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IT Support

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree in any field of IT
Average Salary: Median: $45,443 annually
Employment Outlook: Very good

The IT support officers supervise and maintain the computer systems and networks of an organization. They are responsible for giving the necessary assistance to end users. They are tasked to analyze hardware or software faults and solve technical and application problems, either over the phone or in person. They may be required to install, configure and upgrade computers or equipments. They are responsible for the smooth running of computer systems and ensuring users get the maximum benefit from them. An IT support officer will be expected to:

  • Test, evaluate, and learn about new software in the market that relates to the organization’s functions and their requirements

  • Regularly update the servers

  • Configure and install computer hardware operating systems

  • Supervise and maintain computer systems and networks

  • Repair and upgrade the computers

  • Keep track of IT supplies and equipment

  • Perform electrical safety checks on computer equipment

  • Teach and guide staff and faculty in IT

  • Establish a good working relationship with clients and other professionals

Education and Training Requirements

To be an IT support officer, a bachelor’s degree in any field of IT is adequate for this position. Thorough knowledge of the programs and applications like Microsoft, Linux, and Cisco technologies is required. There are widely recognized courses for Linux, Unix, and Cisco available at education colleges and commercial training centers; completing these courses can help a lot in this field. Candidates should have the ability to express their knowledge in the practices, concepts, and procedures that are necessary within this field. Gaining practical work experience during the degree course is extremely helpful and summer placements or year internships are also very beneficial.

Getting the Job

To get the job of an IT support officer formal education and practical skills are a must. One can look for employment in universities, insurance companies, financial services, government offices or agencies, health care companies, and IT companies. Getting the job as an IT support officer one needs to have good written and spoken communication skills, good typing speed, and the capability to troubleshoot problems.

Working Conditions and Environment

IT support specialists usually work in comfortable offices. They generally work about forty hours a week, but overtime may be required when unexpected technical problems occur. They may have to travel to the client’s place of business which may require working overtime or irregular hours. At times they may have to work with frustrated users who do not understand the technology, so lots of patience and the ability to work under stress is also required.
As IT support specialists work for long periods on computers, therefore they are susceptible to eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

According to the Bureau of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2010-11, the employment outlook for IT support officers is very good. They should continue to enjoy excellent job prospects. Generally, candidates with a college degree and certification will have the best opportunities. Even though many help-desk technician jobs are being outsourced overseas, the developments in new technology and the need for in-house technical support staffs will create many new jobs in the United States.

Many graduates entering this profession develop their careers by broadening their skills within a specific industry. With experience and expertise, a move to a specialist area dealing with more complex technical environments is possible.

Salary and Benefits

An IT support job ranges from basic PC and desktop support to highly qualified and trained jobs, therefore salaries will vary widely from A level to graduate level and depend on the knowledge, awareness, abilities, and experience required. The median expected salary for a typical IT Support officer in the United States is $45,443 annually.

As the majority of support jobs are with established companies, benefits include paid vacations, medical benefits, and retirement packages.

Where to Go for More Information

Association for Computing Machinery
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(212) 626-0500

Association of Computer Support Specialists
333 Mamaroneck Ave., Ste. 129
White Plains, NY 10605
(917) 438-0865

IEEE Computer Society
1730 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 371-0101

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesComputers, IT & Telecommunications