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What Does it Take to Be a Computer Operator?

Computer Operator Definition Monitor and control electronic computer and peripheral electronic data processing equipment to process business, scientific, engineering, and other data according to operating instructions. Monitor and respond to operating and error messages. May enter commands at a computer terminal and set controls on computer and peripheral devices.

Daily Life Of a Computer Operator

  • Record information such as computer operating time, problems that occurred, and actions taken.
  • Enter commands, using computer terminal, and activate controls on computer and peripheral equipment to integrate and operate equipment.
  • Help programmers and systems analysts test and debug new programs.
  • Clear equipment at end of operating run and review schedule to determine next assignment.
  • Oversee the operation of computer hardware systems, including coordinating and scheduling the use of computer terminals and networks to ensure efficient use.
  • Operate spreadsheet programs and other types of software to load and manipulate data and to produce reports.

What a Computer Operator Should Know

Computer Operators state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Types of Computer Operators

  • Information Technology Associate
  • Imaging Specialist
  • Information Technology Specialist (IT Specialist)
  • Card Tape Converter Operator
  • Computing Machine Operator

Computer Operator Employment Estimates

There were about 51,500 jobs for Computer Operators in 2016 (in the United States).

Computer Operator jobs are decreasing by a rate of -22.8%. This means the total job opportunities are shrinking. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a loss of -11,800 jobs for Computer Operators by 2026. The BLS estimates 3,400 yearly job openings in this field per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Computer Operators in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Computer Operators are Washington, Maryland, and Alaska.

Watch out if you plan on working in New York, California, or Texas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Computer Operators Make A Lot Of Money?

The average yearly salary of a Computer Operator ranges between $27,490 and $65,130. The median salary is $45,840.

Salary Ranges for Computer Operators

How much do Computer Operators make in different U.S. states?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

District of Columbia

$60,100

Alaska

$57,770

California

$52,480

Washington

$52,470

Massachusetts

$52,030

New Hampshire

$52,000

Minnesota

$51,970

Connecticut

$50,970

Rhode Island

$50,680

Virginia

$49,830

Arizona

$49,810

Kansas

$49,130

Colorado

$48,470

Wisconsin

$48,350

New York

$48,280

Maine

$48,260

Illinois

$48,260

Oregon

$48,060

North Dakota

$48,050

Nevada

$47,900

Texas

$47,480

Hawaii

$47,400

Maryland

$47,250

Florida

$46,370

Kentucky

$45,890

Delaware

$45,450

Nebraska

$45,380

Pennsylvania

$45,150

New Jersey

$45,130

Idaho

$45,040

Michigan

$44,990

New Mexico

$44,920

North Carolina

$44,530

Utah

$44,020

Georgia

$43,710

Tennessee

$43,700

Vermont

$43,580

Iowa

$43,380

South Carolina

$42,620

Ohio

$42,280

Indiana

$42,000

Missouri

$41,320

Wyoming

$41,010

Alabama

$40,660

Oklahoma

$39,670

Mississippi

$39,410

Louisiana

$38,490

Montana

$36,780

Arkansas

$35,300

West Virginia

$34,270

What Tools do Computer Operators Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Computer Operators may use on a daily basis:

  • Python
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Access
  • Common business oriented language COBOL
  • Linux
  • Structured query language SQL
  • Job control language JCL
  • Citrix

Becoming a Computer Operator

What kind of Computer Operator requirements are there?

Computer Operator Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become Computer Operator?

Computer Operator Work Experience

Where do Computer Operators Work?

Computer Operator Sectors

You May Also Be Interested In…

Those who work as Computer Operators sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:

  • Computer Programmers
  • Web Developers

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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