Computer Assistant Job Description
Computer assistants assist computer users with technical issues through troubleshooting and problem-solving techniques, advise customers on how to use and maintain computers, and perform upgrades and updates. Computer retail stores, computer manufacturers, software companies, and businesses with extensive computer networks hire computer assistants to work part- and full-time hours during varying shifts that might include evenings and weekends, depending on the company’s hours of operation. Computer assistants work with little supervision as part of a larger information technology (IT) team, ultimately reporting to the IT department manager or supervisor. Depending on the hiring business, computer assistants travel to customer homes and businesses, respond to customers through a call center, or work in-house to service computers on the premises.
Computer Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
Computer assistants daily responsibilities vary, depending on whether they service users outside the office or work in-house, duties that change continually based on the different problems computer users experience. In spite of these variables, the core job tasks performed by computer assistants are universally the same everywhere:
Computer assistants troubleshoot computer software and hardware issues to find the source of problems.
Computer assistants advise customers on how to perform maintenance tasks and how to use computer software or hardware to prevent future problems.
Computer assistants assist customers with setting up and managing their accounts, using computer programs, and performing specific tasks on the computer.
Computer assistants update and upgrade computer software programs and hardware components as needed.
Computer assistants install computer software programs and computer hardware and accessories.
Computer assistants remove spyware, malware, and other viruses from computers.
Computer assistants configure computer hardware and accessories, updating settings as needed to keep systems running smoothly and correctly.
Computer Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Computer assistants troubleshoot and fix problems as defined by computer users. When hiring computer assistants, employers seek professionals who have the essential skills needed to perform the duties associated with this job:
- Computer skills – to diagnose and resolve computer issues
- Customer service – to interact with customers to resolve computer problems
- Attention to detail – to spot all problems and potential issues with computer software and hardware
- Communication – to understand customer problems, explain fixes, and advise customers on maintenance and usage techniques to prevent future problems
- Analytical skills – to diagnose computer problems and find fixes for them
- Time-management – to troubleshoot, upgrade, and perform other work on computers efficiently and quickly
Tools of the Trade
Computer assistants work regularly with the following tools:
- Computer software (Microsoft programs, operating systems, anti-virus programs)
- Computer hardware (cables, computer accessories)
Computer Assistant Education and Training
Employers hiring computer assistants look for individuals who have a high school diploma or GED. Candidates who complete IT training programs or have an associate’s degree in an IT field stand out to employers among others vying for the same job, though this is not usually a requirement for computer assistants. When travel is required as part of the job, computer assistants must also have a valid driver’s license.
Paid on-the-job-training is provided to computer assistants so they can become familiar with techniques for solving the most common computer problems. The training period differs for every employer but typically lasts for two or more weeks. During training, computer assistants work under the close supervision of a senior computer assistant or IT supervisor while they learn company practices and procedures.
Computer Assistant Salary and Outlook
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job data shows that computer support specialists earned a median salary of $25.39 hourly, or $52,810 annually, in 2017. There were more than 800,000 jobs for computer support specialists available in 2016, a number the BLS predicts will rise by 11 percent through 2026. This rate is faster than the national job growth average. Computer support specialists give advice and support to computer users, performing the same tasks as computer assistants. In some companies, the titles are interchangeable. Computer assistants may also be known as technical support assistants or information technology assistants, who earn $16.04 median hourly income, according to PayScale. Data from PayScale shows that information technology assistants earn $14.86 hourly.
Computer assistants who work full-time hours receive complete benefits packages from employers. These packages include health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits, as well as retirement planning options. Part-time computer assistants do not typically receive insurance benefits of any type. After sustaining employment for a period of several months, computer assistants receive paid holidays, sick leave, and vacation days. Computer assistants who are required to travel to provide services to computer users additionally receive travel reimbursement from employers.
Find out how to perform computer assistant job duties, read news updates, and find professional resources for this career through these books and websites:
Computer and Communications Industry Association – Visit this website to find career and internship opportunities, get up-to-date news and events information, and explore a resource library for computer assistants and other computer professionals.
Help Desk Analyst: System Support Analyst Job Interview Bottom Line Questions and Answers: Your Basic Guide to Acing Any Information Technology (computer) Help Desk Job Interview – Find ways to excel at a help desk job interview with the tips in this book, which was written specifically for information technology and computer professionals who provide support and assistance to customers.
Association of Support Professionals – Read newsletters, find upcoming industry events, explore research reports, and discover information for all support professionals at this website.
A Guide to Computer User Support for Help Desk and Support Specialists – Use this guidebook to learn the tools and techniques needed to thrive in a computer assistant or computer support position.
Association of Information Technology Professionals – Discover programs and events for information technology professionals of all types, including computer assistants, on this website.
Fundamentals of Information Systems – Read this book to learn the core principles and fundamentals of information systems and learn more about the latest technology unfolding in the industry.
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