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Desktop Support Technician

The "go-to" person to keep your PC up and running smoothly

Global competition that forces businesses to design smarter-than-ever databases to keep track of customers—and competitors... an ever-changing Internet that prompts all organizations to constantly re-evaluate their Web presence... Microsoft Office® software that regularly adds new features... desktop and laptop computers that need continual maintenance, repair and upgrading... Our computer-driven world continues to grow, evolve—and create exciting job opportunities.

What does a Desktop Support Technician do?

As a Desktop Support Technician, you'll use your hands-on computer smarts to do one or more of the following:

  • Install, modify, clean and repair monitors, keyboards, mice, central processing units (CPUs), printers and other peripherals.
  • Troubleshoot problems and provide technical support for software and hardware.
  • Manage upgrades in software and hardware.
  • Field telephone calls and e-mail messages from customers who are seeking guidance on technical problems.
  • Write training manuals and train computer users in how to use new hardware and software.
  • Oversee the daily performance of a company's computer systems and evaluate software programs with regard to their usefulness.
  • Test the latest, coolest new software and hardware, and provide feedback to the manufacturers.

What are the typical job titles?

Entry-level positions include help-desk technician, PC technician, tech-support specialist or computer support specialist. Jobs are available in corporations, government agencies, schools and non-profit organizations. You may work for a company that uses computer systems or work directly for a computer hardware or software vendor. Many become self-employed as consultants.

What kind of salary can you earn?

As of May 2010, the annual salary for computer support specialists in Chicagoland ranged from $23,400 to $68,400, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As with any occupation, the salary can vary greatly by employer size, industry, employee credentials, years of experience, location and other factors.

What are the job prospects?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of computer support specialists is expected to increase by 13 percent from 2006 to 2016, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. As computers and software become more complex, support specialists will be needed to provide technical assistance to customers and other users.