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TECHNICAL SUPPORT SPECIALIST

(GS-334)


Essential Competencies

Technical Support Specialist:

A person with specialized technical knowledge and skills needed to support computers and related equipment. Duties include advising on, installing, maintaining, and repairing computers, peripherals, operating systems, and applications software. Also includes providing assistance and training to computer users.

Positions with these duties are generally classified in the Computer Specialist Series (GS-334). Depending on the size and organization of the information management staff, technical support may be the only responsibility or just one of several responsibilities an individual performs. (Refer to the files for Application Developer, Data Communications Specialist, or Local Area Network Manager for the competencies required to perform additional responsibilities.

ENTRY LEVEL

These competencies identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform basic technical support tasks for computers and related equipment at a park, system support office, field director’s office, national program center, or Headquarters office. Work is usually performed under the direct supervision of an experienced NPS technical support specialist.

Hardware

Description

Installs personal computer hardware, performs preventive maintenance, and assists end-users with minor problems.

Outline

I. Hardware

A.Installation

1.Personal computers
2. Monitors
3.Printers

B.Replacing Components

1.Floppy drives
2.Hard drives
3.Expansion boards
4.Memory

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Ability to set up personal computers (PCs) and printers following manufacturer’s or other written or verbal instructions

Ability to install/replace peripherals such as graphics cards, network cards, floppy disk drives, hard drives, memory

Operating Systems

Description

Writes simple batch files and modifies more complex batch files.

Outline

II. Operating System

A.Commands

B.Batch files

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge of common operating system (DOS) commands

Ability to edit batch files

Ability to write simple batch files using common operating system commands (e.g., changing directories, launching programs)

Applications Software

Description

Installs software on personal computers and assists end-users with minor problems.

Outline

III. Applications Software

A.Installation

1.Commercial software
2.DOI/NPS custom software

B.End-user assistance

1.Commercial software
2.NPS/DOI custom software

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Ability to install commercial software packages following manufacturer’s or other written or verbal instructions

Ability to configure software for use with specific printers

Ability to assist end-users with common tasks and common problems encountered with NPS standard commercial word processing, electronic mail, and file compression software (including Windows and DOS versions). (current standards are WordPerfect, cc:Mail, and PKZIP) (a Windows-based word processor will soon replace WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS)

Basic familiarity with most NPS/DOI custom software packages (who uses them, who administers them, who users should contact for assistance)

Troubleshooting

Description

Performs preventive maintenance and assists end-users with minor problems.

Outline

IV. Troubleshooting

A.Preventive Maintenance

1. Cleaning (exterior and interior)
2.Virus checks

B.Minor Troubleshooting

1.Restoring “lost” files
2.Using diagnostics software
3.Sources of technical information and help

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Ability to perform preventive maintenance on computers and printers

Ability to use computer and operating system diagnostics programs to diagnose common hardware or operating system problems

Ability to assist end-users with common problems encountered with use of PCs, operating system software, and Windows software

Knowledge of sources of hardware and software technical support (manufacturers’ help lines and bulletin board services, ...)

Data Communications

Description

Assists end-users with connections to computers outside their office.

Outline

V. Data communications

A. Software use

B. End-user assistance

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Ability to use Procomm or other NPS Standard communications software

Ability to retrieve information from hardware and software manufacturers’ electronic bulletin boards

Ability to use remote control software (such as PCAnywhere)

Ability to assist end-users with common tasks in using the current NPS standard software packages for data communications

Skill in using current NPS standard software packages for DOINET/Internet access (including Mosaic, Gopher, FTP, and 3270 Emulation components)

Ability to assist end-users with common tasks in using the current NPS standard software packages for data communications and for DOINET/Internet access

Procurement/Contracting

Description

Purchases basic computer accessories.

Outline

VI. Procurement/Contracting

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge of NPS and local policies and procedures related to common purchases

Knowledge of policies and procedures related to purchasing or contracting items or services

Technical Writing

Description

Prepares simple instructions for end-users to follow while completing common tasks.

