How to Become a Technical Support Specialist

How to Become a Technical Support Specialist: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a technical support specialist, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a technical support specialist:


Those who become technical support specialists are typically individuals with a natural aptitude in computers and/or electronics. They are typically individuals who enjoy working with computers, as well as identifying, troubleshooting and solving technical problems.


If you want to become a technical support specialist you must be comfortable working with impatient and frustrated customers, and be able to remain calm and patient when doing so. You must also be willing to work a typical weekday schedule, or shift work, depending on the needs of your employer.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a technical support specialist. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Technical Support Specialist

Although the educational requirements for becoming a technical support specialist vary from job to job, and from employer to employer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in a field relevant to your work.


A bachelor’s degree in a field such as Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Science or Information Technology will provide you with the necessary skill set and knowledge base to work as a technical support specialist. 




What is a Technical Support Specialist?

Technical support specialists provide technical assistance and training to customers as it relates to equipment, software, database management, information technology, instrumentation and other technology. Their customers may include individuals, businesses and other organizations.



Technical Support Specialist Job Description

The job description of a technical support specialist can vary depending on the specific responsibilities of their job. In general, technical support specialists may be responsible for testing, evaluating, maintaining, and troubleshooting an organization's or an individual’s computer network, software, hardware, equipment and other specialized instrumentation.  


Typically, a customer will contact them in order to seek assistance with a technical problem. Once they are in touch with the customer, they ask the customer questions in order to diagnose the problem. Once the problem has been identified, they walk customers through problem-solving steps. They may also repair computer and other specialized equipment, and train users in how to use it.



Technical Support Specialist Job Duties

• Provide client support and technical issues resolution via e-mail, telephone or online chat

• Configure various pieces of electronic equipment for clients, such as connecting equipment to the internet by setting up a router

• Perform creation of new accounts using company provided software tools

• Consult with quality assurance analysts to ensure that equipment or software being installed complies with company policies and regulations

• Identify and correct or advise, on operational issues in client computer systems or other equipment

• Test equipment or software and modify as necessary

• Provide training to clients in the use of equipment, software, instrumentation or other technology

• Stay abreast of changes taking place in computer technology 



Who Hires Technical Support Specialists?

Technical support specialists can find jobs with organizations involved in selling goods and services such as technical equipment, software, database management, information technology, instrumentation and other technology. They may also find jobs with other organizations, such as those contracted to provide technical support services.


Organizations that hire technical support specialists include:


• Large organizations that have their own information technology departments

• Consulting firms that provide technical support services for outside organizations

• Internet service providers

• Organizations that develop, sell and service software, hardware and other computer technology




Work Conditions for Technical Support Specialists

Hours of Work: Technical support specialists typically work normal weekday working hours, or they may work shifts that include working evenings and weekends. Some technical support specialists may occasionally be required to be on call.


Work Environment: Technical support specialists typically work in an office environment. They may work on-site, which can involve working face-to-face with customers, or they can work remotely, which involves working with customers via online chat, telephone or e-mail.


Challenges: The work of technical support specialists can be quite stressful at times, as they must work under pressure to solve technical problems, often of a critical or time-sensitive nature. They must also frequently deal with customers that are rude, impatient or frustrated. 



Skills Needed to Become a Technical Support Specialist

In order to become effective in a career as a technical support specialist you need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will allow you to not only perform your job with competence; they will allow you to endure the challenges of this career and maintain a positive attitude towards your work.


• Highly skilled in various technical areas, such as information technology

• Must have a natural aptitude in working with technology

• Must be patient when instructing those who are less technically proficient

• Able to remain patient when dealing with frustrating problems and frustrated users

• Work well under pressure

• Able to work well with a variety of personality types

• Must be able to speak clearly and communicate effectively

• Enjoy work that involves analyzing problems and finding innovative solutions

• Have a methodical approach to work that requires precision

• Must be able to effectively isolate variables during troubleshooting

• Able to take responsibility for projects

• Able to reassure customers that there are solutions for their technology problems



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Technical Support Specialist Salary

The salary level of technical support specialist can vary depending on factors such as their level of education, their level of experience, where they work, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many others.


Technical Support Specialist Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the User Support Technicians occupational group earn a mean wage of $27.19 per hour.


Technical Support Specialist Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of workers in the User Support Technicians occupational group is $45,231 per year.


Technical Support Specialist Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of workers in the Computer Support Specialists occupational group is $46,260 per year. 



Careers Similar to Technical Support Specialist

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Technical Support Specialist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Customer Service Representative

Robotics Technologist

Sales Representative

Technical Sales Engineer

Technical Writer



References for This Career Guide

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a Technical Support Specialist.


Occupations in Alberta:Computer Service Technician.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 14, 2020.

Computer & Information Technology:Computer Support Specialists.” (September 4, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 14, 2020.


Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




Scholarships for Becoming a Technical Support Specialist

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a Technical Support Specialist can be found on our Computer Science Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Technical Support Specialist: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a Technical Support Specialist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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