Computer Operator – Job Description

Simply put, computer operators are professionals who are responsible for overseeing the all-inclusive operations and/or performances of the computer systems. These individuals are principally tasked with the duty of ensuring that the computer systems are used in such a way whereby the productivity and efficiency of the output is optimal. The specifics of a computer operator’s duty depend on the nature and magnitude of the computer system installation.

Generally however, computer operators are expected to fulfill a number of duties such as inputting of commands to execute operations; troubleshooting and resolution of errors and glitches; overseeing and monitoring of computer system performances; collation and evaluation of operational errors; as well as carrying out of periodic tests and debugging processes to fine-tune the working operations of the whole computer system. Additionally, computer operators are saddled with the responsibility of creating back up files and safeguarding them in order to prevent a situation of information loss. The job opportunities for computer operators have significantly declined over the years due to the influx of more fully automated computer systems that require minimal human involvement.


Computer Operator Job Duties

  • Periodically monitors the overall computer system for the consistency of output and general performance.
  • Organizes, collates and evaluates input and output data in order to prevent computer system operation decline.
  • Establishes command routines for the input of data, its conversion, and the output of information.
  • Runs series of tests and maintenance actions in order to keep the computer system performance as high as practicably possible.
  • Ensures that the data inputs and information outputs are reliably backed up to prevent unbearable losses in the probable case of a computer system glitch.
  • Communicates computer system performance evaluations to the relevant units for necessary action.
  • Oversees the smooth-running of all the hardware and software components of the computer systems and networks.
  • Anticipates errors and equipment malfunction, and prepares practicable alternative measures in order not to bring the whole productive activities to a complete standstill.


Alternative Names

  • Console operator
  • Computing machine operator
  • Computer peripheral equipment operator
  • Information systems operator


Job Projections

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2016) predicts a decline of 19% in the employment rate of computer operators between 2014 and 2024. The rate of employment is expected to fall drastically over this period mostly due to the increase in the automation of sequences and processes.


Computer Operator Skills and Qualifications

  • Impressive information organization skills are crucial qualities a good computer operator should possess in order to drastically reduce and/or forestall the risk of computer system entropy/ disorder.
  • Formidable troubleshooting skills are essential in order to identify and resolve issues of flawed computer system performances.
  • Optimal problem-solving skills are very cogent qualities desired in a credible computer operator.
  • Practicable mathematical and analytical prowess is an important skill to be had in being an accomplished computer operator.
  • Effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills are laudable characteristics required to be a successful computer operator.
  • Spectacular interpersonal relationship skills as well as great teamwork abilities are the hallmark of a distinguished computer operator.
  • Outstanding result-oriented attributes are vital qualities a good computer operator should possess. These qualities help to keep the computer operator motivated in his/her professional endeavor.
  • Impeccable patience and attentiveness to both minor and major details. Being ineptitude at this may diminish the whole productivity process.


Salary Details

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2016) provides that the mean annual wage for a computer operator is $43,880.


Education and Training

The most common principal requirement of being a computer operator is the possession of a high school diploma or an associate’s degree in the relevant discipline. The most predominant training is received on-the-job. The frequency and repetition in the use of the equipment and computer software/programs greatly helps in improving dexterity and ease of use. Computer technologies are often and periodically updated; so a computer operator has to be conversant with the reviewed editions of technologies that keep on emerging from time to time. A good way of keeping abreast of these new innovations is by being a functional member of relevant professional bodies and organizations.

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