Computer Operators picture    Computer Operators image

Computer Operators

Computer operators oversee the operation of computer hardware systems and make sure the machines are used efficiently and securely. Computer operators may work with mainframes, networks of personal computers and minicomputers. They control the console of a mainframe digital computer or a collection of minicomputers. They set the controls of computers in order to run computer tasks.

A larger number of computer operators are dealing with minicomputers and personal computers. They work with operating instructions that were developed by computer programmers, operations managers or users. They also solve problems that happen during computer operations. The duties performed by a computer operator vary by the policies of the employer, the size of the installation and the types of equipment being utilized.

A computer operator working with a personal computer network assists a network administrator in making sure all network connections are in place and the organization's network and servers are running properly. They may also help employees connect computer peripherals and set up new computers.

Some sample job titles are operations and maintenance technician, information technology specialist, computer console operator, computer specialist, systems operator and computer technician.


  • Oversee the operation of computer hardware systems
  • Load equipment with supplies
  • Retrieve and sort program output and send data to specific users
  • Monitor the control console and respond to computer and operating messages
  • After receiving an error message, locate and solve the problems or terminate the program
  • Monitor the system for performance errors and equipment failures
  • Enter commands using a computer terminal
  • Maintain logbooks of operating records
  • Notify computer maintenance technicians or supervisors of equipment malfunctions
  • Answer telephone calls to help computer users that are having problems

Job Characteristics

Computer operators usually work in well-ventilated comfortable rooms. Due to many companies utilizing their computers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, computer operators may work evening or night shifts and during the weekends. However, due to the increasing use of automated operations there may be a decrease in the need for shift work since computers can take over operations during the undesirable work hours.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted a minus 19 percent employment growth for computer operators from 2008 to 2018. Sophisticated software combined with robotics allows computers to perform many basic tasks that used to be performed by computer operators. Loading and downloading programs, scheduling, running periodic reports and rerouting messages can usually be accomplished without a computer operator.

With advances in technology, the duties of many computer operators are moving to areas including user support, network operations and database maintenance. Individuals that have formal computer education, have knowledge about a variety of operating systems and about the newest technology will have the best employment opportunities. In addition, the median annual earnings for computer operators in 2008 was $35,600.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Employers typically require only a high school diploma for computer operators. They receive on-the-job training. Many computer operators seek to advance to other positions in the field of information technology within a few years.


Major Employers

The primary employers are insurance companies, banks, manufacturers, educational institutions, data processing services firms and government agencies.

Schools for Computer Operators are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Computer Operators

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Computer Operators jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dallas 1610 $47,900
Arlington 1610 $47,900
Fort Worth 1610 $47,900
Roswell 1420 $34,930
Atlanta 1420 $34,930
Sandy Springs 1420 $34,930
Long Beach 1300 $46,110
Los Angeles 1300 $46,110
Anaheim 1300 $46,110
Carolina 870 $18,960
Total Employment for Computer Operators - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Total Employment for Computer Operators
Salaries for Computer Operators - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Salaries for Computer Operators
Total Employment and Salary for Professions Similar to Computer Operators

Most Popular Industries for :
Computer Operators

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services 14,610 13% $35,860
Office Services And Staffing 10,760 10% $31,420
Banking And Credit 8,750 8% $31,680
Government 7,760 7% $39,040
Education 7,670 7% $35,970
Internet Service Provider 7,130 6% $33,690
Business Management 6,710 6% $36,480
Insurance 5,460 5% $36,510
Hospital 4,690 4% $35,500
Durable Goods Wholesale 3,160 2% $38,180
Grocery Stores 2,930 2% $30,040
Non-durable Goods Wholesale 2,790 2% $35,300
Traditional Publishing 2,780 2% $36,310
Telecommunications 2,130 1% $42,410
Postal Service 1,600 1% $57,080
Printing 1,540 1% $36,900
Securities And Investment 1,470 1% $39,030
Storage 1,460 1% $36,790
Auto And Auto Parts Dealers 1,290 1% $36,270
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Results:  10
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  • Computer Support Technician
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Cathedral City
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  • Degree - Computer Systems Administration
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  • A BAS in Information Systems Technology is also available for students who already hold an A.A.S degree.
  • Regent University’s tech programs are designed to prepare students for careers in Software Development and Engineering, Computer Information Security, Network Administration, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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  • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
  • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
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  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

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National City
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  • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
  • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Computer Operators.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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