. It is important to be active in professional organizations and attend conferences where you can meet other Computer specialists. You can also network by offering to make presentations at local schools or businesses.
How to become a Computer Specialist
- Earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.
In computer science, professionals need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field. Some institutions offer a bachelor of science in information technology (BSIT), which combines aspects of computer science and information technology.
- Gain experience with computer hardware and software.
While in school, you can gain experience in computer hardware and software through internships or student organizations. After school, you can also seek entry-level jobs at technology companies to build your skills.
- Develop strong problem-solving skills.
Computer specialists need to be able to identify and solve problems with hardware, software, and networks. They may be required to solve problems remotely or travel to customer sites to assess the situation and propose solutions. Computer specialists must be logical thinkers and be able to logically deduce where the problem lies based on the customer’s description of the problem.
- Be able to troubleshoot computer issues
Computer specialists must be able to identify and solve problems with computers, networks, and other technologies. You must have a good understanding of how hardware and software interact, and know where to look for common problems that can cause difficulties. For example, you may need to check your network connection or update your software.
- Understand networking concepts
Computer specialists need to understand how networks work and can troubleshoot problems that arise. Understanding basic networking concepts will help you learn about new technologies as they evolve, such as cloud computing or virtual private networks. Networking concepts are also important when working with clients who have multiple computers in the office.
Networking concepts include understanding protocols, servers, firewalls, network topology, and cabling.
- Keep abreast of changing technology.
Technology is constantly evolving, so computer specialists need to keep up with new developments. You can do this by reading news and technology updates online or through professional organizations. This will help you learn about the latest industry trends and the skills you need to develop to become a successful IT professional.
- Join professional organizations such as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is a professional organization that provides networking, collaboration, and industry development opportunities for people working in the computer and information technology field. You can join ACM as an undergraduate or graduate student. The organization offers many benefits, including access to journals and conferences where you can learn about new developments in the computer science field.
Another professional organization you might consider is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). This group is dedicated to advancing technology in electrical engineering and other fields.
Where to Work as a Computer Specialist
Computer specialists work in a wide variety of places, including corporate information technology (IT) departments, small businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions. They typically work in comfortable, well-lit offices and spend most of their time in front of a computer screen. They may work long hours to meet deadlines, solve problems, or complete projects. Some computer specialists may be required to work on call, which means they must be available at all hours of the day and night.
Computer Specialist Salary Scale
The median annual salary for computer specialists in the United States is $66,717, while the median annual salary for those in Canada is $78,361. In the United Kingdom, salaries for computer specialists can range from £37,500 to £49,833, depending on experience and location.