Computer Operator

Computer operators help shift leaders in ensuring that all work allocated to the shift is processed efficiently, timeously and according to schedule. They have to clean the equipment such as printers, to ensure that no job failures arise due to dirt or dust.

Operators communicate with computers by means of keyboards. They should have an understanding of the system they are using, so that they can check the correctness of all operations and take all necessary precautions to ensure that no mistakes are made. In cases of malfunctioning, operators must find the causes, correct them or call service technicians.  They also keep a record of the work done on the computer and prepare reports on its use.

Computer operators are responsible for the efficient, accurate operation of the system. They feed in information either via the keyboard or tapes as computer input and, if necessary, collect output as it emerges from the printer. Increasingly complex hardware and software, together with the increasing use of remote terminals connected via telephone networks to a central computer, have broadened the scope for computer operators.

Computer operators may specialize with regard to equipment manufacturer. They must be able to understand written technical instructions and be able to work quickly and accurately. With experience and ability, computer operators may advance to supervisors. To advance to programmer or systems analyst, however, computer operators need additional training, experience and ability.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 10 Certificate
Employers prefer higher educational qualifications.
National Senior Certificate for a diploma course.

What to Study

Diploma: Relevant diplomas are offered by most universities of technology - CUT, TUT, VUT, UJ, CPUT, UNISA.

Certificate: Relevant certificates offered by most TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) Colleges.

Computer operators can also receive in-service training. Apart from the mechanical skills that are needed, they will usually be trained towards a thorough understanding of the organisation owning the machine and an understanding of the operating systems of the machine. To keep up with developments in computers, short courses are frequently offered by suppliers of computers.

Computer operators with one year’s experience, can write the Computer Operator Proficiency Examination (COPE) of the Computer Users’ Council. This certificate enables them to obtain professional recognition in the computer industry.


  • all businesses and industries
  • educational and health care institutions
  • government departments
  • computer manufacturers and companies
  • public institutions such as Eskom, Denel, Mittal Steel, Transnet
  • educational institutions such as universities of technology
  • local authorities and other institutions.
  • self employment - computer technicians, with enough experience and capital, may start their own businesses

Further Information

Computer Society of SA 
ICT House
546 16th Road
Constantia Park [Unit No.3]
Tel: (011) 315-1319

The Director
Computer Users’ Council of South Africa
P O Box 1688
Halfway House, 1685
Tel: (011) 805-3151/2

Getting Started

  • develop your communication and computer skills
  • arrange to take an aptitude test, to determine whether you have the ability for this type of work
  • speak to people in this field of work
  • try to obtain vacation work in this field

Programmes by Study Institutions

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