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What is an IT Support Specialist?

IT Support Specialists are responsible for analyzing, troubleshooting and evaluating technology issues. This role may support internal clients, helping to keep employees productive, or external customers of a company, helping them via the telephone or webchat. Some specialists are tasked with giving instructions to customers on how to use business-specific programs or working with other technicians to resolve problems. Other specialists may be responsible for answering simpler questions from nonbusiness customers, like reestablishing internet connections or troubleshooting household IT products like Wi-Fi routers.

Experience LevelBeginnerIntermediateAdvanced
Median annual salary*   
Job Postings*
83804
53536
11093
Number of certificates available at each level
3

CompTIA ITF+

CompTIA A+

ITIL

4

CompTIA Network+

CompTIA Security+

ITIL

Microsoft

4

CompTIA Linux+

CompTIA Server+

ITIL

Microsoft

Experience LevelBeginnerIntermediateAdvanced

* Burning Glass Technologies. (2019). Labor Insights.

Required skills at this level
  • Make data easily accessible to those who need it
  • Pay attention to customers’ descriptions of computer problems
  • Ask questions to properly diagnose the problem
  • Walk customers through the recommended problem-solving steps
  • Set up or repair computer equipment and related devices
  • Train users to work with new computer hardware or software
  • Document changes, revisions and problems
  • Provide other team members and managers information

IT Support Specialist Certifications

2-IT-Support New Copy copy

CERT MAP-itsupport-mobile

Step 1

CompTIA Certifications

Certifications like CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ can give you the background in IT that you need if you don’t already have it, and CompTIA A+ can get your foot in the door as an IT Support Specialist.

CompTIA ITF+
CompTIA ITF+ Certification

The table below lists the domains measured by the full examination and the extent to which they are represented.

Domain and percentage of examination

Core 1 (220-1001)

1.0  Software 21%
2.0  Hardware 18%
3.0  Security 21%
4.0  Networking 16%
5.0  Basic IT Literacy 24%
Total 100%

Example Questions

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A package-delivery service is working with address information, which contains a house number and a street name. What is the best data type to use for the house number?

A. Integer B. String C. Float D. Char

Why do laptops use a heat spreader instead of heatsinks in their cooling system?

A. Heatsinks are filled with liquid and not conducive to laptop mobility. B. Heatsinks require a lot of extra electricity to run. C. Heatsinks are bulky objects with a lot of height. D. Heatsinks are too expensive and reserved for high-end systems.

A senior manager of a regional office branch needs a payroll report of all staff, to calculate next year's budget. Which program is NOT useful for that?

A. Spreadsheet software B. Database software C. Accounting software D. Project management software

A website visitor realizes that an important notification is not showing because the browser has a pop-up blocker. What's the best thing to do?

A. Disable the pop-up blocker. B. Add an exception for this website. C. Use a different browser. D. Avoid visiting this website.

What does this pseudocode declare?

declare MinutesPerHour as Number = 60

A. A primary key B. An array C. A variable D. A constant

An attacker successfully connects to an open wireless access point, and proceeds to monitor and capture the plain text traffic on the network. Which of the following integrity concerns does this describe?

A. A Denial of Service (DoS) attack B. An impersonation attack C. A Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack D. A replay attack
CompTIA A+
CompTIA A+

A+ is the starting point for a career in IT. The performance-based exams certify foundational IT skills across a variety of devices and operating systems.

Learn more Example questions
CompTIA A+
CompTIA A+ Certification

The table below lists the domains measured by the full examination and the extent to which they are represented.

Domain and percentage of examination

Core 1 (220-1001)

1.0  Mobile Devices 14%
2.0  Networking 20%
3.0  Hardware 27%
4.0  Virtualization and Cloud Computing 12%
5.0  Hardware and Network Troubleshooting 27%
Total 100%

Core 2 (220-1002)

1.0  Operating Systems 27%
2.0  Security 24%
3.0  Software Troubleshooting 26%
4.0  Operational Procedures 23%
Total 100%

Example Questions

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You have been frequenting a local coffee shop with your Android tablet. While you are there, you use the free WiFi connection. With concern over the security of your browsing, you decide to take action. Which technology would address your concern the best?

A. VPN B. Antivirus C. Private IP D. WPA2

You need to configure a SOHO (Small Office Home Office) network to be easily discovered by guest users. Which feature should be configured?

