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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree for Computer Systems Specialists

Majors Overview January 6, 2014

The role of a computer systems specialist is to administer, evaluate, maintain, and configure computer hardware and software. Depending on the student’s aptitudes, career goals, and interests, there are a variety of specialties in the IT (information technology) field.

A.A. Programs for Computer Systems Specialists

Students enrolled in a computer systems specialist degree can expect to be provided with the skills and knowledge they would need to pursue a career as a computer specialist in the IT (information technology) industry. Schools offer this program in either computer systems administration or computer information systems.

While they can choose from an array of specialties including programming, database administration, and networking and security, the most commonly sought specialization is computer support. It takes about two years to complete these degree programs that technical schools and community colleges, among other similar institutions, offer. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Students enrolled in this program can expect to become adept at installing, configuring, maintaining, troubleshooting and repairing computer appliances and hardware. Program coursework typically involves programming languages, database movement and networks. Courses commonly include:

•Object-oriented programming
•Operating systems
•Systems security
•Visual Basic programming
•Networking technologies
•PC troubleshooting and repair
•Database management
•Computer applications
•C++ programming

Job and Wage Outlook

A faster-than-average job growth rate has been projected for computer support specialists during the period from 2008 to 2018. In 2008, these professionals earned an average annual wage of $46,270 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). During the same period from 2008 to 2018, a job growth of 23% has been projected for computer systems administrators; in 2010, these professionals took home an average annual wage of $72,200, (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Those who successfully complete these programs may seek continued education by earning higher-level degrees in the information technology and computer fields, such as computer science, computer information systems and information technology, at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. Graduates will also qualify to take a test for professional certifications in areas such as Microsoft certified applications development, Visual Basic programming, C++ programming, and CISCO network communications. In the dynamic field of digital technology, professionals commonly upgrade their knowledge and skills through various programs and certifications.

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