Data centers are where corporations keep their larger computers and mainframes, and data center operators make sure these workhorses are running efficiently. They identify failures and problems in network servers and report them to data center managers. The job site Simply Hired reported that average salaries for data center operators were about $40,000 a year, as of 2014.
Data center operators write standard operating procedures for their employers' data centers and maintain all systems' configurations. They also run all scheduled jobs, as instructed by their supervisors. Data center operators research and evaluate information software and hardware systems, based on industry trends, and plan routine maintenance of all hardware equipment. Resolving customer service support issues from employees and monitoring the functionality of local area networks, or LANs, and data communications are other important responsibilities of data center operators.
Many data center operators work regular office hours, but because data centers run 24 hours per day, they may need to work evenings and weekends. They may also need to be on call to work when technical problems occur. Because of the importance of network systems in most corporate settings, the job of a data center operator can get stressful. Network technicians, as they're sometimes called, also spend many hours on their feet, checking all aspects of vast computer network appliances.
Education and Qualifications
A data center operator typically needs at least an associate degree in computer science, information science, management information systems or systems analysis. Employers may prefer hiring those who have one or more years of information technology or computer operations experience. Other essential requirements are attention to detail, physical stamina, the ability to multitask, and critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Average Salaries and Outlook
The average salary for data center operators were $39,000 a year as of 2014, according to Simply Hired. Employers paid them the highest average salary of $62,000 a year in Washington, D.C., and the lowest average salary of $30,000 a year in South Dakota. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment for computer support specialists to grow by 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than average.
Data center operators are a key part of computer support teams, which is why they may expect to find more available jobs. Those who want to advance can become assistant data center managers or data center managers, who oversee all functions in computer data centers and train and supervise operators. These positions usually require bachelor's degrees in a computer-related major.
2016 Salary Information for Computer Support Specialists
Computer support specialists earned a median annual salary of $52,550 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, computer support specialists earned a 25th percentile salary of $40,120, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $68,210, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 835,400 people were employed in the U.S. as computer support specialists.