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IT - Computer Support Specialist

Program Requirements: 

Expanding technology and software requirements across organizations have increased the demand for computer support specialists. Gateway Technical College’s IT- Computer Support Specialist associate degree program is designed to prepare you for a career in information technology which focuses on the support of end users. In addition to the hardware and software knowledge that you gain, emphasis is placed on helping you gain critical soft skills that are in high demand by area employers. The training, skills, and certifications you obtain in this program will help you find a job in a variety of environments including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations and enterprise-sized corporations.

 

Program topics include the architecture, use, installation and upgrading of hardware and software, operating systems, networking and communications as well as data security and recovery. Students will learn how to disassemble/reassemble computers, troubleshoot and repair computers, setup and configure devices, automate the installation of an operating system within a domain, write instructional guides and train end users to work with new software.

What does a computer support specialist do?

Computer support specialists provide technical assistance to computer users, answer questions and resolve computer problems for clients in person, over the telephone or electronically. Specialists may provide assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, installation, word processing, electronic mail, and operating systems. Gateway graduates may find entry-level jobs as IT specialists, computer technicians, help desk analysts, network support specialists and electronic data processing auditors.

Learning by doing

Gateway provides IT students with state-of-the art equipment so they can train with the latest hardware and software used in the field. Equipment includes virtual workstations, servers and multimedia and smart systems for presentations.
 
Students can obtain additional hands-on learning through various student organizations. The Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) organization is located on the Kenosha and Racine Campuses. AITP provides students with networking opportunities through events and activities as well as connections with local and national AITP organizations. AITP students also compete at local, state and national levels. The Kenosha Campus is also home to the Student Technology Support Center. This pilot project provides students with the opportunity to run a help desk support site for other Gateway students. 
 
On the Elkhorn Campus, students can join Gateway Computer Professionals United (G-CPU). The club is open to all IT students and provides networking opportunities as well as relationship building. G-CPU offers local business tours and professional development seminars. In addition, club members organize field tips, community service activities and events such as game nights and computer sales.
 
Gateway also offers study abroad opportunities to IT students. International education opportunities could include participation in a global project team with students from Germany or providing IT support to a community in Belize.

Job and salary outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of computer support specialists is expected to grow 18 percent from 2010 to 2020. As technology continues to advance, the need for support specialists will increase as businesses need to update their computer equipment and software. Median salary for computer support specialists in 2010 was $22.24 per hour or a median annual salary of $46,260.

Certification and Licensing

Gateway courses also help students prepare for CompTIA A+, Microsoft Certified Professional and CompTIA Network+ certifications. These certifications make students more marketable to employers as certification validates foundation-level knowledge and skills necessary for a career in IT support.

Advisors

Elkhorn
Jason Kemp
kempj@gtc.edu

Kenosha
Andrew Goodman
goodmana@gtc.edu

Faculty

Elkhorn
Paul Nelson
nelsonp@gtc.edu

Tina Trainor
trainort@gtc.edu

Kenosha
Wendy Klemp
klempw@gtc.edu

Christine Lazaro
lazaroc@gtc.edu

Linda Spaulding
spauldingl@gtc.edu

Racine
Kathy Stenzel
stenzelk@gtc.edu

Program Administration

Ray Koukari, Dean
koukarir@gtc.edu

Manoj Babu, Associate Dean
babum@gtc.edu

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