Computer Operators
SOC: 43-9011.00


Monitor and control electronic computer and peripheral electronic data processing equipment to process business, scientific, engineering, and other data according to operating instructions. Monitor and respond to operating and error messages. May enter commands at a computer terminal and set controls on computer and peripheral devices.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
61,100 employed

Projected (2024):
49,500 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Card Sorter
  • Card Tape Converter Operator
  • Computer Console Operator
  • Computer Operator
  • Computer Peripheral Equipment Operator
  • Computer Programmer
  • Computer Specialist
  • Computer Systems Support Specialist
  • Computer Technician
  • Computing Machine Operator
  • Console Operator
  • Data Center Operator
  • Data Processing Auxiliary Equipment Operator
  • Data Processing Clerk
  • Data Processor
  • Debug Technician
  • Digital Computer Operator
  • Digitizer Operator
  • Encoding Machine Operator
  • Environmental Web Crawler
  • Equipment Operator
  • High Speed Printer Operator
  • Imaging Specialist
  • Information Systems Operator
  • Information Technology Manager
  • Information Technology Specialist
  • Input Output Clerk
  • Micro Computer Data Processor
  • Network Manager
  • Office Automation Clerk
  • Operations and Maintenance Technician
  • Peripheral EDP Equipment Operator
  • Peripheral Equipment Operator
  • Software Technician
  • Sorting Machine Operator
  • System Support Technician
  • Systems Operator

  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed


    Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.


    Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Equipment Selection
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Enter commands, using computer terminal, and activate controls on computer and peripheral equipment to integrate and operate equipment.
  • Monitor the system for equipment failure or errors in performance.
  • Notify supervisor or computer maintenance technicians of equipment malfunctions.
  • Respond to program error messages by finding and correcting problems or terminating the program.
  • Read job set-up instructions to determine equipment to be used, order of use, material such as disks and paper to be loaded, and control settings.
  • Operate spreadsheet programs and other types of software to load and manipulate data and to produce reports.
  • Retrieve, separate and sort program output as needed, and send data to specified users.
  • Load peripheral equipment with selected materials for operating runs, or oversee loading of peripheral equipment by peripheral equipment operators.
  • Answer telephone calls to assist computer users encountering problems.
  • Oversee the operation of computer hardware systems, including coordinating and scheduling the use of computer terminals and networks to ensure efficient use.
  • Record information such as computer operating time, problems that occurred, and actions taken.
  • Clear equipment at end of operating run and review schedule to determine next assignment.
  • Type command on keyboard to transfer encoded data from memory unit to magnetic tape and assist in labeling, classifying, cataloging and maintaining tapes.
  • Supervise and train peripheral equipment operators and computer operator trainees.
  • Help programmers and systems analysts test and debug new programs.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Backup drives
  • Check signers
  • Computer hard disk drives
  • Computer servers
  • Computer tape drives
  • Computer terminals
  • Decollating equipment
  • Disk storage units
  • Email servers
  • Form bursters
  • High speed impact printers
  • Impact printers
  • Laser printers
  • Magnetic card readers
  • Magnetic tape units MTU
  • Mainframe computers
  • Minicomputers
  • Modems
  • Multi-line telephone systems
  • Network routers
  • Personal computers
  • Plotters
  • Robotic tape libraries
  • Scanners
  • BMC Software Control-M software
  • BMC Software CONTROL-O
  • BMC Software PATROL software
  • BMC Software Remedy IT Service Management Suite
  • CA 11 Workload Automation Restart and Tracking
  • CA 7 Workload Automation
  • CA Automation Point
  • CA Unicenter TNG
  • Cisco IOS
  • Citrix software
  • Common business oriented language COBOL
  • Customer information control system CICS
  • Data3 ENGUARD
  • Disk operating system DOS software
  • Email software
  • EMC AlphaStor
  • EMC NetWorker
  • File transfer protocol FTP software
  • Hewlett Packard HP-UX
  • Hewlett-Packard HP OpenView Service Center
  • Hewlett-Packard HP OpenView software
  • Hewlett-Packard HP OpenVMS
  • IBM DB2
  • IBM i
  • IBM Informix
  • IBM Notes
  • IBM Power Systems software
  • IBM Tivoli NetView Distribution Manager
  • IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE for CICS on z/OS
  • IBM Tivoli Workload Scheduler
  • IBM WebSphere
  • Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold
  • Job control language JCL
  • Linux
  • Local area network LAN software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft SharePoint software
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Windows Server
  • Microsoft Word
  • MVS software
  • Novell NetWare
  • Operating system monitoring software
  • Oracle DBMS
  • Oracle Solaris
  • Oralce Java Enterprise System
  • Practical extraction and reporting language Perl
  • Python
  • SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports
  • SAP software
  • SPSS ShowCase Suite
  • Storage area network SAN software
  • Structured query language SQL
  • Sybase SQL Anywhere
  • Tandem advanced command language TACL
  • Teradata Enterprise Data Warehouse
  • UNIX
  • Veritas NetBackup
  • Web browser software
  • Wide area network WAN software

  • office and administrative support

    industry stats

    SOC: 43-0000

    Total Employed: 21,846,420

    Average Annual Salary: $36,330