If you work in the field of computer technology, you will help technical support and assist companies with information technology needs. You can help organizations with their computer systems, computer hardware or software or provide services on a contract basis. You might work on the technical support side, responding to computer users’ inquiries and fixing problems by running diagnostic programs. Or you might also monitor the performance of a company’s computer systems on a daily basis and train employees to use new computer hardware and software. Support specialists may also work as help-desk technicians, dealing directly with customer issues and responding to telephone calls or e-mails from those who need help with computer problems. Within a corporate setting, support specialists maintain, upgrade, and repair the computers used throughout a business. Troubleshooting is important and must be done quickly in order to keep a business operational and profitable. This involves listening carefully to customer issues, asking relevant questions about computer problems, and evaluating answers in order to diagnose the problem. This type of career requires excellent interpersonal and communication skills as well. A Day in the Life of a Computer Support Specialist In general, computer support specialists spend their days: Setting up or fixing networks Installing virus, spyware, and spam software Scanning for viruses, spyware, and spam and removing any troublesome issues Installing firewalls Installing software Troubleshooting and repairing computer problems Reformatting hard drives Helping set up computer systems in a home or office Setting up wireless modems Helping recover lost data Backing up data Upgrading computer Installing computer components such as printers and scanners Removing unnecessary or unwanted software Tweaking settings for improved computer speeds and performance Computer support specialists are critical to a company’s ability to function properly using information technology. Without them, computers would become outdated, fail to run properly and cost businesses incredible amounts of money to replace. The pay is excellent and work flow is steady. Computer support is growing steadily and attracting workers who have an aptitude for this type of career. Up close and personal with a computer support specialist The following are questions asked and answered by Stan Hemmings-Support Tech/Specialist for Tribune Media Services. Q. What is the most enjoyable thing about your job? A. Being involved in a field that is constantly changing and advancing (not stagnant). Q. What is the biggest challenge regarding your job? A. Staying current and on-top of all the latest trends and shifts and avoiding being outsourced. Q. What are your daily tasks like? A. Some trivial tech support-like tasks, intense problem solving, monitoring & revising existing systems, cost-benefit analysis. Q. What skills do you use at work? A. Problem solving, analysis & statistics, organizational, basic math, basic use of hand tools for repairs. Q. What percentage of your day do you spend working independently or in a group? A. 75% individual, 25% group. Q. What is one thing you didn’t know about your field before getting into it that you wish you had known? A. There is a certain amount of “grunt work” expected from everyone, regardless of position or degree. Q. If you were a person getting ready to choose an IT major for college, what advice/guidance would you give them to help them decide between all the fields? A. You must be able to see “the whole picture”. You need good interpersonal skills, the ability to put up with a certain amount of trivial or menial work, the desire to constantly learn and push yourself and understand that you can’t know everything. Q. If you could give me one quote about why you feel Information Technology is “THE” field to be in, what would it be? A. No other industry can match the forward-thinking attitudes and be as important to business as information technology – it’s where the best and brightest are. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment opportunities for computer support specialists is expected to increase by 14 percent from 2008 to 2018. This is largely due to the fact that more specialists will be needed to resolve technical issues as technology not only becomes more complex but widespread.