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Skills Required to Be a Computer Support Specialist

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Working as a computer support specialist can be a challenging job that requires a mastery of both technical and social skills. Support specialists are depended upon to walk customers through problems with their computers, networks and peripherals, while at the same time speaking in a way that is easy to understand. If you are interested in becoming a computer support specialist, you will need to possess certain qualities to ensure success.

Technical Knowledge

The primary role of the computer support specialist is troubleshooting. Fixing computer problems over the phone requires you to have a vast wealth of technical knowledge. You need to be able to take apart a laptop in your mind, or imagine a customer’s network setup without actually seeing it. You can learn these skills in college or technical skill, but may also start as a low-level support rep and increase your knowledge as you go.


The hardest part of being a computer support specialist is not necessarily figuring out what is going on with a computer -- it is explaining it to the person on the other line. While you may know everything there is to know about computers and the problem may be obvious to you, the person you will be talking to might have zero experience with computers. Being able to ask the right questions and give instructions that a layman can follow are critical skills for a support specialist.

Reading and Writing

Many support specialists work via email, and even those who work on the phone will spend a lot of time browsing instruction manuals and surfing the web for potential solutions to new problems. Additionally, you may be expected to write up simple reports of each case you handle, or follow up with a customer via email. It is important that you can read technical documents and information in addition to writing clear steps for solving problems and detailed accounts of previous troubleshooting steps.

Problem Solving

In the world of computers, problems are rarely simple. Because there are thousands of different laptops, routers, modems and software suites, there are millions of potential combinations that could cause any number of problems. As a computer support specialist, you will need to work your way through what your customer has done, how those actions affect the network and computer, and where things might have gone wrong. Many computer issues are simple user error but a few will challenge your ability to think creatively.

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