Technical Support Specialists
Technical support specialists work for computer hardware and software companies, as well as in the information systems departments of large corporations and government agencies. There are approximately 882,330 technical support specialists employed in the United States.
Most technical support positions are considered entry-level, employed mainly in computer companies and large corporations. Job opportunities are found directly through the careers sections of companies' Web sites as well as through online employment sites such as Monster, Indeed, SimplyHired, among others. Technical support specialists also learn about jobs through word of mouth. School career services offices may also provide job lists, help with resume and cover letter writing, interview tips, and other resources.
Employees who want to make a career change into technical support can contact the human resources department of the company or speak directly with appropriate management. In companies that are expanding their computing systems, it is often helpful for management to know that current employees would be interested in growing in a computer-related direction. They may even be willing to finance additional education.
Technical support specialists who demonstrate leadership skills and a strong aptitude for the work may be promoted to supervisory positions within technical support departments. Supervisors are responsible for the more complicated problems that arise, as well as for some administrative duties such as scheduling, interviewing, and job assignments.
Further promotion requires additional education. Some technical support specialists may become commercially certified in computer networking so that they can install, maintain, and repair computer networks. Others may prefer to pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science, either full time or part time. The range of careers available to college graduates varies widely. Software engineers analyze industrial, business, and scientific problems and develop software programs to handle them effectively. Quality assurance engineers design automated quality assurance tests for new software applications. Internet quality assurance specialists work specifically with testing and developing companies' Web sites. Computer systems/programmer analysts study the broad computing picture for a company or a group of companies in order to determine the best way to organize the computer systems.
There are limited opportunities for technical support specialists to be promoted into managerial positions. Doing so would require additional education in business but would probably also depend on the individual's advanced computer knowledge.
Tips for Entry
Join professional associations such as the Association of Support Professionals and the Association for Computing Machinery to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Read ACM Career News at https://www.acm.org/articles/careernews to keep up to date on career trends and get job-search tips.
Visit the Web sites of the corporations that interest you and check the careers sections for technical support job openings.