Computer Support Person



A Very Basic Job Description

Put plain and simply, a computer support person does exactly what the job title does. They are the person who supports end users in their computer endeavors. Computer support people, or, for the twitter folks, CSPs, set-up and repair computer boxes, monitors, printers, and other computing goodies. They also ensure that minor problems, such as not knowing how to use PuTTY or WinZip or other relatively simple problems like those, are kept to a minimum. To do this, they teach existing employees how to use the hardware and software, and they also teach newly hired employees how to use the hardware and software they will need to use throughout the day.
In addition to providing up-front support to users, however, computer support people also help maintain networks so that users can communicate and share information and also get their information from the central data server if need be. They also provide input to their employer on what hardware and software the company should upgrade to, based both on the trends of the consumer and corporate markets

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Working Environment

Computer support people work in manufacturing factories, software vendors, government buildings, schools, and all different kinds of companies. They will typically work 8 or 9 hours a day, and five days a week, but are also "on-call", meaning they may need to work overtime or come back to work if need be. Keep in mind that not all companies follow the same schedule either, some computer support people may start early, some may finish late, some may work weekends.
The job is stressful, and usually support people will wind up impatient and frustrated most of the time. Support people who work over the phone may find it difficult to deliver precise instructions to an end-user on the other end of the line. Personally, I don't think the implied requirement to have customizable menus makes the job any easier, but that's just me apparently since no software vendor seems to care.
The job also carries with it some lifting (such as when installing or removing equipment), but this isn't typically physically straining work.

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Earnings and Education

As for what a Computer Support Person would earn?
There is no discrete amount as it all depends on the following two factors:


Because earnings based on employer is way too complicated and broad to even get into on one page, I am just going to focus on skill level.
An entry level support person, whose working conditions are outlined above, would typically earn $25000 to $40000 per year. This amount will obviously increase as someone gains experience and skill level. For example, a senior computer support person can earn as much as $80000!

Educational requirements are broad. At the very least you will need a high-school diploma and related training, however almost all positions do require some form of post-secondary education. Usually people will go for a Computer Science University undergraduate degree or even beyond an undergraduate, however you could also get a college diploma in any computer related field.
It is also helpful to get professional certification with companies such as Microsoft or Novell.

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Sample University Program

Focusing on a specific post-secondary program, I picked a university program because that was the common option, and also what I'm planning on going towards myself. Likewise, I picked a local university (Carleton) since it isn't too far away from my current location, which makes interaction with family easier.

But I suppose you want relevant information. Carleton offers doctorate and Master's degrees in Computer Science, but those aren't necessarily required so I chose the common option, the 4-year Undergraduate degree. You could choose to set up one of 9 Honors degree streams, or you could take the general Major degree. Grade cutoffs are 78-82% for Honors and 74-76% for a general Major. To get into this program, you have to have at least six 4U or 4M level courses, one of which must be Calculus and Vectors or Advanced Functions.
And oh yes, for those that would want to take it (I'm looking into it if at all possible), there is a co-operative education element available.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to find out a lot more about the course, although he who admits to not doing as thorough of a search as he should have probably gets exactly what he deserves. The course handbook/guide is located here if you want to read it.

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And now for the most important question

And that is, why?
Why would I want to do this kind of work?

A lot of computers!

Hopefully the above photograph answers your question, ignoring the gigantic mess that is my work area.

I have an ever-growing interest with all things computers. I enjoy tinkering with them, fixing them, and using them even after they are long past their use-by date (not that I would ever recommend doing that). I also enjoy working with people and solving their problems, as well as showing them how to use the software, what they are doing wrong, and how it can be fixed. This job is like both of those things combined, and that seems like the sort of job I would be interested in.
Plus I get paid for doing work in a professional sense in a field that I already consider a personal hobby.

There really is no better way to put that.

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Hopefully that helps you understand what in the heck a "Computer Support Person" is.
Additional information can be found on this page (unfortunately the page I actually got my information from requires a username, so you can't see it, but you can go ahead and try anyways). Info about Carleton's Com Sci course can be found on their website as well.