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Help Desk Specialist
Curriculum code 1311

Course Requirements                   Information Management Systems Web site Gainful Employment Information

Moraine Valley Community College's PC Applications Help Desk Program prepares students for positions as supervisors or coordinators of personal computer operations. Students in this program have the advantage of working on modern computer equipment in the college's Center for Contemporary technology. This program is intended to lead to employment. Students who are considering transferring to a four-year college or university to obtain a bachelor's degree using the courses from this program, should make an appointment with an academic advisor to review options.

Nature of Work—Help desk specialists apply hardware and software knowledge and customer service skills to troubleshoot and resolve basic PC and applications problems. They answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, via telephone, or from remote locations. They may provide assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software including printing, installing hardware and software, application programs, electronic mail, and operating systems. Help desk specialists are encouraged to earn A+, i-Net+, and Microsoft Certified Application Specialist Certifications.

Related Job Titles—Help desk specialist, desktop support technician, computer support specialist

Employment Outlook—Employment of computer specialists is expected to increase faster than the average. Job prospects should be best for those with a college degree and relevant experience.

Employment of computer support specialists is expected to increase by 18 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. In addition, this occupation is expected to add 155,000 jobs over the projected decade. Demand for these workers will result as organizations and individuals continue to adopt increasingly sophisticated technology. Job growth will continue to be driven by the ongoing expansion of the computer system design and related services industry, which is projected to remain one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. economy. Growth will not be as explosive as during the previous decade, however, because the information technology industry is maturing and because some of these jobs are expected to be outsourced offshore where prevailing wages are lower. Physical location is not as important for computer support specialists as it is for other occupations because these workers can provide assistance remotely and support services are provided around the clock across time zones.

Job growth among computer support specialists reflects the rapid evolution of technology. As computers and software become more complex, support specialists will be needed to provide technical assistance to customers and other users. The adoption of new mobile technologies, such as the wireless Internet, will continue to create a need for these workers to familiarize and educate computer users. Consulting jobs for computer support specialists also should continue to increase as businesses seek help managing, upgrading, and customizing ever more complex computer systems.

Median annual earnings of wage-and-salary computer support specialists were $43,450 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $33,680 and $55,990. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,580, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,750. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of computer support specialists in May 2008 were as follows:
Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesales $48,580
Management of companies and enterprises 45,200
Computer systems design and related services 43,130
Colleges, universities, and professional schools 43,080
Elementary and secondary schools 40,550
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010-2011

For job and internship listings and job search assistance, contact the Job Resource Center, Student Services Center, S202, at (708) 974-5737. www.morainevalley.edu/jrc.

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