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Computer Operator

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What Does it Take to Be a Computer Operator?

Job Description & Duties 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.

Computer Operator Responsibilities

  • Clear equipment at end of operating run and review schedule to determine next assignment.
  • Supervise and train peripheral equipment operators and computer operator trainees.
  • Answer telephone calls to assist computer users encountering problems.
  • Type command on keyboard to transfer encoded data from memory unit to magnetic tape and assist in labeling, classifying, cataloging and maintaining tapes.
  • Load peripheral equipment with selected materials for operating runs, or oversee loading of peripheral equipment by peripheral equipment operators.
  • Help programmers and systems analysts test and debug new programs.

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.

  • Information Systems Operator
  • Imaging Specialist
  • Input Output Clerk
  • Card Tape Converter Operator
  • Card Sorter

Computer Operator Employment Estimates

In the United States, there were 51,500 jobs for Computer Operator in 2016. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Computer Operator. There will be an estimated 3,400 positions for Computer Operator per 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.

How Much Does a Computer Operator Make?

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.

How much do Computer Operators make 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 do I Become a Computer Operator?

Are there Computer Operators education requirements?

Computer Operator Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Computer Operator Work Experience

Where Computer Operators Are Employed

Computer Operator Sectors

Computer Operators work in the following industries:

Computer Operator Industries

Are you already one of the many Computer Operator in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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