Outline

VII. Technical Writing

A.Instructions

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Skill in identifying and using terminology that end-users will understand

Skill in writing instructions that are complete and are logically organized

Ability to convey complex or technical subject-matter in terms that a lay person or someone without technical training can understand

Training

Description

Conducts informal one-on-one training for end-users.

Outline

VIII. Training

A.One-on-one Training

1.Personal computers
2.Printers
3.
4.Commercial software
5.NPS/DOI custom software

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

DEVELOPMENTAL LEVEL

These competencies identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to assist with technical support at a park, system support office, field director’s office, national program center, or Headquarters office. Work may be performed without direct supervision, but with support from other NPS technical support specialists or information management staff.

Hardware

Description

Installs and maintains less common computer hardware components. Assists end-users with more complex problems.

Outline

I. Hardware

A.Component Installation

1.CD-ROM drives
2. Tape backup units
3.Sound cards
4....

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

All knowledge, skills and abilities shown at the entry level plus:

Ability to install and configure add-on items such as CD-ROM drives, tape backup units, scanners, sound cards, ...

Ability to partition and format hard drives

Operating Systems

Description

Writes batch files. Configures the operating system to optimize use of memory and other resources.

Outline

II. Operating Systems

A.Batch Files

B.Improving System Performance

1.Memory management

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

All knowledge, skills and abilities shown at the entry level plus:

Knowledge of operating system (DOS) commands

Ability to write complex batch files using operating system batch commands

Understanding of PC memory management

Ability to optimize operating system settings for common PC setups (memory use, .....)

Applications Software

Description

Assists end-users with intermediate level problems.

Outline

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Troubleshooting

Description

Troubleshoots hardware and software problems.

Outline

IV. Troubleshooting

A. Hardware

B.Software

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

All knowledge, skills and abilities shown at the entry level plus:

Ability to troubleshoot hardware and operating system problems on PCs

Ability to assist end-users with common problems encountered with NPS standard commercial spreadsheet and database software

Ability to troubleshoot NPS standard commercial software packages following manufacturer’s manuals or technical support instructions

Ability to interview users to isolate possible causes for problems they have encountered

Systems Analysis

Description

Participates in information systems planning.

Outline

IX. Systems Analysis

A. Information Collection

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Basic knowledge of systems analysis techniques

Knowledge of the role computers and peripherals play in an overall information system

Ability to conduct interviews with line employees to elicit information about current procedures and concerns

Data Communications

Description

Assists end-users with common problems encountered while using data communications or electronic mail software or NPS standard software packages for wide area network access

Outline

VI. Data communications

A. Software installation

B.End-user assistance

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

All knowledge, skills and abilities shown at the entry level plus:

Ability to install TCP/IP software

Ability to assist end-users with common problems encountered while using the current NPS standard software packages for DOINET access

Local Area Network Administration

Description

Works with network manager to ...

Outline

VII. LAN administration

A.Network Principles

B.Network use

1.Network drives
2.Network printers

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Understanding of the principles of local area networks (how they work)

Ability to assist end-users with common problems encountered logging onto and off of networks and using network printers

Ability to follow written or verbal instructions to install network versions of software

Procurement/Contracting

Description

Advises end-users, managers, and contracting staff on purchases of computers, peripherals, and software.

Outline

VIII. Procurement/Contracting

A.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Ability to evaluate reviews of hardware and software and to make recommendations to end-users

Ability to recommend appropriate computers, monitors, and printers to meet current and projected end-user needs

Knowledge of procurement regulations and policies that apply to PCs and related equipment

Technical Writing

Description

Outline

IX. Technical Writing

A.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

All knowledge, skills and abilities shown at the entry level plus:

Ability to prepare written instructions for end-users to follow in completing common tasks related to hardware or NPS standard software use

Ability to convey complex or technical subject-matter in terms that a lay person or someone without technical training can understand

Training

Description

Conducts informal one-on-one training for end-users.

