CAREER GUIDE FOR COMPUTER OPERATOR
SOC Code: 43-9011
Pay Band(s): 3 and 4 (Salary Structure)
Standard Occupational Description: Monitor and control electronic computer and peripheral electronic data processing equipment to process business, scientific, engineering, and other data according to operating instructions. May enter commands at a computer terminal and set controls on computer and peripheral devices. Monitor and respond to operating and error messages.
Computer Operator positions in the Commonwealth are assigned to the following Roles in the Computer Operations Career Group:
While Computer Operators within the Commonwealth are all located within the Computer Operations Career Group, individuals may want to pursue other opportunities within the Commonwealth depending upon individual training, education, knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests.
Other Career Group(s) that may be of interest are:
SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES AND TASKS
(Technical and Functional Expertise)
Note: The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Computer Operators commonly recognized by most employers. Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer. Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.
The Knowledge of:
The Ability to:
Note: The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Computer Operators. Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed.
Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics. These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation. When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.
The occupation of Computer Operator has Realistic and Conventional characteristics as described below:
Realistic Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
LICENSURE, REGISTRATION, OR CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
Generally this is not required for Computer Operator positions in state government.
EDUCATIONAL, TRAINING, AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
The Department of Labor provides the following information:
Computer operators oversee the operation of computer hardware systems, ensuring that these machines are used as efficiently as possible. They may work with mainframes, minicomputers, or networks of personal computers. Computer operators must anticipate problems and take preventive action, as well as solve problems that occur during operations.
Computer operators usually receive on-the-job training in order to become acquainted with their employer's equipment and routines. The length of training varies with the job and the experience of the worker. However, previous work experience is the key to obtaining an operator job in many large establishments. Employers generally look for specific, hands-on experience with the type of equipment and related operating systems they use. Additionally, formal computer-related training, perhaps through a community college or technical school, is recommended. Related training also can be obtained through the U.S. Armed Forces and from some computer manufacturers. As computer technology changes and data processing centers become more automated, employers will increasingly require candidates to have formal training and experience for operator jobs. And, although not required, a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field can be helpful when one is seeking employment as a computer operator or advancement to a managerial position.
A few computer operators may advance to supervisory jobs, although most management positions within data processing or computer operations centers require advanced formal education, such as a bachelor's or higher degree. Through on-the-job experience and additional formal education, some computer operators may advance to jobs in areas such as network operations or support. As they gain experience in programming, some operators may advance to jobs as programmers or analysts. A move into these types of jobs is becoming much more difficult, as employers increasingly require candidates for more skilled computer jobs to possess at least a bachelor's degree.
The State Council of Higher Education lists many Virginia educational institutions offering programs in computer science on their web site: http://research.schev.edu/degreeinventory/inventory_
Association of Computer Operations Management (AFCOM): http://www.afcom.com/afcomnew/index.asp provides information on computer operations professions.
Competencies are a set of identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and the organization. Competencies can be observed and measured. When consistently demonstrated, competencies make employees particularly effective in their work. Competencies help lay out a road map to career success. You can use the Commonwealth Competencies to help improve your individual performance by adopting behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use the Commonwealth Competencies for your further professional development.
The Commonwealth Competencies are:
The above competencies may be applied to employees throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. They can be rank-ordered by agencies and hiring managers to represent the needs of a specific job. The rank ordering will change depending upon the occupation, an organization's priorities, the actual job requirements, and the supervisor's preferences.
Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others. Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies, identifying your developmental opportunities, and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career!
For additional information about the Commonwealth Competencies go to: http://jobs.state.va.us/cc_planningctr.htm. For the competencies, we first list the competencies and then define each. Finally, we list competency indicators; to describe what successful performance looks like.
COMMONWEALTH CAREER PATH
Career opportunities in the Commonwealth are not limited to moving up to the next highest role and pay band, changing positions, or to becoming a supervisor. That's because most roles describe a broad group of occupationally related positions that perform a range of work that requires increased knowledge and skills. For that reason, Commonwealth roles describe the career paths within the same or higher-level role for the same or different Career Group. The broad salary range and the Commonwealth's pay practices provide flexibility in recognizing career development and advancement. (Salary Structure)
For example: Computer Operator
Sample Career Path
Computer Operations Technician I
This role provides a career track for computer operators that involve work ranging from performing the most basic entry-level skills to working independently as a technician on smaller projects or segments of larger projects.
Computer Operations Technician II
This role provides career tracks for computer operators that perform senior technicians responsibilities. The first career track is for positions that serve as a consultant and provide technical leadership and advice to address problems encountered, data analysis, and technical issues. The second track is for positions that have lead responsibilities to include instructing, directing and monitoring the work of project staff.
Computer Operations Manager I
This role provides a career track for supervisor and managers that manage and coordinate all activities of a unit with multiple projects to meet project deadlines and budgets.
Computer Operations Manager II
This role provides a career track for managers that supervise two or more functional areas or shift operations.
ADDITIONAL OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT:
O*NET (Occupational Information Network)
Career One Stop
Virginia Career Resource Network