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Computer Information Specialist: Job Description and Requirements

Computer information specialists manage computer systems for companies. They are usually responsible for programming, data analysis and technical support in various capacities, for various clients.

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Computer Information Specialist Job Description

Careers dealing with information technology (IT) are increasing due to the advances in information storage and transmission. A career in IT generally involves computer support and research. Information specialists are more specifically responsible for managing and supporting multiple computer systems, creating programs for computer systems to regulate information flow and helping professionals research and analyze data. Most specialists have a specific niche area in which they apply the above skills. For instance, computer security specialists regulate the information traffic to and from a network. They also stop and report potential cyber crimes.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Computer information specialists can focus on a number of IT areas. Information security analysts, computer network architects and web developers are just some of the specialties related to this field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports there were 302,300 individuals employed in these specialties in 2010, and demand for workers will increase by 22% over the 2010-2020 decade. The BLS predicts 65,700 new jobs will be added for this professionals over this period of time.

Information security analysts earned an average salary of $89,290 in 2012, according to the BLS. The average salary for computer network architects was $94,000, and web developers made $66,100 that year, based on data from the BLS.

Requirements of a Computer Information Specialist

Education and Training

Education varies by specialty. Some information specialists only require a simple certification with work experience, while other requires a bachelor's degree. In general, all fields require a firm background in computer science, systems technology and mathematics. Since the demand for information technology careers is expected to increase, internship and training opportunities with select vendors are abundant. The experience gained in these positions gives prospective students possible employment opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics reports that employers are actively engaging in paid internships where specialists work into a full-time position (www.bls.gov).

While not required for entry-level positions, those pursuing a bachelor's degree may be eligible for upper-tier careers in computer information. Those falling into this category generally expect to be placed in management positions, advising and leading small teams of associate specialists. Master's degree programs are also available. Possessing a master's degree may give an applicant a more competitive edge and qualify them for management positions, leading larger corporate groups.

Required Skills

Computer information specialists, along with other types of information technicians, require strong problem-solving capabilities, good communication skills and the ability to multitask. Specialists may be placed in situations requiring multiple projects to be completed simultaneously. Similarly, problem-solving support is a major component of an information specialist's career. The ability to effectively communicate the problem to the customer or co-worker lies at the foundation of this career.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics