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Career and Education Opportunities for Computer Systems Support Specialists in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Computer systems support specialists can find many career and educational opportunities in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. There are currently 5,150 working computer systems support specialists in Pennsylvania; this should shrink by 31% to about 3,550 working computer systems support specialists in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for computer systems support specialists, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 18.6% over the next eight years. In general, computer systems support specialists monitor and control electronic computer and peripheral electronic data processing equipment to process business, scientific, and other data according to operating instructions.

Income for computer systems support specialists is about $17 per hour or $36,070 per year on average in Pennsylvania. Nationally, their income is about $17 hourly or $35,600 annually. Incomes for computer systems support specialists are better than in the overall category of Computer Operation in Pennsylvania, and better than the overall Computer Operation category nationally.

The Pittsburgh area is home to eighty-three schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh where you can get a degree as a computer systems support specialist. Given that the most common education level for computer systems support specialists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years studying to be a computer systems support specialist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Computer Systems Support Specialist

Computer Systems Support Specialist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, computer systems support specialists monitor and control electronic computer and peripheral electronic data processing equipment to process business, scientific, and other data according to operating instructions. They also may enter commands at a computer terminal and set controls on computer and peripheral devices.

Computer systems support specialists monitor systems for equipment failure or errors in performance. They also operate spreadsheet programs and other types of software to load and manipulate data and to produce reports. Equally important, computer systems support specialists have to respond to program error messages by finding and correcting problems or terminating the program. They are often called upon to notify supervisor or computer maintenance technicians of equipment malfunctions. They are expected to enter commands, using computer terminal, and activate controls on computer and peripheral equipment to integrate and operate equipment. Finally, computer systems support specialists answer telephone calls to help computer users encountering problems.

Every day, computer systems support specialists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they focus attention on specific tasks without being distracted.

It is important for computer systems support specialists to retrieve, separate and sort program output as needed, and send data to specified users. They are often called upon to read job set-up instructions to establish apparatus to be used, order of use, material such as disks and paper to be loaded, and control settings. They also record data such as computer operating time, problems that occurred, and actions taken. They are sometimes expected to oversee the operation of computer hardware systems, including coordinating and scheduling the use of computer terminals and networks to insure efficient use. Somewhat less frequently, computer systems support specialists are also expected to type command on keyboard to transfer encoded data from memory unit to magnetic tape and help in labeling, classifying, cataloging and maintaining tapes.

They also have to be able to clear equipment at end of operating run and review schedule to establish next assignment And finally, they sometimes have to respond to program error messages by finding and correcting problems or terminating the program.

Like many other jobs, computer systems support specialists must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Pittsburgh include:

  • Computer Clerk. Operate data entry device.
  • Telephone Operator. Provide information by accessing alphabetical and geographical directories. Assist customers with special billing requests.
  • Typist. Type letters, reports, or other material from rough draft, corrected copy, or voice recording. May perform other clerical duties as assigned.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Computer Systems Support Specialist Training

Westmoreland County Community College - Youngwood, PA

Westmoreland County Community College, 145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697-1895. Westmoreland County Community College is a medium sized college located in Youngwood, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,512 students. Westmoreland County Community College has a less than one year program in Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Internet and Computing Core Certification: IC is the ideal starting point for anyone interested in learning computer and Internet basics.

For more information, see the Certiport, Inc website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania photo by Conk 9

Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.