This article is part of an IT Career News series called Your Next Move. These articles take an inside look at the roles related to CompTIA certifications. Each article will include the responsibilities, qualifications, related job titles and salary range for the role. As you consider the next move in your IT career, check back with CompTIA to learn more about your job prospects and how to get there.
Have you outgrown your role at the help desk? If it’s time to move onward and upward, consider a career as an IT specialist. The job of an IT specialist is best described as a blend of a technical support specialist and a network support technician. Your responsibilities include timely resolution of both end user and network issues through troubleshooting. If you like working with people and computers, and enjoy the challenges that come with problem solving, then a career as an IT specialist may be for you.
What Is an IT Specialist?
An IT specialist is the person that can be counted on when things fall apart. From supporting internal employees and helping to keep them productive to assisting external customers, an IT specialist seems to handle it all.
Other duties may include the following:
- Install computer hardware and peripheral components like monitors, keyboards, printers, scanners, network cards and disk drives
- Load specific software packages, such as operating systems or graphic design programs
- Install software and update drivers
- Set up and troubleshoot computer hardware
- Maintain daily performance of computer systems and networks
The role of IT specialist varies depending on company size. Large organizations are likely to have IT specialists on staff, while smaller companies may use contract employees or outsource to a managed service provider (MSP).
An IT specialist must be organized and have technical skills, since they are most likely the one to set up new work stations, respond to basic network and software problems, and provide desktop support.
Sometimes, an IT specialist will be called up to think outside the box for solutions without obvious answers, so someone in this position must be able to think on their feet and look for creative solutions. Fields like education, finance, computer systems and telecommunications employ IT specialists.
How to Become an IT Specialist
While an IT specialist is still considered an early-career position, many companies hiring for this role require a few years of experience – perhaps at the help desk. Many ask for at least an associate’s degree, though some prefer a bachelor’s degree in information technology or computer science.
Candidates who don’t have a degree or have a degree in another field can validate their experience and knowledge with CompTIA A+. This IT certification is the industry standard for launching an IT career. Studying for and earning CompTIA A+ prove to employers that you are able to handle the tasks and responsibilities of an IT specialist.
IT Career Paths: How to Get into IT Support
IT Specialist Salary Range
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an IT specialist made $54,760 on average in 2019.
IT Specialist Job Outlook
According to the BLS, a 10% increase in IT specialist jobs is expected between 2018 and 2028.
Job Titles Related to IT Specialist
Will your next move be IT specialist? If so, check out CompTIA A+ to get the skills to get you there.