Computer Operator  What They Do

Just the Facts


Computer Operators Career Video



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

This career is part of the Business, Management and Administration cluster Administrative Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Enters commands, using computer terminal, and activates controls on computer and peripheral equipment to integrate and operate equipment.
  • Monitors the system for equipment failure or errors in performance.
  • Responds to program error messages by finding and correcting problems or terminating the program.
  • Notifies supervisor or computer maintenance technicians of equipment malfunctions.
  • Answers telephone calls to assist computer users encountering problems.
  • Records information such as computer operating time, problems that occurred, and actions taken.
  • Operates spreadsheet programs and other types of software to load and manipulate data and to produce reports.
  • Retrieves, separates and sorts program output as needed, and sends data to specified users.
  • Helps programmers and systems analysts test and debug new programs.
  • Oversees the operation of computer hardware systems, including coordinating and scheduling the use of computer terminals and networks to ensure efficient use.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Data Processing Clerk -- Enters data into an office machine or a computer system.
  • Office Automation Clerk -- Utilizes office computer systems to create correspondence and keeps control over correspondence files, reports and technical documents.
  • Computer Systems Support Specialist --
  • Input Output Clerk --