Are you working in the general computer support industry? Be prepared to get out ASAP! No other time in history has a profession grown, aged and died so quickly as that of the Computer Support Professional. You know, that guy that everyone knows that can come over and get your camera working for a tiny fee.
I’ll demonstrate through my own example.
I was an eager college student ready to start my own business. The one thing that interested me the most was computers and how they can help everyone do their jobs more efficiently. Everywhere I looked I saw business in need of help with their computers. Since I was majoring in Computer Systems Engineering and an eager new entrepreneur, it was only logical that I start up a small computer support business in my region of the state.
LCARS Technology was born in 1997 in response to a local law firm’s need for computer assistance. They were willing to work around my college schedule, and I was willing to offer them computer support for a reasonable fee. As time went on, like a lot of other college kids, I fell into the problem of poor financial education. As a result, bankruptcy loomed and in 2003 I was forced to close LCARS Technology. Not being swayed away from helping local businesses, I launched Heth Computers, quit my day job as an R&D engineer at a local aluminum plant to pursue the business full time.
During the peak of Heth Computers I had annual sales of over $100,000 and several dozen customers. It was the end of 2005 and life as a computer support professional was resulting in wonderful sales, loyal customers, and exciting possibilities, but my world was about to fall around my feet.
I know what your thinking, it was the market crash in 2007 that killed the business… and you are partially right. I contribute the ultimate failure of the business to several factors:
1. The market. I, like the small business that were my customers, were getting constricted by the local market. Government fees, their customers tightening their belts and other factors resulted in many of my business customers closing up shop or shrinking to the point that my services were no longer required.
2. My Financial Knowledge. This is something I’ve worked very hard as of late to increase, and dedicate part of every week learning and studying. If I had better financial knowledge, I could have invested the money I was earning during the peak times in better and more sustainable ways. Instead the total lack of this knowledge lead partially to my companies downfall.
3. The internet. I contribute part of the failure to the mass amaturization of computer support capabilities. Google, YouTube, and other information sharing sites made it a lot easier to find solutions to computer problems. No longer was my contribution to customers unique and distinct. Now nearly every other employee they hired had computer troubleshooting skills. I was not called for every little issue, instead I was called out for the hard to solve problems that required an experienced professional to solve.
As my business declined, my need for financial security lead to a job in a very specialized version of computer support.
Now… I’m not saying general computer support is completely dead. What I am saying si there are several factors leading to the general computer profession dying:
1. As older generations retire and no longer need to be taught how to use and fix computers…
2. As younger generations grow up with technology all around them and with the mentality that computers are simply tools that they can fix themselves…
3. As larger organizations hire low paid technical professionals to provide extremely low cost computer support for small businesses still in need of this…
Computer support professionals will be relegated to specialized fields or enterprise level support jobs. No longer will a highly technical person with a flare for fixing computer problems be able to open up a small business and help those around them.