Systems Setup Specialists


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Take any mechanics and electronics classes that focus on understanding how complex machinery works. These classes will provide the basics of reading flow charts and schematic drawings and understanding technical documents. The ability to read these documents efficiently and accurately is a prerequisite for computer setup work. Also take computer classes, especially those that explain the basic functioning of computer technology. English and speech classes will also help build communication skills, which is another important quality because setup specialists often work closely with many different people. Take business classes to become familiar with practices of the business world.

Postsecondary Training

A high school diploma is a minimum educational requirement for most systems setup specialist positions. However, the competitive nature of this industry is increasing the importance of postsecondary education, such as an associate's degree. Computer technology is advancing so rapidly that without a solid understanding of the basics, setup specialists cannot keep up with the changes. Also, many aspiring computer professionals use system setup positions as a springboard to higher-level jobs in the company. Formal computer education, along with work experience, gives them a better chance for advancement.

Other Education or Training

Keeping up with industry developments is key to success as a systems setup specialist. 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 details. The IEEE Computer Society offers career planning webinars and continuing education courses to its members. Visit for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

A number of companies, such as Microsoft and Cisco, offer certification programs in the use of their products. There are also independent companies that provide training programs leading to certification. Generally these certifications are voluntary. Some employers may pay for part or all of the training cost.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Experience as an intern, volunteer, or part-time employee at a hardware or software firm is recommended. Good manual dexterity is required since manual work is performed on large and small scales. For example, sometimes thick cables and communications lines must be installed; other times tiny memory chips or microprocessors are needed.

Systems setup specialists are also curious about how things work. They are typically the kind of people who tinker around the house on DVD players, televisions, small appliances, and computers. Genuine curiosity of this type is important because they are constantly challenged to learn about new equipment and technologies. When things go wrong during installation, setup specialists are called on as electronics and computer problem-solvers and must be prepared with a solid understanding of the basics.

Installation work can be tedious. There are many details involving wiring, communications, and configurations. Setup specialists must therefore be patient and thorough, and troubleshooting can be frustrating at times. They must work well under stress and be able to think clearly about how to resolve the issues. If setup specialists are also involved in user training, they must communicate clearly and be understanding of others' problems.