Groupware Specialist Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

About this article
A groupware specialist's median annual salary is around $90,517. Is it worth the education and certification requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming a groupware specialist is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career as a Groupware Specialist

Groupware specialists manage collaborative tools within an organization to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. It is best to investigate the pros and cons of becoming a groupware specialist before making the definitive decision that this job is for you.

Pros of a Career as a Groupware Specialist
Good median salary (about $90,517 as of 2016)***
Multiple career entry-points (i.e. computer support specialist, computer programmer and computer application software engineer)****
On-the-job training*
Opportunity to advance*

Cons of a Career as a Groupware Specialist
Requires a great deal of technical knowledge**
May have to be available 24/7 and work nights and weekends**
May need knowledge of the industry of employment*
May have to travel*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Monster.com job ad, ***Salary.com, ****University of Georgia.

Career Information

Job Description

Groupware (collaborative programs) allow people who are working on remote or local networks to communicate and interact with one another, along with accessing the same information. Programs of this type may allow for the sharing of databases, as well as the ability to conduct electronic meetings or conferencing with everyone able to display and see information. Groupware also involves e-mail managing and calendar or diary sharing, along with the collective use of spreadsheets or word processor documents. Examples of products of this type include Microsoft NetMeeting, Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino Server and Lotus Notes.

A groupware specialist is responsible for overseeing and managing a company's collaborative programs. A specialist first determines the needs of the organization and makes suggestions as to possible programs that will meet those needs. The specialist then installs the programs and configures the applications to comply with the needs of the users. Specialists may train end-users. The specialist also provides support and service as required and makes sure that the central core of data is maintained and available. In addition, the specialist takes care of upgrades and updates, as well as making suggestions concerning future needs.

Popular Career Options

You don't enter a course of study, such as a bachelor's in groupware, to become a groupware specialist. Three possible computer career paths exist that may allow you to work as a groupware specialist. Computer programmers write, customize and modify computer programs. Computer support specialists help individuals with computer problems, as well as testing, maintaining and troubleshooting networks and Internet systems. Computer applications software engineers create, upgrade and optimize software.

Career Prospects and Salary Information

Salary.com found that groupware specialists made a median salary of about $90,517 as of January 2016. The website projected a salary range of $85,739-$89,415 for entry-level groupware specialists.

Software developers, including applications software developers, made a median salary of about $95,510 in 2014 and had a projected 17% increase in jobs from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Jobs for computer network support specialists were anticipated to increase by 12% from 2014-2024, and they made a median wage of about $61,830 in 2014, according to BLS data. The BLS also found that programmers made a median salary of about $77,550 as of 2014 and had an anticipated 8% decline in positions over the 2014-2024 decade.

What Are the Requirements?

No one educational path leads to becoming a groupware specialist. The minimum educational qualification is an associate's degree in computer science or an associated technical subject. However, some employers may hire you without a degree if you have experience in network and/or server support. Computer programmers, computer support specialists and software developers generally earn a bachelor's in computer science or information technology.

Knowledge areas may include Linux, Unix, Windows, TCP/IP and diagnostic programs. Certifications beneficial to a groupware specialist include Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Cisco Certified Network Associate, among others. Skills groupware specialists need to possess include organizational, time management, analytical, problem solving, communication, presentation and documentation skills.

Job Postings from Real Employers

By perusing job ads for groupware specialists, you will notice that jobs are highly technical and require knowledge of many applications. Here are a few positions that were open as of April 2012:

  • A business and home services company in Memphis, TN, advertised for a groupware administrator to maintain, implement, optimize and troubleshoot groupware systems, including Microsoft Exchange, Live Communication Server and messaging and e-mail systems. You need a bachelor's in management information systems or computer science, experience in collaboration technologies and Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician and Microsoft Certified IT professional certifications.
  • An eSecurity company in Morrisville, NC, was looking for an exchange support administrator to administrate and support in an Exchange environment. You must have experience with Windows 2003 and 2008 Server and Active Directory and Exchange Systems Administration, able to resolve e-mail issues and configure e-mail clients like Thunderbird, Entourage, Outlook Express and Outlook.
  • A global business company in Philadelphia, PA, searched for a wireless admin for technical and administrative support of their Blackberry groupware. You must have a bachelor's, Blackberry administration experience and knowledge of Windows Server and Microsoft Exchange/Outlook e-mail.

How to Stand Out

Consider earning a project management certification. If you are required to handle multiple projects and/or supervise workers, acquiring project management skills may help. It is also useful to have project management skills if you plan to enter management. The Project Management Institute (www.pmi.org) offers certifications at a variety of levels. Project Management Institute's 2011 salary survey showed that individuals with project management certification earn approximately 16% more than individuals without certification.

Be familiar with trends and developments within the industry. Be on top of the curve and ready to suggest new programs and methods that may help with the efficiency and operation of groupware for your company. Be familiar with the latest programs used in groupware to perform tasks such as migration, troubleshooting and archiving.

Other Career Paths

Groupware specialists must interact with people when training, answering questions and fixing computers. If you would like a position that requires less involvement with people, becoming a network and computer systems administrator may be a better career choice. Systems administrators oversee a company's computer networks. Systems administrators need a bachelor's degree, and they earned a median wage of $71,000 in 2011, according to BLS.

Perhaps, a groupware specialist is just too involved with various applications, and you want to work with the hardware. A computer hardware engineer designs and tests computer hardware like routers, circuit boards and chips. You will need a bachelor's degree, possibly in electrical engineering or computer engineering. Engineers made a median salary of $99,000 in 2011 and have an employment outlook of nine percent from 2010-2020, according to BLS.

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Full Sail University

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  • BS - Mobile Development (Campus)

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Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

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Herzing University

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  • B.S. - Software Development With No Declared Minor or Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Software Development

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Keiser University

  • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology

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  • Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering
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