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 the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Computer Operators jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 1,610 $45,420
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell 1,420 $38,200
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 1,300 $47,300
San Juan-Carolina-Caguas 870 $21,520
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin 830 $44,980
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 760 $46,910
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 600 $46,050
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 540 $53,970
Pittsburgh 520 $39,930
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 480 $47,890

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to computer operators

Most Popular Industries for
Computer Operators

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment 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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  • Degree - Computer Systems Administration
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  • Computer Support Technician
  • A Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business, with an A+ rating.
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  • Offers free student services, including tutoring, campus internet access, career placement, and a student lounge.
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Cathedral City
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  • Computer Repair
  • MS-Office
  • An accredited computer training academy preparing students to enter the IT industry as Network Engineers, Software Engineers, Web Apps Developer, Website Designers, Programmers, Database Administrators since 2000.
  • Holds A+ certification from CompTIA.
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  • Flexible class schedules offered during day times, evenings and weekends.
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  • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
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  • B.S. in Applied Business Analytics
  • Grand Canyon University's online technology programs offer a premier educational experience designed to lead you to a career in science, technology, engineering and math.
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  • Media Arts & Animation (BS)
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  • Computer Systems Technician (10-Month Diploma Program)
  • Dedicated to providing  career training since 1975.
  • Has 13 campus locations in Southern California and a campus in Morrow, GA.
  • Provides flexible class times including weekends.
  • Offers curriculum that ranges from 8 month diploma programs to 16-month Associate of Applied Science degree programs.
  • Has admissions professionals available to help students decide which diploma or degree program they should pursue.
  • Gives job placement assistance strengthened by relationships with local employers.
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El Monte
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  • Information Technology Associate's Degree
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
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  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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  • Basic Computer and Microsoft Office Skills

The Accounting Academy was founded in 2005 and has been continuously approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private-Pstsecondary Education. 


The Accounting Academy is a career/vocational school specializing in training adult student to obtain entry and staff level positions in the accounting profession by teaching practical. real-world job skills that are not covered in college courses. 


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San Diego
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  • Mobile Development, Bachelor of Science
  • Online and on-campus programs include Cloud Technologies (BS), Mobile Development (BS), and Web Design and Development (BS)
  • Curriculum designed to prepare students for a career in tech by immersing students in a project-based learning environment
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  • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average
  • Information Technology
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  • Approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with an A+ rating since 2010.
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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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