IT-Computer Support Specialist - Learn More

IT-Computer Support Specialist

Associate of Applied Science

Credits Required for Graduation: 65.00

Learn More About This Program

IT - Computer Support Specialist

The Computer Support Specialist program is designed for the following types of individuals:

  • Students who want to have a career in computers and have no prior experience.
  • Students who are changing careers to a computer related field.
  • Students who are active computer users and want to broaden their skills to be employed in a computer field.
  • Current computer professionals who want to get a college degree to supplement their other certification.
  • Current computer professionals who want to upgrade their technical skills or who want to prepare for industry certification.

As a Computer Support Specialist you must be able to communicate with both technical and non-technical people taking everyday problems and solving them in a timely manner. Students acquire skills in five major areas:

  • Software Application Skills: Students will learn to use the essential office applications including word processing, databases, and the Internet.
  • Networking Skills: Students will learn to use, configure, troubleshoot, and install networks in a small to intermediate office environment.
  • Hardware and Software Configuration and Troubleshooting Skills: Students will learn to research, install, troubleshoot, and configure hardware and software.
  • Independent Thinking and Research Skills: Students will learn to research computer problems, provide computer support, and learn new computer applications. Students will learn to acquire new skills independently in order to keep their skills current.
  • Human Relations and Support Skills: Students will learn to help other computer users as well as, develop training and maintenance plans.

Program Head:

Kari Knower

Instructor Web Sites:

Kari Knower
Cindy Prindle

Web Related Links:

DUX Computer Digest
PC Technology Guide
How Stuff Works


AITP (Association of Information Technology Professionals) Student chapter
Business Professionals of America

Will there be an advisor/counselor available to help me?

Yes, we have student advisors for all Business programs:

Barb Fitzsimmons
La Crosse Campus, Welcome Center

Counseling services are available at Western. If you would like to see a counselor, please call 608.785.9553 or toll-free 800.322.9982 to schedule an appointment. For more information on counseling services, visit

Frequently Asked Questions:

How is the Computer Support Specialist program different from the other CIS programs such as network specialist and programming?

The networking and programming areas grew out of the Computer Support Specialist program. As students wanted more knowledge in a specific area, advanced courses were developed in networking and programming. The Computer Support Specialist program gives the student a good background in microcomputers that includes: PC repair and installation, basic networking, introductory programming and user support.

If I start in the Computer Support Specialist program can I transfer to another program?

Students often complete the Computer Support Specialist program and then return to complete courses in one of the other areas, such as programming or networking. Several of the introductory courses overlap between programs such as integrated software applications, introduction to networking and user support.

Are there scholarships available?

CIS students can apply for a National Science Foundation scholarship if they meet certain requirements. Over $60,000 has been awarded to CIS students over the last two years. Other general scholarships are available through the foundation office.

What about internships?

Students are encouraged to apply for internships. Although not a program requirement, the faculty will assist students with finding an internship through the Techconnect web site.

What types of relationships can students expect?

Students are encouraged to work together on projects. Students learn from each other and teamwork is promoted. Faculty will always "take time for students" to ensure a positive educational experience.

Essential Functions (Typical Duties)

A Computer Support Specialist performs various functions within a computer department ranging from installing and supporting PC hardware platforms and software applications to functions generally described in a help desk or customer support area.

Typical Duties:

  • Installs or assists service personnel in installation of hardware devices and peripheral components such as monitors, keyboards and printers.
  • Installs and updates software packages such as operating systems, word processors or spreadsheet programs.
  • Enters commands and observes system functions to verify correct system operations.
  • Instructs users in operation of equipment, software and documentation.
  • Provides first level support to users relating to help desk assistance.
  • Responds to customer inquiries concerning system operation and diagnoses system hardware, software and operational problems.
  • Refers problems to second level support and monitors status.
  • Maintains network user accounts such as correcting password issues.
  • Makes recommendations to management, providing updates, status reports and completion information.
  • Prepares and updates user manuals.
  • Tests new and updated hardware and software before installation.
  • May get involved in supporting telephone systems.

Skills required:

  • Quality customer service using both oral and written skills.
  • Ability to solve problems.
  • Reacts well under pressure and deadlines.
  • Demonstrates good judgment, patience and willingness to make decisions.
  • Effective time management, prioritizes work activities.
  • Social and people skills to work in a team environment.
  • Able to follow instructions and respond to management direction.
  • Available to work during non-business hours (evenings and weekends) to assist with conversions, software updates, trouble shooting or equipment installation.
  • Adapts to change and learning new technology.

Physical Requirements:

  • Ability to lift and move computers, printers and other devices.
  • Manual dexterity to install or replace components in small areas.
  • Will spend time standing, bending or sitting at a desk depending on the job.