A. DNS (Domain Name System) B. DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) C. SSID (Service Set Identifier) D. MAC (Media Access Control) Filtering

An ordinary office environment needs computers that have multiple user account settings where each user is allocated private data storage. What type of workstations would you build for this environment?

A. Build a virtualization workstation. B. Build a thin client. C. Build a thick client. D. Build a CAM workstation.

A support ticket has been assigned to you stating that the Engineers are complaining that their Computer Aided Design (CAD) application is displaying poorly. What do you do to upgrade these PCs and solve this problem?

A. Install more RAM. B. Install higher-end video cards. C. Install faster CPUs. D. Install Solid State Drives (SSDs).

You need to setup a few virtual workstations for a network test lab. You have a computer to use as the host machine, however, it does not have an operating system installed. What is the easiest and quickest solution to configure the host system?

A. Install a type-2 hypervisor on the host machine and then install the guest operating systems. B. Install one of the guest operating systems to act as both the host and a guest operating system. C. Install a type-1 hypervisor on the host machine and then install the guest operating systems. D. Install Microsoft Virtual PC as it is free, and then install the guest operating systems.

How can you fix a touchpad that is too sensitive, causing a ghost cursor and jumping about when typing?

A. Turn NumLock off on the external keyboard. B. Configure the input options. C. Replace the touchpad. D. Revert to an older driver version.
Step 2

Partner Certifications

CompTIA certifications establish a baseline foundation of skills that you can build upon with other vendor or technology-specific certifications.

ITIL

Validate skills against a set of IT service management practices. ITIL certifications, managed by AXELOS, are awarded to individuals across four levels of competency:

Foundation
Managing Professional
Strategic Leader
Master

* Burning Glass Technologies. (2019). Labor Insights.

Required skills at this level
  • Set up or repair computer equipment and related devices
  • Maintain system capabilities by testing existing equipment and programs
  • Try out new systems and software
  • Document changes, revisions and problems
  • Train users on proper use of hardware and software
  • Clearly communicate the understanding of the proper use of technology to team
  • Manage and train beginner specialists

IT Support Specialist Certifications

2-IT-Support New Copy copy

CERT MAP-itsupport-mobile

Step 1

CompTIA Certifications

Certifications like CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ and CompTIA A+ can get your foot in the door as an IT Support Specialist. Adding CompTIA Network+ and Security+ can help you advance your career in IT Support.

CompTIA Network+
CompTIA Network+

Network+ certifies the essential skills needed to confidently design, configure, manage and troubleshoot wired and wireless networks.

Learn more Example questions
CompTIA IT Network+
CompTIA It Network+ Certification

The table below lists the domains measured by the full examination and the extent to which they are represented.

Domain and percentage of examination

1.0  Networking Concepts 23%
2.0  Infrastructure 18%
3.0  Network Operations 17%
4.0  Network Security 20%
5.0  Network Troubleshooting and Tools 22%
Total 100%

Example Questions

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An office workstation receives an Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) address from a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server. The IP lease includes the default gateway address which is the address of the office's layer 3 switch. A network administrator confirmed network connectivity by pinging the gateway. At what layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) are these two devices communicating with each other when using the ping command?

A. Layer 3 - Network B. Layer 2 - Data Link C. Layer 6 - Presentation D. Layer 7 - Application

A manager informs a support technician that users spend too much time using company computers for personal reasons. Which of the following can the technician implement to address the issue?

A. UTM appliance B. Layer 7 firewall C. Content filter D. Smart jack

A network consultant is doing IT contingency planning and is trying to identify likely points of failure for the network. Which of the following would the consultant identify as Single Points of Failure in need of upgrades for added redundancy? (Select all that apply)

A. There is a lack of a load balancing device. B. A backup power generator is available on-site. C. There is a single power supply for a critical server. D. The main server is set up for full backup operations.

An employee uses a key fob that contains a chip with a digital certificate and authenticates a person through a reader. Which of the following types of authentication factors does this describe?

A. Something you know B. Something you have C. Something you are D. Something you do

A network administrator purchased new network switches from a vendor. Upon receiving and installing them, what should the admin do to harden the device to ensure secure device configuration of the switches? (Select all that apply)

A. Change default usernames and passwords. B. Remove vendor-installed backdoors. C. Disable or close unused ports and services. D. Implement a common prevalent password.

