Information Systems Assistant Careers: Job Description & Salary

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An information systems assistant's average salary is around $66,140. Is it worth the education and training requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming an information systems assistant is right for you.
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Information Systems Assistant Career: Pros and Cons

Information system assistants, often referred to as computer support specialists, technical support specialists or IT (information technology) assistants, work for a wide variety of companies providing technical computer assistance to co-workers or customers. Take a look at some of the pros and cons of becoming an information systems assistant to see if it's right for you.

Pros of Becoming an Information Systems Assistant
Better-than-average job prospects (projected 17% job growth 2014-2024)*
Can get hired with under two years of college*
Possibility for advancement*
Strong employment growth is expected in healthcare as information technology uses increase*
Certain employers allow information systems assistants to work from home*

Pros of Becoming an Information Systems Assistant
Some employers require night and weekend hours*
Being on call 24/7 is common*
Traveling can be required if there is a problem at an offsite location*
Continuing education is often required*
Long-term use of computers throughout the day can lead to carpal tunnel and back pain*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupational Information

Job Description and Duties

Numerous industries count on information systems assistants to help operate an efficient business in the technologically driven modern world. As an information systems assistant, you might work directly for an organization or you might work for a company that contracts workers out to multiple clients. You could work primarily with the computer issues of employees or staff a help desk for customers.

Some of your duties could involve examining computer networks or specific computers, diagnosing problems and performing maintenance such as cleaning hardware. You might help clients and customers in person, over the phone or through e-mail. More advanced issues may require you to travel directly to the person having the issue in order to solve the problem.

The issues you deal with at your job can range from software programs clashing or firewall issues to viruses and spyware. When new technology is introduced in a workplace, you might help set it up and train employees on the new software or hardware.

Salary

In May 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that computer network support specialists, the category that includes information systems assistants, earned an average of $31.80 per hour, which amounted to an average annual income of about $66,140. The District of Columbia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California and New Jersey were the highest paying states for this profession.

Requirements to Become an Information Systems Assistant

Education and Training

In rare circumstances, a high school diploma or GED is an acceptable level of education if you possess the necessary technical skills. However, most information systems assistants have obtained some kind of postsecondary education. A Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is the preferred degree, but some information systems assistants can find employment with just an Associate of Science in Computer Science or a computer science educational certificate or diploma. While you're in school, you'll want to take classes in technical writing, programming languages, operating systems and database systems. Most new information systems assistants receive some on-the-job training lasting a couple of weeks to a few months.

The BLS notes that computer support specialists need problem-solving, speaking, listening and writing skills along with technical knowledge in order to clearly and effectively communicate technical terms in a non-technical way.

What Are Employers Looking For?

Most ads specify a minimum of one year of experience in IT or computer support along with customer service skills; some, though not all, state a preference for higher education. The following excerpts were taken from job postings in April 2012 from real employers.

  • A transportation business in California requires an IT assistant to provide computer operations support to multiple users in a busy environment. They're willing to hire and train the right entry-level applicant who has excellent customer service and communication skills and can perform under pressure.
  • A staffing company in Texas is looking for an IT assistant to work in a bank doing intranet and website maintenance and providing tech support to employees. Some IT experience, especially in banking, is preferred.
  • A supermarket chain is seeking an information systems assistant to maintain a help desk and provide technical support for the company's individual workstations and network systems in Honolulu. Candidate will have a bachelor's degree or four years of experience along with extensive knowledge of networking and computers. Must be willing to be on-call 24/7 and travel throughout the state when necessary.
  • An employment agency in Indiana is looking for an IT assistant willing to work weekends and nights to help troubleshoot desktop and mobile systems and provide technical support. Candidate must have one year of experience with software and hardware support and a minimum of a technical diploma.

How Can You Stand Out as an Information Systems Assistant?

The BLS points out that people in these jobs need to keep current on the latest trends in computer science due to constant changes in technology. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, from reading technological magazines, journals and websites to formal training through conferences and classes. Many software vendors offer courses, training and certifications associated with their own software and hardware.

Alternative Vocations

Customer Service Representative

If you like helping people, but you're not really good with computers, consider being a customer service representative. When customers have questions or need help, the customer service representative is generally the first person they contact. You might simply provide information on the services and items your company offers, or you might deal with complicated complaints. You may do this job in person or on the phone. Generally, you will be trained on the job, and you may be able to get work with just a high school diploma, though some employers require an associate or bachelor's degree. Customer service representatives earned roughly $33,000 on average according to the BLS in May 2011.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

If you like information systems and working with computers and don't mind committing yourself to four years in a computer-related bachelor's degree program, you could look into becoming a computer and information systems manager. The BLS notes that many people in this job start out at a lower level of management within a company and rise to the level of IT manager or information systems manager. In this position, you'll analyze and direct the computer-related activities of a company. Your job duties can vary widely depending on your specific job title and place of work, but can include purchasing appropriate hardware and software and managing a team of information systems assistants. The BLS reported salaries for these professionals, which include several different job titles, such as IT security manager and chief technology officer, ranging from $73,000-$185,000 in May of 2012.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Information Technology
      • MBA: Project Management
      • MS in Information Technology - Business Intelligence and Analytics
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master : Business Admin
    Bachelor's
      • BSBA in Information Systems Management
      • BBA: Project Management
      • BS in Health Information Management
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Information Processing
      • Associate: Business Admin.
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems
      • Master of Science in Government Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Organizational Leadership
      • MS - Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Management Information Systems and Business Analytics
      • BS - Information Technology
      • BS - Business Management
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA: Business Administration - Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. in Business Analytics
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Management Information Systems
      • B.S. in Business Analytics
  • Campus and Online Programs
    6. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Business Intelligence
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Business Admin - Management Information Systems
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management Information Systems
      • PhD-TIM - Information Systems
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • PhD in Business Admin - Management of Engineering and Technology
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management of Engineering and Technology
    Master's
      • MBA - Management Information Systems
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • MBA - Management
      • MBA - Management of Engineering and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Project/Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Management and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Human Resources and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Technology Management
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Technology Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    10. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Enterprise Resource Planning

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • MBA - Information Technology
  • BSBA in Information Systems Management
  • AASBA in Information Processing

Which subject are you interested in?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems
  • Master of Science in Government Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Organizational Leadership
  • MS - Management
  • BS - Management Information Systems and Business Analytics
  • BS - Information Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Leo University

  • BA: Business Administration - Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Regent University

  • M.S. in Business Analytics
  • B.S. in Management Information Systems
  • B.S. in Business Analytics

What is your highest level of education completed?

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Business Intelligence
  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • B.S. - Music Business

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Business Admin - Management Information Systems
  • Doctor of Business Admin - Management Information Systems
  • MBA - Management Information Systems
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management

What is your highest level of education?