Life As a Computer Operator
Career Description 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.
A Day in the Life of a Computer Operator
- Enter commands, using computer terminal, and activate controls on computer and peripheral equipment to integrate and operate equipment.
- Type command on keyboard to transfer encoded data from memory unit to magnetic tape and assist in labeling, classifying, cataloging and maintaining tapes.
- Notify supervisor or computer maintenance technicians of equipment malfunctions.
- Supervise and train peripheral equipment operators and computer operator trainees.
- Oversee the operation of computer hardware systems, including coordinating and scheduling the use of computer terminals and networks to ensure efficient use.
- Read job set-up instructions to determine equipment to be used, order of use, material such as disks and paper to be loaded, and control settings.
Things a Computer Operator Should Know How to Do
When polled, Computer Operators say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:
Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
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.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Other Computer Operator Job Titles
- Input Output Clerk
- Systems Operator
- Desktop Engineer
- Software Technician
- Information Technology Associate
Computer Operator Job Outlook
In 2016, there was an estimated number of 51,500 jobs in the United States for Computer Operator. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Computer Operator. The BLS estimates 3,400 yearly job openings in this field.
The states with the most job growth for Computer Operator are Washington, Maryland, and Alaska. Watch out if you plan on working in Illinois, Ohio, or West Virginia. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
How Much Does a Computer Operator Make?
The salary for Computer Operators ranges between about $27,490 and $65,130 a year.
Computer Operators who work in District of Columbia, Alaska, or Washington, make the highest salaries.
How much do Computer Operators make in each U.S. state?
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$60,100|
What Tools do Computer Operators Use?
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Computer Operators:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Outlook
- Web browser software
- Microsoft Access
- Email software
- Microsoft Windows
- Microsoft SharePoint
- Microsoft Visio
- Structured query language SQL
- IBM Notes
- Practical extraction and reporting language Perl
- Microsoft Exchange Server
- IBM Power Systems software
How to Become a Computer Operator
What kind of Computer Operator requirements are there?
How many years of work experience do I need?
Where do Computer Operators Work?
The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.
You May Also Be Interested In…
Career changers with experience as a Computer Operator sometimes find work in one of the following fields:
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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