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Computer Operator

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What Does it Take to Be 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.

Life As a Computer Operator: What Do They Do?

  • Clear equipment at end of operating run and review schedule to determine next assignment.
  • Record information such as computer operating time, problems that occurred, and actions taken.
  • Answer telephone calls to assist computer users encountering problems.
  • Operate spreadsheet programs and other types of software to load and manipulate data and to produce reports.
  • Oversee the operation of computer hardware systems, including coordinating and scheduling the use of computer terminals and networks to ensure efficient use.
  • Retrieve, separate, and sort program output as needed, and send data to specified users.

Skills Needed to be a Computer Operator

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.

  • Equipment Operator
  • Computer Specialist
  • Desktop Engineer
  • Debug Technician
  • Data Processing Clerk

Job Opportunities for Computer Operators

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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 3,400 job openings in this field each year.

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

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.

Computer Operator Average Salary

Computer Operators make between $27,490 and $65,130 a year.

Salary Ranges for Computer Operators

Computer Operators who work in District of Columbia, Alaska, or Washington, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Computer Operators in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $40,660
Alaska $57,770
Arizona $49,810
Arkansas $35,300
California $52,480
Colorado $48,470
Connecticut $50,970
Delaware $45,450
District of Columbia $60,100
Florida $46,370
Georgia $43,710
Hawaii $47,400
Idaho $45,040
Illinois $48,260
Indiana $42,000
Iowa $43,380
Kansas $49,130
Kentucky $45,890
Louisiana $38,490
Maine $48,260
Maryland $47,250
Massachusetts $52,030
Michigan $44,990
Minnesota $51,970
Mississippi $39,410
Missouri $41,320
Montana $36,780
Nebraska $45,380
Nevada $47,900
New Hampshire $52,000
New Jersey $45,130
New Mexico $44,920
New York $48,280
North Carolina $44,530
North Dakota $48,050
Ohio $42,280
Oklahoma $39,670
Oregon $48,060
Pennsylvania $45,150
Rhode Island $50,680
South Carolina $42,620
Tennessee $43,700
Texas $47,480
Utah $44,020
Vermont $43,580
Virginia $49,830
Washington $52,470
West Virginia $34,270
Wisconsin $48,350
Wyoming $41,010

Tools & Technologies Used by Computer Operators

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
  • Python
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Structured query language SQL
  • Linux
  • IBM Notes
  • UNIX
  • Practical extraction and reporting language Perl
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • IBM Power Systems software

How to Become a Computer Operator

Learn what Computer Operator education requirements there are.

Computer Operator Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Computer Operator?

Computer Operator Work Experience

Where Computer Operators Work

Computer Operator Sectors

Computer Operators work in the following industries:

Computer Operator Industries

Similar Careers

Career changers with experience as a Computer Operator sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

References:

Image Credit: Kenneth Jensen via Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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