A user installs a financial software package that requires cloud access. For some reason, the application fails to connect to the cloud server. What caused this issue?

A. Duplicate IP (Internet Protocol) address B. Incorrect host-based firewall settings C. Incorrect time D. Unresponsive service
CompTIA Security+
CompTIA Security+

Security+ provides a global benchmark for best practices in IT network and operational security, one of the fastest-growing fields in IT.

Learn more Example questions
CompTIA Security+
CompTIA Security+ Certification

The table below lists the domains measured by the full examination and the extent to which they are represented.

Domain and percentage of examination

1.0  Threats, Attacks and Vulnerabilities 21%
2.0  Technologies and Tools 22%
3.0  Architecture and Design 15%
4.0  Identity and Access Management 16%
5.0  Risk Management 14%
6.0  Cryptography and PKI 12%
Total 100%

Example Questions

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An attacker impersonates a member of the cleaning crew for a company's building, and requests an employee to hold the door open while the impersonator brings in a cleaning cart. The employee fell victim to what type of attack?

A. A lunchtime attack B. Shoulder surfing C. Piggy backing D. Dumpster diving

The DMZ (demilitarized zone) has a new virtual firewall server. A user reported that Internet websites are viewable, but no longer has a connection to an FTP (file transfer protocol) site. Which of the following is most likely the cause of the disconnection?

A. The user does not have access to the FTP site. B. A network cable disconnected from the server. C. The Firewall implicitly denied access to the FTP site. D. The ACL still requires setting up.

A user has multiple documents to review, regarding a device from an authorized government vendor, with approval to use the documents. While attempting to send the documents to a personal email, to review later at home, the email returned with a message saying it failed to send. What is most likely the cause of this? (Select two)

A. Based on policy, the employee cannot use personal email. B. The DLP system flagged an incident. C. The antivirus software flagged the documents. D. The attachment file size is too large.

After exploiting a vulnerability during testing, an administrator released a Security Update as a patch for Microsoft Internet Explorer. How should the administrator proceed in applying the patch?

A. Apply the patch directly to production. B. Apply the Security Update to the staging environment and test the system functionality. C. Wait for the quarterly update before patching the vulnerability. D. Apply the patch to the sandbox environment and test functionality.

Fingerprint scanning is one of the most straightforward methods of biometric identification. Which of these concerns are most pertinent to the use of this technology?(Select two)

A. Ease of spoofing B. Surfaces must be clean and dry C. Revocability of credentials D. High expense of installation

Key strength is based on length and randomness. One way to strengthen a key is to add a nonce or an Initialization Vector (IV). The same is true for passwords, which can be strengthened by adding a salt to a hashed password value. Evaluate the following to identify the statements that are true about nonces, IVs, and salts.(Select two)

A. The value of a nonce is hidden. B. A salt could be a counter value. C. Use of a salt ensures identical plaintexts produce different ciphertexts. D. Use of an initialization vector ensures identical plaintexts produce different ciphertexts.
Step 2

Partner Certifications

CompTIA certifications establish a baseline foundation of skills that you can build upon with other vendor or technology-specific certifications.

ITIL

Validate skills against a set of IT service management practices. ITIL certifications, managed by AXELOS, are awarded to individuals across four levels of competency:

Foundation
Managing Professional
Strategic Leader
Master

Microsoft (MTA, MSCA, MSCE)

Assess skills in using Microsoft technologies including Azure, Dynamics 365, Windows, Microsoft 365 and SQL Server. Within each technology grouping certifications are awarded across three levels:

Fundamental
Associate
Expert

* Burning Glass Technologies. (2019). Labor Insights.

Job Titles
  • Technical Support Manager
  • IT Support Team Lead
  • Field Engineer


Other IT Jobs You Can Get With Certifications
Required skills at this level
  • Set up or repair computer equipment and related devices
  • Manage system capabilities
  • Explore new systems, software and processes
  • Train users inside and outside of the IT department on proper use of hardware and software
  • Project manage ongoing issues
  • Clearly communicate changes in policies to organization management
  • Manage and train team
  • IT Support Specialist Certifications

    2-IT-Support New Copy copy

    CERT MAP-itsupport-mobile

    Step 1

    CompTIA Certifications

    Certifications like CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ and CompTIA A+ can get your foot in the door as an IT Support Specialist. Adding CompTIA Linux+ and Server+ can help you advance your career.

