Pros and Cons of Becoming a Computer Office Assistant
Computer office assistants, also known as office clerks, take care of general office tasks around an office with a general emphasis on computer-related work activities. You can learn pros and cons to becoming a computer office assistant by reading below.
|PROS of Becoming a Computer Office Assistant|
|On-the-job training is provided by many employers*|
|Minimal education requirements*|
|Promotional opportunities with work experience*|
|Part-time, temporary and full-time job opportunities in this field*|
|CONS of Becoming a Computer Office Assistant|
|Pay is below the national average ($30,000 or so annually)*|
|The demand for office assistants is expected to decline with the advancement of technology*|
|Working at a computer for extended periods of time can lead to health problems like back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome*|
|Additional job decline can come during troubling economical times*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Important Career Information
The day-to-day activities that help keep a business operational are often performed by computer office assistants. As part of your computer work, you may have to use Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office to keep track of office activities and business transactions. You might be assigned to send out an e-mail to everyone in the office to inform them about a change of office procedures or to share an important memo. Customer complaints that arrive via e-mail might also be answered by you, and you might arrange purchases through online vendors. Many employers require computer office assistants to do non-computer tasks like answering phones, sorting mail and taking inventory.
The average annual wages for office clerks was reported to be about $30,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2014. Postal services, natural gas distribution, pipeline transportation of crude oil, aluminum production and processing, and motor vehicle manufacturing were the industries that paid the highest on average. Additionally, New Hampshire, Colorado, Connecticut, Alaska and the District of Columbia were the top paying states.
The BLS found that computer office assistants might see as much as a 6% growth in employment from 2012-2022. When compared to other occupations, this is slower than average. As an office assistant who specializes in computer work, you'll potentially be more valuable to employers who're looking to upgrade their computer technology equipment as long as you remain up to date on new technology. If you have a broad skill set, you'll potentially see more employment opportunities as well.
Training and Education
A high school diploma or a GED is the minimum education a computer office assistant is expected to have earned. There are various post-secondary education options that are available to computer office assistants in the form of certificates and associate's degrees. Classes that would be helpful for computer office assistants to take cover areas like Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and other Microsoft Office products. Data entry and keyboarding skills are two other courses that are beneficial to office assistants specializing in computer work. Many employers take the time to train and familiarize new computer office assistants with the equipment and systems they'll be working with on a regular basis.
What Do Employers Want?
If you're being hired as a computer office assistant, employers will want to make sure you can succeed in an office environment and that you're familiar with computers. Employers also seek computer office assistants with good interpersonal and communication skills. You have to be able to effectively and clearly communicate with your employers, co-workers and customers to keep the business process as smooth as possible. Keep reading if you're interested in learning what some real employers were requesting in computer office assistants in May 2012.
- An office assistant job in Illinois requires applicants to be efficient with Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and using the Internet. Candidates must also be prepared to conduct research and having a medical background is a plus.
- An automotive company in California is looking for an office assistant with accounting experience. In addition to having good office and phone skills, you will need to assist the accounts payable clerk.
- In Georgia, a business needs an office assistant to perform data entry work. Candidates must have a pleasant demeanor on the phone and be willing to learn new things. A bachelor's degree is required for this position.
- Office assistants with knowledge of QuickBooks can find employment with an organization in New York. The position also requires applicants to be able to administer human resource functions and work with the payable and billing department.
How to Stand Out
The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers membership benefits and certification options to computer office assistants. The benefits you receive include access to seminars, conferences, workshops and conventions related to office work. You can also receive magazines and newsletters that can help you stay up on the latest trends in this industry. If you take the time to meet the experience and educational requirements, then you can pursue the Certified Administrative Professional designation. Acquiring a professional certification shows your commitment and skills as a computer office assistant to your employers and co-workers.
Alternative Vocational Options
If you're interested in a career similar to a computer office assistant, look into becoming an information clerk. In this role, you'll help keep records of various data. This includes filing and inputting data. You may be called upon by a co-worker or customer to retrieve data for them. Information clerks were reported to make $27,000 on average annually, according to the BLS in May 2011. Employment for information clerks is expected to see a 7% growth in employment from 2010-2020.
If you like working with a computer, consider being a technical support specialist. You'll evaluate and test network systems on behalf of an employer. You'll perform maintenance and troubleshoot any issues that arise with the systems. Your job is to keep the networks operational for your employer. Computer support specialists from 2010 to 2020 are expected to see an 18% growth in employment, according to the BLS. In May 2011, the average annual salary for this occupation was reported to be about $52,000.