The explosive use of computers has created a high demand for specialists to provide advice to users on hardware and software related problems, as well as for day-to-day administration, maintenance, and support of computer systems and networks. Computer support specialists are troubleshooters who provide technical assistance, support, and advice to customers for hardware and software systems.
Support specialists install, modify, clean and repair computer hardware and software often with the help of automated diagnostic programs which are able to identify and repair faults or recurring problems. They provide a range of roles and functions depending on the type of technology. They are generally highly trained specialists and work either online and/or telephone or onsite or in a workshop.
Technical support specialists respond to requests from computer users using automatic diagnostics programs to identify, repair and resolve problems. They may write training manuals and train computer users in how to use new computer hardware and software. In addition, technical support specialists oversee the daily performance of their company’s computer systems and evaluate software programs with regard to their usefulness.
Help-desk technicians deal directly with customer issues by answering telephone calls and e-mail messages from customers who are seeking guidance on technical problem relating to computers. They are required to listen carefully to the customer, ask questions, diagnose the nature of the problem, and then talk the customer through the problem-solving steps. Often the help-desk technician will use diagnostic programs which analyse problems and fix them automatically.
Systems administrators are responsible for the efficient use of networks by organisations. They ensure that the design of an organisation’s computer site allows all of the components, including computers, the network, and software, to fit together and work properly. Furthermore, they monitor and adjust the performance of existing networks and continually survey the current computer site to determine future network needs. Administrators also troubleshoot problems reported by users and by automated network monitoring systems and make recommendations for enhancements in the implementation of future servers and networks.
Computer support specialists are a valuable source of feedback to hardware and software providers on their products. They provide information about what gives customers the most trouble, as well as other customer concerns. Most computer support specialists start out at the help desk. Help-desk services are a growing industry in developing countries such as South Africa.
Because troubleshooting and helping others are vital parts of the job, computer support specialists and systems administrators should be able to communicate effectively and have good writing skills for preparing manuals for employees and customers.
Due to the wide variety of computer support functions there are many paths of entry. Most employers prefer a person with some formal qualification, either a degree or diploma in a computer-related field. A degree in computer science or information systems is a prerequisite for some jobs.
However, certification and practical experience demonstrating these skills will be essential for applicants without a degree. The completion of a certification training program, offered by a variety of vendors and product makers, may help some people to qualify for entry-level positions. Relevant computer experience may substitute for formal education.
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Lingua (ITCL), International University of East Africa, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Tanzania), Kabarak University, Kaimosi Friends University College, Kampala Institute of Vocational Training and Business Studies, Karatina University, Kayiwa International University, KCA University, Kenya Highlands Evangelical University, Kenya Methodist University, Kenyatta University, Kibabii University, Kigali Independent University, Kirinyaga University College, Kiriri Women's University of Science and Technology, Kisii University, Knutsford University College, Koforidua Polytechnic, Kumasi Polytechnic, Kwame Nkrumah University, Kyambogo University, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Lira University, Lovedale Public TVET College, Maasai Mara University, Machakos University College, Makerere University, Management College of Southern Africa (MANCOSA), Marian University College, Maseno University, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Meritorious Biz Tech College, Meru University of Science and Technology, Methodist University College Ghana, Moi University, Monitronic Success College, Motheo TVET College, Mount Kenya University, Muhabura Integrated Polytechnic College, Multimedia University of Kenya, Mulungushi University, Murang'a University of Technology, Mzumbe University, Namibia University of Science and Technology, National University of Lesotho, Ndejje University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Nkumba University, Nsaka University, Oval International Computer Education, Pearson Institute of Higher Education, Pentecost University College, Presbyterian University of East Africa, Regent University College of Science & Technology, Rhodes University, Riara University, Richfield Graduate Institute of Technology, Rongo University College, Rusangu University, South African School of Motion Picture, South Eastern Kenya University, St Paul's University, Stefano Moshi Memorial University College, Strathmore University, Swaziland College of Technology, Sylvia University, Team University, Technical University of Kenya, Technical University of Mombasa, Texila American University, The Copperbelt University, Tom Mboya University College, Tshwane North TVET College, Tumba College of Technology (North Campus), Uganda Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Uganda Martyrs University, Uganda Technology and Management University, Umma University, United States International University, Université des Mascareignes, University for Development Studies, University of Botswana, University of Cape Coast, University of Cape Town, University of Dar Es Salaam, University of Education Winneba, University of Eldoret, University of Fort Hare, University of Ghana, University of Gitwe, University of Iringa, University of Johannesburg, University of Kabianga, University of Kigali, University of Kisubi, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Limpopo, University of Lusaka, University of Malawi (The Polytechnic), University of Mauritius, University of Nairobi, University of Namibia, University of Pretoria, University of Professional Studies (Upsa), University of Rwanda, University of Sacred Heart, University of Swaziland, University of Technology Mauritius, University of the Free State, University of the Witwatersrand, University of Zambia, Vaal University of Technology, Valley University of Science and Technology, Valley View University, Victoria University, Vuselela TVET College, Walter Sisulu University, Web-Info-Net Institute of Technology, YMCA Comprehensive Institute, Zambia Catholic University, Zenith University College, Zimbabwe Open University