    CompTIA Linux+
    CompTIA Linux+

    Linux+ is an internationally recognized credential validating baseline competencies required for Linux administrators.

    Learn more Example questions
    CompTIA Linux+
    CompTIA Linux+ Certification

    The table below lists the domains measured by the full examination and the extent to which they are represented.

    Domain and percentage of examination

    1.0  Hardware and System Configuration 21%
    2.0  Systems Operation and Maintenance 26%
    3.0  Security 19%
    4.0  Linux Troubleshooting and Diagnostics 20%
    5.0  Automation and Scripting 14%
    Total 100%

    Example Questions

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    You wish to view currently loaded kernel modules and their usage details. Which command will help you view this information?

    A. modinfo B. rmmod C. lsmod D. insmod

    You are implementing print management in a Linux environment. Which of the following would you use as a print server?

    A. lpr B. lsusb C. CUPS D. udevadm

    Vim is a modal editor and its different modes decide its functionality. Which one of the below is NOT one of the four Vim modes?

    A. insert B. gedit C. execute D. visual

    You deploy a public key infrastructure (PKI) in your organization. Which of the following components must be kept in a highly secure system where the risk of it being stolen is low?

    A. Public key B. Private key C. Digital signature D. Self-signed certificate

    You have just used the lprm 4 command. What type of problem are you trying to remedy?

    A. Printing B. Memory C. Storage D. Keyboard

    You are writing a Bash script and would like to connect multiple values together for evaluation. What type of operator should you use in this script?

    A. Arithmetic B. String C. Comparison D. Logical
    CompTIA Server+
    CompTIA Server+

    Server+ confirms the technical knowledge and skills required to support and secure server hardware and software.

    Learn more Example questions
    CompTIA Server+
    CompTIA Server+ Certification

    The table below lists the domains measured by the full examination and the extent to which they are represented.

    Domain and percentage of examination

    1.0  Server Architecture 12%
    2.0  Server Administration 24%
    3.0  Storage 12%
    4.0  Security 13%
    5.0  Networking 10%
    6.0  Disaster Recover 9%
    7.0  Troubleshooting 20%
    Total 100%

    Example Questions

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    Which form factor is measured in increments such as 1U, 2U and 4U?

    A. Tower B. Rack mount C. Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) D. Blade

    Which management method uses a dedicated channel to manage servers and network devices typically using a network connection that is physically separated from the production network?

    A. Server management plan B. In-band management C. Out-of-band (OOB) management D. Secure Shell (SSH)

    Which statement is true regarding solid state drives (SSDs)?

    A. Solid state devices contain moving parts and tend to be less reliable than magnetic drives. B. Solid state devices contain no moving parts and tend to be more reliable than magnetic drives. C. Solid state drives are extremely fast because these devices store information on a magnetic coated media that is rotated under a read/write head. D. Solid state drives are fine for end users but should never be used in servers.

    How can you prevent attackers from connecting universal serial bus (USB) drives to the server?

    A. Setting a basic input/output system (BIOS) password B. Disable unneeded hardware and physical ports and devices C. Disabling Wake on LAN D. Setting up the boot order

    Which is a feature of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)?

    A. Addresses are formatted with dotted decimal notation. B. It uses broadcast addresses. C. An address is 32 bits long. D. An address is 128 bits long.

    What type of analysis will help you determine the effect of a disruption to the business?

    A. Disaster recovery plan B. Business continuity plan (BCP) C. Continuity of Operations (COOP) D. Business impact
    Step 2

    Partner Certifications

    CompTIA certifications establish a baseline foundation of skills that you can build upon with other vendor or technology-specific certifications.

    ITIL

    Validate skills against a set of IT service management practices. ITIL certifications, managed by AXELOS, are awarded to individuals across four levels of competency:

    Foundation
    Managing Professional
    Strategic Leader
    Master

    Microsoft (MTA, MSCA, MSCE)

    Assess skills in using Microsoft technologies including Azure, Dynamics 365, Windows, Microsoft 365 and SQL Server. Within each technology grouping certifications are awarded across three levels:

    Fundamental
    Associate
    Expert

    CompTIA Learning and Training

    CompTIA offers everything you need to prepare for your certification exam. Explore training developed by CompTIA with options that fit various learning styles and timelines. Whether you prefer self-study or classroom training, CompTIA has you covered.

    View Training by Certification

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