Computer Operator Job Description
Computer operators manage computer systems and processes for various organizations. They’re responsible for monitoring computer hardware systems, checking that everything is functioning properly, as well as setting up devices or software to run jobs and listing technical problems. They provide support and advice to computer users, maintain system files, and identify and fix operating malfunctions. Most computer operators work a full-time schedule, although some may be required to work overtime if a crisis occurs as organizations rely on their computer systems to work efficiently. Computer operators should be great communicators, be comfortable working independently as well as part of a team, and be able to pick up new computer systems and software quickly.
Computer Operator Duties and Responsibilities
While a computer operator’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on job listings we analyzed, these include:
Performing Back-Up Procedures and Tests
Computer operators complete production logs and document any problems that arise following tests. They resolve problems identified by users within the company, answering questions they may have. They carry out back-ups to avoid losing data, and through data tracking and monitoring the system operations and performance, computer operators see where issues appear, fixing them accordingly.
Managing System Files
Computer operators manage the files on any given system, looking for error and stoppage messages and observing processes, adjusting where necessary, such as inputting commands to correct the errors. If required, they notify their supervisor for additional resources.
Performing Data Processing Operations
Computer operators determine the sequence of operations by looking at the production schedule and working through it to ensure tasks are completed in the right order of priority. They prepare equipment for different operations, such as entering specific commands and accessing the software on the computer, to prepare it for the necessary output.
Carrying Out Equipment Maintenance
Computer operators maintain the operation of equipment and carry out preventative maintenance, which involves following manufacturers’ instructions, calling for repairs when items are broken, and maintaining equipment inventories.
Following Company Procedures
Computer operators contribute to team efforts and group goals by accomplishing the necessary results as needed. They maintain client confidentiality and operations at all times and look for ways to improve systems and processes to enhance the business.
Computer Operator Skills and Qualifications
Accurate and detail oriented, computer operators have great time management skills. Typically, employers require at least an associate’s degree in a related subject, as well as the following abilities:
- Problem-solving skills – to identify problems in data processing or operating systems that may be uncommon or challenging to fix
- Teamwork – computer operators work as part of a team, helping others when they need it, answering questions from other departments, and finding ways to fix problems to help others do their jobs more efficiently
- Computer proficiency – to pick up new systems quickly, to understand how different programs and types of software work, and to stay up to date with the latest trends and updates in the IT sector
- Integrity – to deal with confidential data on behalf of the business, maintaining strict confidentiality at all times.
- Interpersonal skills – to explain complex information to people with little to no computer knowledge and to work with colleagues to fix problems
Computer Operator Education and Training
The minimum requirement to become a computer operator is an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related subject. Computer operators need a good knowledge of the specific operations expected by their organization, as well as experience in a computer-based role. Applicants for this job should have a good understanding of basic computer software, such as Microsoft Office, and Windows and Macintosh operating systems.
Computer Operator Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for computer operators is just over $51,000, according to PayScale. Computer operators in the 10th percentile earn around $30,000 a year, while the highest-paid earn as much as $206,000 annually. This salary is inclusive of up to $26,000 in commission pay, and $10,000 in bonuses. Location has the biggest impact on the pay level.
The majority of companies hiring for this role provide health benefits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the growth rate for this sector will grow by 12 percent through 2026.
We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you learn about a career as a computer operator:
Guide to Operating Systems – In this book, readers will discover the latest information on a range of different platforms and operating systems, from Windows and Mac OS to Linux. This comprehensive guide goes into detail about a host of different aspects, such as storage, hardware options, and network connectivity.
IT Jobs Worldwide – With over 66,000 members, this LinkedIn group was created for anyone in the information technology industry. Members can network with other IT professionals, learn new techniques, share knowledge, and receive advice on issues they’ve not dealt with before.
Techopedia – This expansive site has countless computer-related topics and articles to read through, from data and industry trends to operating systems and security. It also has webinars and tutorials to help those new to the industry.
Operating Systems Demystified – Written in a step-by-step format, this book provides a practical look at what operating systems are and how they work. From the differences between interfaces to the management of RAM and virtual memory, this book will help computer operators carry out complex tasks with ease.
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