Computer support specialists provide technical assistance and many forms of computer-related support, such as problem troubleshooting and installation of new hardware. The field is rapidly growing, due to the fact that nearly every company now uses computers in some capacity and needs specialists to support them. Specific support duties may include daily oversight of a firm's computer systems, responding to calls for assistance from the organization's computer users, repair of computer hardware and software, and training users in the use of newly-acquired computer programs. Some support specialists work directly for a computer hardware or software vendor. Others work for help-desk or support services firms, providing computer support to clients on a contract basis.
Education, Certification, Licensing
Training requirements for computer support specialist positions vary widely. Many positions require at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, although some may require only an associate's degree or merely a diploma/certificate coupled with some level of relevant experience. Companies which are flexible about degree requirements are usually insistent on a high level of certification and/or practical experience for support specialist positions.
Certifications are important for all who wish to work in this field and vital for those with lesser educational credentials. A variety of certifications exist at both general and product- or application-specific levels. The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) awards an industry-recognized vendor-neutral certification known as A+, which confirms proficiency in installation, configuration, diagnosing, preventive maintenance and basic networking. Candidates wishing to earn an A+ certification must pass an exam, for which there are numerous books and websites dedicated to test preparation. Vendors such as Microsoft and Cisco award their own certifications which establish proficiency in one or more of the vendor's products. Some of these certifications may be required for certain support jobs where these products are heavily used.
At the beginning of your entry level information technology stage? No doubt you are confused with the so many certifications out there. I'll make things very simple. If you are a total newbie go for the Comptia's A+ Cert - actually most professionals get this regardless of experience.
As we are working with computers, A+ gives you an overall rounded knowledge on how to build them, fix them and troubleshoot them. And it looks good on your resume too.
But I don't know what my role will be!!!
Most of us don't. We love working with computers yet are unsure what our role will eventually be. That's ok. As you work in the industry things will become clearer. Concentrate on getting your first cert. Enjoy the process. Feel the exhiliration of becoming certified. Find yourself an entry level information technology job. Gain experience and things will sort themselves out from there on.
Work yourself up the ladder
We all start at the bottom regardless of whether we want all to start at the top!! Work yourself up the ladder with your certs and with your experience. Start with A+ cert to learn about computers. Then study for your network+ exam. This will give you knowledge in networking. Next is the MCDST which is a Microsoft cert specializing in customer support for the Microsoft products (which most businesses use anyway).
Get your Go to this site first Certs, then stop!
Don't go cert crazy. After you pass the exam and your certification arrives in the mail, you feel exhilarated with the hard work you have put in and the hard work that paid off. But restrain yourself from going overboard. You only need those mentioned to get yourself an entry level job. Too many certs can actually harm your chances of a entry level information technology job.
How easy is it to get certified?
If you are going for your first cert and haven't worked in the industry before, it will be a voyage of uncertainty. But it's an exciting one! Find yourself some study material, book your exam. Pass!!! All this will be unfamiliar but with your second cert you would have aced the process.
No cert is 'easy' but all are doable. Depending on your experience and time you have to study, devote 3-6 months to gaining certification.
What's the best way to study?
Most I.T professionals will advise entry level information technology candidates to self study. This means either buying books, either buying CBT (computer based training, or in other words cds with videos on them) and studying by yourself at your own pace at your own time. I.T schools are expensive and a high percentage don't recommend them for that reason.
Use free info on the web to help with your studies
If you don't use the web to supplement your primary study material then you are missing out big time. Buy a book or two or a CBT course and then use the web for free info. Use youtube.com for free videos that show you how to do something and wikipedia. Just by seeing something done or reading another persons take on a particular subject will help reinforce and/or learn something new from the material you have bought.
Where do you book your exam?
When you know you are reading, you book your exam(s) through prometric.com or vue.com.