How to Become a Technical Support Specialist

How to Become a Technical Support Specialist

Table of Contents

Becoming a Technical Support Specialist comes with a wide variety of work environments and opportunities to specialize in different subfields. Job growth is robust for the foreseeable future as organizations continue to undergo digital transformation.

Students that choose to become an IT support specialist can adjust their career path as needed and go into different positions in technology. To become a technical support specialist, you must usually earn some entry-level IT certifications, earn a degree in technology, or have on-the-job training coupled with information technology credentials.

For individuals who enjoy problem-solving, computers and technology, and enjoy adapting to changing technology, this is an extremely viable career path.

What is a Technical Support Specialist?

A technical support specialist provides technical assistance for users of computers, networks, software, or other devices. They may supply support either for external users, or internally for team members in a company. Some technical support positions are highly specialized, and may focus primarily on networking, security, customer tech support, hardware, or software. Tech support specialists are almost always certified for displaying proficiency in a wide range of operating systems, general security, connecting devices in a network ,and hardware troubleshooting.

What Does a Technical Support Specialist Do?

Technical support specialists work with external or internal end-users to assist and provide tech support for hardware, software, networking, and technology issues. Some of the problems a technical support specialist may help users with include networking and connection issues, laggy device or network performance, inability to retrieve data, operating system setup, or system inefficiencies. Some specific duties a tech support specialist may be responsible for include:

  • Helping customers with program installation and launch.
  • Sending technical documentation to users.
  • Training internal teams on new software, systems, or processes.
  • Answering technical questions through the phone or a ticketing system.
  • Documenting software and hardware issues as reported by users or observed.
  • Helping customers with technical issues with their account.
  • Testing new systems or software.
  • Designing and implementing networks.
  • Making recommendations for software or hardware purchases.
  • Installing, configuring, or modifying computer systems or hardware.
  • Troubleshooting internal technical requests for an organization to maintain and preserve productivity and efficiency.
  • Documenting particularly difficult technical issues and bringing in a senior support technician or analyst for consultation.
  • Viewing or debugging a customers software or hardware configuration for debugging.

Salary and Job Outlook reported in 2021 that the average salary for a technical support specialist was $61,966, with the top 10 percent earning $91,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent made under $41,000 per year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the median pay for computer support specialists in May 2020 was $55,510 per year, and $26.69 per hour. The BLS also shows that the median pay for computer network support specialists was $65,450 in May 2020.

Note: The data provided above are from a source unaffiliated with Campus, formerly known as MTI College, are for informational purposes only and represent the employment field as a whole. They are not solely specific to Campus graduates and, by providing the above information, Campus makes no representation, direct or implied, or opinion regarding employability.

For the sub-group of Computer User Support Specialists, California had the highest mean salary in 2020.

State Total Employment Employment per thousand jobs Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
California 75,950 4.62 $ 33.90 $ 70,510
Texas 61,590 5.09 $ 24.35 $ 50,650
Florida 42,140 4.99 $ 24.90 $ 51,790
New York 40,460 4.66 $ 30.00 $ 62,390
Pennsylvania 23,200 4.21 $ 26.73 $ 55,600

Between 2020 and 2030, the number of technical support specialist jobs is forecasted to increase by 9%, with about 72,200 jobs being added over the that decade.

Work Environment – Where they Work

Many technical support specialists work 9 to 5 in an office or remotely. Some IT support specialists may work nights and weekends, or outside of traditional business hours, as many applications may require 24-hour support.

Large companies may have some staff on hand at odd hours, to make sure the networks and technical environments are running smoothly for all users 24 hours a day.

About 20 percent of all technical support specialists work in computer systems design and related services. Many others work in education, private companies, telecommunications, data processing, hosting, software publishing, and in office jobs.

How to Become a Technical Support Specialist

To gain an entry level job as a technical support specialist, you will usually need a diploma or associate degree in an information technology program, along with key IT certifications.

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) offers a credential called the CompTIA A+, which certifies that individuals are proficient in solving different issues with device hardware, software applications, peripherals, network connectivity, and installing and configuration of operating systems (Windows, Max OSX, iOS, Android, Linux).

For more advanced positions in technical support, a candidate may require a bachelor’s degree and more advanced information technology certifications. CompTIA offers several different IT certifications all of which are vendor neutral. Other technology certifications may be vendor specific (Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, AWS). Certifications such as the CompTIA A+, Security+, and Network+ certify for knowledge that can be used across all technology stacks.

Start a Rewarding Career in Technology

Campus, formerly MTI College, in Sacramento has programs that will train you to become a Technical Support Specialist in about 36 weeks. If you've always dreamed of a career in technology, our training program can give you the tech skills you need to build a stable future.

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Career Path and Advancement

After securing an entry-level tech support job, and gaining experience, a technical support specialist may advance to other positions if they so choose, such as database administrator, network administrator, or security specialist. Depending on what additional education, training, certifications, and hands-on experience you gain, the possibilities are quite limitless.

The Princeton Review states that after about five to ten years of experience, a technical support specialist would be considered an expert in the field and may be qualified become a Tech Support Department Lead, earning more than $100,000 a year.

What Skills Should a Technical Support Specialist Have?

Customer Service

A technical support expert must be able to listen to a customer’s issue and have empathy for their situation, while exhibiting patience while finding a solution. Customers may be frustrated and being able to diffuse and clam them while working diligently to fix the issue is a useful trait for support specialists.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Interpersonal skills are otherwise known as people skills or soft skills, but it encompasses everything to do with interacting with other people. Communication, grace, staying positive and upbeat, and listening well are all hallmarks of strong interpersonal skills.

Communication is one of the most important skills an IT support specialist can have. Customers will try to explain their technology issues, but they may not know how to express it. Being able to understand and decipher these customer messages and interpret as useful information is a critical skill. An excellent technical support specialist can address the customer and explain their problem back to them in terms they can understand and put the customer at ease.

Problem Solving

Tech support is all about solving problems, having critical thinking skills, researching knowledge bases, analyzing details, decision making, and finding patterns in technology. An IT support expert must be able to diagnose and solve computer and networking problems, find a solution, and implement solution efficiently.

Analytical Skills

A technical support specialist should possess strong analytical skills and be able to collect and analyze information to find and solve an issue. Problem-solving and rational thinking are key components in analytical thinking.

Start Your Information Technology Career Today

If you have questions, the staff at Campus has answers. Our helpful admissions staff is available at: (916) 339-1500. Call us today for more information on whether our Technical Support Specialist program is right for you.

Our Technical Support Specialist diploma program is available in our Online format, where all of the coursework can be done remotely, with minimal in-classroom days required.

If you are ready to start a career in technology and build a future, you can complete your online application on our site.

We look forward to helping you grow your IT career.