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Career and Education Opportunities for Computer Systems Support Specialists in Alexandria, Virginia

Computer systems support specialists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Alexandria, Virginia area. The national trend for computer systems support specialists sees this job pool shrinking by about 18.6% over the next eight years. Computer systems support specialists generally 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 $18 per hour or $37,770 yearly on average in Virginia. Nationally, their income is about $17 hourly or $35,600 per year. Computer systems support specialists earn more than people working in the category of Computer Operation generally in Virginia and more than people in the Computer Operation category nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can study to be a computer systems support specialist, among eighty-four schools of higher education total in the Alexandria area. The most common level of education for computer systems support specialists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. It will take about two years to learn 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 Alexandria include:

  • Computer Clerk. Operate data entry device.
  • Online Publisher. Format typescript and graphic elements using computer software to produce publication-ready material.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Computer Systems Support Specialist Training

Montgomery College - Rockville, MD

Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has a one to two year program in Data Processing and Data Processing Technology/Technician which graduated nine students 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: Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia photo by SchuminWeb

Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.

The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.