Outline

X. Training

A.One-on-one Training

1.Personal computers
2.Printers
3.Operating system
4.Windows
5.Commercial off-the-shelf software
6.NPS/DOI custom software

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Skill in providing informal one-on-one training in use of computers, printers, network logons, electronic mail, and beginning level word processing tasks

Emerging Technologies

Description

Stays abreast of changes in the field of computers, peripherals, operating systems, and software.

Outline

XI. Emerging Technologies

A.Research

1.Professional journals
2.Trade shows
3.Manufacturer literature and catalogs

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

FULL PERFORMANCE LEVEL

These competencies identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to provide technical support for computers and related equipment at a park, system support office, field director’s office, national program center, or Headquarters office. Work is performed without supervision beyond direction in areas of administration, policy, and agency goals.

Hardware

Description

Installs and maintains advanced hardware components. Repairs a wide variety of problems.

Outline

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Operating Systems

Description

Outline

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

All knowledge, skills and abilities shown at the developmental level plus:

In-depth knowledge of operating systems commands and parameters

Applications Software

Description

Outline

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Skills at advanced to expert level in most NPS standard commercial software packages.

Troubleshooting

Description

Troubleshoots most hardware and software problems.

Outline

IV. Troubleshooting

A.Peripheral or expansion board problems

B.PCs running Windows and NetWare

C....

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Ability to troubleshoot problems on PCs with a variety of add-on items such as CD-ROM drives, tape backup units, scanners, sound cards, SCSI devices,...

Ability to troubleshoot and fine-tune PCs and printers attached to networks (including PCs running Windows)

Ability to troubleshoot memory conflicts

Systems Analysis

Description

Participates in information systems planning.

Outline

VI.Systems Analysis

A. Information Collection

B. Analysis

C. Recommendations

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

All knowledge, skills and abilities shown at the developmental level plus:

Knowledge of National Park Service organizational structure, long-range goals and objectives, and subject-matter fields

Skill at planning and conducting interviews with line employees and managers to elicit information about current procedures and concerns

Ability to analyze information gathered from users, managers, personal observation, and available documentation to determine present and future computer, software, and peripheral

Ability to prepare cost/benefit analyses and develop alternatives for computer and peripheral acquisition, replacement, or upgrading.

Data Communications

Description

Outline

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Local Area Network Administration

Description

Outline

VII. LAN administration

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

?Ability to set up printers for network use (on both large and peer-to-peer networks)

Procurement/Contracting

Description

Serves as technical representative on hardware or software service contracts or major computer, peripheral, or software procurements.

Outline

VIII. Procurement/Contracting

A.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Ability to write detailed specifications for computer and peripheral procurements

Ability to oversee maintenance and repair contracts on computers and peripherals

Technical Writing

Description

Outline

IX. Technical Writing

A.Training materials

B.Documentation

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Ability to prepare written materials to support formal or informal training in use of computers, peripherals, and various software packages

Skill in writing thorough documentation of computer and peripheral configuration, operating procedures, disaster recovery plans, ...

Training

Description

Develops and presents formal end-user training on a variety of hardware and software topics. Conducts informal one-on-one training on computer and software installation and support for other computer and network support staff.

Outline

X. Training

A.Formal Training

? 1. Hardware

? 2.Operating system

? 3.Windows

? 4.Commercial software

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Ability to conduct or coordinate formal training in use of computers, printers, operating system software, network software, electronic mail, and most of the current NPS standard commercial software packages

Emerging Technologies

Description

Researches, evaluates, advises on, and implements new hardware, operating systems, utilities, and applications software, ...

Outline

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Skill in soliciting and evaluating review copies of software, ...

Skill in learning how to use and implement new technologies

National Park Service
Training and Development Division
Essential Competencies
c-tecsup.htm

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