Your Next Move: Technical Support Specialist

by Jessica Frank | Jan 02, 2019

Your Next Move: Get the Inside Scoop on IT Job RolesThis article is part of an IT Career News series called “Your Next Move.” These articles take an inside look at the roles related to CompTIA certifications. Each article will include the responsibilities, qualifications, related job titles and salary range for the role. As you consider the next move in your IT career, check back with CompTIA to learn more about your job prospects and how to get there.

Problems and challenges arise in everything. When a technological problem occurs in an organization, it can halt everyday tasks and pull attention away from business that needs to be done. Technical support specialists take care of these hiccups so business can be accomplished as usual. If you enjoy problem solving and being part of the bigger picture of success, then being a technical support specialist could be in your future.

What Is a Technical Support Specialist?

A technical support specialist does a range of tasks, from installing software to setting up computer workspaces, as well as solves technical issues that arise on a day-to-day basis. A technical support specialist may also do the following:

  • Maintain system capability by testing computer components
  • Train users on proper use of hardware and software
  • Document hardware and software changes, revisions and problems
  • Test an organizations’ existing equipment and programs and try out new systems and software to see if the organization would benefit from them
  • Clearly communicate with managers and co-workers to ensure the understanding of the proper use of technology and any troubleshooting that may be needed

A technical support specialist may support internal clients, helping to keep employees productive, or external customers of a company, helping them via the telephone or webchat.

A technical support specialist is an important piece of an IT team, and companies generally employ more than one at a time. Technical support specialists at larger companies may be called upon to write user manuals for their employees or customers. Fields like education, finance, computer systems and telecommunications employ technical support specialists.

How to Become a Technical Support Specialist

A technical support specialist can be an entry-level tech support job, not requiring a four-year degree. Most companies hiring for this position will look for someone with some IT or customer service experience, which may be obtained during schooling or an internship. CompTIA's workforce charity, Creating IT Futures, helps train adults for technical support specialist positions for free through its IT-Ready program.

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As an entry-level tech support job, technical support specialist could lead to other positions, like computer programmer or database administrator as one’s experience and education grows. 

Certifications like CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ can give you the background in IT that you need if you don’t already have it, and CompTIA A+ can get your foot in the door as a technical support specialist. Check out the CompTIA Career Roadmap to see what other certifications can help you become a technical support specialist.

The Details

Technical Support Specialist Salary

The salary for a technical support specialist, or computer user support specialist, varies based on job responsibilities, company and location, but the median annual wage in 2017 was $50, 210, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Technical Support Specialist Job Outlook

Employment of technical support specialists is on the rise, with 11 percent growth expected from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS. If you want to get into IT, technical support specialist is a great place to start.

Job Titles Related to Technical Support Specialist

  • Customer support specialist
  • Help desk specialist
  • Information technology project manager
  • IT training specialist

Will your next move be technical support specialist? CompTIA A+ is getting a refresh this month and can get your foot in the door. Learn more about the new CompTIA A+.

16 Comments

  • Rohna

    Sunday, January 13, 2019

    Hi, I would greatly benefit from the IT-Ready Program but I do not live in any of the States listed. Is there an alternative for me to take advantage of the IT-Ready program?

  • Hesekiel Rakuba

    Sunday, January 13, 2019

    I have certificate of IT technical support L4 and CompTia A+ but it's been 2years applying for jobs like below Customer support Help desk Information technology project manager IT training But there is no luck for me. What more can I do to be recognized or to get a job like above mentioned .

  • Alex Perez

    Sunday, January 13, 2019

    I want information to take a certification class to become a entry level specialist. Please send me cost, location and time table please!

  • MICHAEL AUSTIN

    Sunday, January 13, 2019

    Can the credits for this exam be applied to the Security+ CE

  • Francis Patrick West

    Sunday, January 13, 2019

    Sadly none of this helps if you are 60. I.T, is so youth centric that degrees and certifications are often ignored.

  • Robert Grant

    Sunday, January 13, 2019

    Hello, I have a security + certificate which is now outdated and I want to renew. I understand if I get one higher than this one I would have this one automatically renewed too. If so, which would be the recommended higher one to this. Thanks

  • Grantham

    Monday, January 14, 2019

    How much and is it correspondance

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    Hi, Rohna! Thanks for your comment. Check out PerScholas.org and see if they have offerings in your area. Their program is similar to IT-Ready. And, if you're in the San Jose, CA, area, you can also check out The Stride Center. Good luck!

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    Hi, Heskiel! Thanks for your comment. I know that can be frustrating. What kind of experience do you have (on or off the job), and how do you explain it to employers? Sometimes it's all in the way you position what you've done that can make the difference. It can also depend on where you live - some areas have more IT jobs than others. You're on the right track with credentials, so I would work on either gaining more hands-on experience or finding new ways to explain it. Here's a great article on resume writing that might help: https://www.aitp.org/blog/aitp-blog/2018/11/20/refresh-your-resume-7-ways-to-stand-out-from-the-competition/ Good luck!

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    Hi, Alex! Thanks for your comment. Getting CompTIA A+ will position you well for a job as an entry-level tech support specialist. You can find classes near you on our A+ page: https://certification.comptia.org/certifications/a#tab3 Good luck!

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    Hi, Michael! Thanks for your question. If you mean CompTIA A+, no, getting it will not renew your Security+ because Security+ is a higher-level certification. But, if you do earn A+ and then go on to earn a higher-level cert, like CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst, that would renew both. You can read more here: https://certification.comptia.org/continuing-education/choose/renew-with-a-single-activity/earn-a-higher-level-comptia-certification Good luck!

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    Hi, Francis! Thanks for your comment, and I'm sorry you're having trouble getting into IT. I know it can be frustrating to change careers at any age, let alone in your 60s. But, it's not impossible. Read how Tony Phillips started his IT career: https://certification.comptia.org/it-career-news/post/view/2017/07/20/starting-an-it-career-at-40-and-still-going-with-comptia You can also check out our article about how to change careers at any age: https://certification.comptia.org/career-change/plan/how-to/30-40-50 Good luck!

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    Hi, Robert! Thanks for your question. As long as your Security+ certification is not expired, you can renew it with a higher-level certification, such as CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) or CompTIA PenTest+. You can see the full list here: https://certification.comptia.org/continuing-education/choose/renew-with-a-single-activity/earn-a-higher-level-comptia-certification If your Security+ certification has expired, you would need to take the exam again and stay up to date with your CE activities (earning a higher-level cert is one of many options) in order to keep it active. Good luck!

  • Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    Hi, Grantham! Thanks for your question. If you are talking about CompTIA A+, there are many ways you can learn and study - either on your own or in a classroom. At this time, we do not offer the exams virtually, but it is offered at testing centers around the world. Learn more here: https://certification.comptia.org/certifications/a

  • Francis Rodriguez

    Monday, January 21, 2019

    Hi There, I would also like to know, how can this work if your abroad. I am really interested. I have been working in Europe for 3 years, this would come in handy for the near future. Thank you for your time Regards

  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019

    Hi, Francis! CompTIA certifications are offered and recognized worldwide. You can find a testing center near you via this link: http://www.pearsonvue.com/comptia/locate/

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