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Computer Operator

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Summary

Use a computer to manage data.

Salary Range

$44,270 - $64,050

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

What does a Computer Operator do?

While computers can do many things quickly and accurately, they often need help from human beings. They must have data to work with, and they often need some sort of maintenance to prevent a breakdown. A Computer Operator provides this assistance.

You start your shift as a Computer Operator by turning the computer on and letting it warm up as you pour your first cup of coffee. You enter information into the computer using a keyboard, and manipulate data using software if your Supervisor tells you to. You may also store this information on backup tapes or discs, or print it out on a printer or plotter.

You answer questions from other people who are also trying to operate computers, even leaving your desk to assist them when necessary. You must keep your communication skills intact for this portion of your job. Not everyone understands computer terms as well as you do, so you must be able to explain technical things using common words.

If your computer breaks, you may attempt to fix it by reinstalling software, or swapping out monitors or other equipment. But if you can’t solve the problem yourself, you contact a computer repair professional.

As a Computer Operator, you may also be in charge of large computers that control many small computer systems. You watch these computers carefully, looking for signs that a big problem is brewing. You’ll likely back up the information on these computers once or twice a day. If a major problem occurs, you’ll be awarded hero status for your diligence in protecting the computerized information.

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