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What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A IT Specialist?

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Information technology, or IT, specialists are computer systems experts who help people solve computer-related problems. Many IT specialists work primarily over the phone, instructing people on how to solve issues by giving them step-by-step instructions. Other IT specialists work as on-call repairmen who will come to your house to fix your computer in person, while others work primarily in office buildings repairing computers for companies. IT specialists are highly knowledgeable about computers and must meet certain education and training requirements to be successful.

Formal Education

IT specialists usually need some formal education beyond high school to get hired. While some employers will hire IT specialists with only an associate’s degree, many jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree. Candidates should take courses in computer science, computer engineering and PC support, as well as mathematics, physics, statistics and other related courses. Courses in communications and psychology are also useful in for this career, as great customer service is at the core of an IT specialist's work.


IT specialists need to be extremely knowledgeable about computers in general, though many specialize in a particular software, operating system or other niche. They should have expert knowledge of computer hardware, software, circuit boards, chips, processors and electronic equipment. Mathematical knowledge is also important for this career, and IT specialists should be familiar with the principles of calculus, geometry, statistics and algebra. IT specialists also need to know about telecommunications systems and should understand the principles of things like broadcasting, control and switching.

Skills and Personal Qualities

IT specialists must be very efficient to be able to finish the job quickly and thoroughly; certain skills and personal qualities make the process easier and contribute to an IT specialist’s success. Being a good listener is extremely important for this career, as IT specialists are constantly listening to clients describing their computer problems. They need to know how to interpret this information, even when the client is not very knowledgeable about computers. IT specialists are analytical, detail-minded individuals who are good at solving problems both big and small. They also need excellent verbal and written communications skills to be able to instruct clients on how to solve computer issues.


There are hundreds of different certifications available to IT specialists these days that qualify them to work with certain programs, operating systems and hardware. Obtaining a certificate shows that you are an expert in a specific niche. Big computer tech companies like Microsoft and Apple train and certify IT specialists to work with certain systems, and many types of certifications can be obtained in just a few months or even weeks. Having certificates can really boost your earning potential and open doors to new job opportunities.


Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.