Computer Support Service Owners


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Of course, you should take any classes that will familiarize you with computers. Computer science classes will help you learn about operating systems and programming. Learn about various software, like word processing and spreadsheet programs, as well as Web page design. A journalism class and working on your school newspaper will involve you with multimedia presentations and teach you about page layout and graphic design. Take courses in business and accounting to prepare for the bookkeeping and administrative details of the work. English composition and communication courses can help you develop teaching skills.

Postsecondary Training

Though a degree is not required for you to start your own computer support service, most service owners and consultants have at least an associate's degree, while others have degrees in computer science, computer engineering, or electrical engineering. A small but growing number of colleges offer degrees in computer support. For a degree in computer science, you will be required to take courses in calculus, English composition, program design, algorithms, computer graphics, and database management. Electrical or computer engineering programs include classes in programming languages, industrial electronics, digital integrated circuits, and microprocessor systems. In addition to seminars, you will also attend labs. Some bachelor's programs include research projects in which you will work closely with a faculty member to study new technologies. Some software companies offer training programs.

Consultants can supplement their education by completing special training offered by computer software companies such as Oracle and Microsoft.

Other Education or Training

Keeping up with industry developments is key to success as a support service owner. Professional associations often provide continuing education opportunities. For example, student and professional members of the Association for Computing Machinery can access online computing and business courses via the association’s Learning Center. Visit for more information. The IEEE Computer Society offers career planning webinars and continuing education courses to its members. Visit for more information. The Association of Support Specialists ( offers a few workshops and seminars.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are many different kinds of certifications available to people working in computer support and consulting. No one certification, however, serves all the varying needs of computer professionals. Some consultants get certified in database design and administration. Some consultants have Microsoft certified solutions expert (MCSE) status, and within this designation, subcertifications are available in core infrastructure, data management and analytics, business applications, and productivity. This certification should only supplement an extensive computer background, not replace it. The term "paper MCSE" has evolved in the industry to describe those who "look good on paper" with their certification, but do not have the networking and computer science education and experience to back it up. Certification is also offered by organizations such as HDI and CompTIA.

The Institute for Certification of Computer Professionals offers more than 10 certification designations, including associate computing professional, certified computing professional, and certified information technology professional.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Very few consultants start their own businesses straight out of college. Working full-time as a member of a computer support team will give you the experience you will need to open your own business. Not only will you develop your computer expertise, but you will learn what is required in operating a company.

To be a successful computer consultant, you should have good business and money management skills. Though some months you may have more work than you can handle, with a steady flow of income, other months there may be no work at all. You will have to budget your money to carry you through the lean months. Though computer skills are very important, you will need good people skills to maintain customer relations. Teaching skills are important, because you will be training people in how to use their systems. Patience and strong problem-solving skills are also key because you may not be able to solve a problem on the first—or even second or third—try. You'll need to stay calm and focused until you can devise a solution to the issue.