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OSP Occupational Profile

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NOC Code: NOC Code: 1421 Occupation: Computer Operators
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Computer operators operate computer equipment, produce computer-generated reports, monitor the operation of computer systems and networks, and co-ordinate their use. They are employed in computer centres throughout the private and public sectors. Computer operators operate computer equipment, produce computer-generated reports, monitor the operation of computer systems and networks, and co-ordinate their use. They are employed in computer centres throughout the private and public sectors.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3 4
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3

  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.

Reading Text
  • Read memos from supervisors, providing instructions, responses to reports and information about upcoming training or policy changes. (1)
  • Read magazines or other computer publications to see what is new on the market. (2)
  • Read documents on the Internet for information on training, software and hardware. (3)
  • Consult written system documentation which outlines contract history to gain a fuller understanding of contract requirements. (3)
  • Refer to manuals to learn about specific features of computer network systems, hardware, software and related equipment. (4)
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  • Write email messages to convey information. (1)
  • Write notes to yourself or other operators about backup, system or production problems. (1)
  • Write in logs to record problems with machines, the arrival time of orders and project start and completion times. (1)
  • Take notes while talking to customers on the phone about their computer problems, to remember what was said, organize information and document the conversation. (2)
  • Write letters to respond to requests, questions and complaints or to ask for information. (2)
  • Fill out incident reports describing incidents such as a system crash. (2)
  • Write documentation or procedures manuals explaining the use of computer systems and new equipment for users who have limited computer knowledge. (3)
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Document Use
  • Read lists of duties to complete. (1)
  • Read displays and indicators on printers and computer monitors. (1)
  • Read labels on magnetic tapes, computer disks and software packages. (1)
  • Read and prepare lists of what each user is entitled to access on the system. (1)
  • Use staff phone lists to call users. (1)
  • Complete work log and timesheet. (1)
  • Read point-form descriptions of work in progress. (1)
  • Read computer logs of system run times and status reports. (2)
  • Read schedules outlining which programs to run on specific days. (2)
  • Complete user request or service report forms. This involves entering such information as the user name and number, position title, present type of set up and access and the request. These forms are ranked by priority and actions completed are recorded after each job. (2)
  • Interpret troubleshooting charts and diagnostic tables in computer manuals. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Use communications software. For example, use the Internet. (2)
  • Use a database. For example, record client or patient information. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, document troubleshooting steps. (3)
  • Use graphics software. For example, prepare illustrations and flowcharts of processes. (3)
  • Use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. For example, prepare invoices. (3)
  • Use a spreadsheet. For example, use spreadsheets when preparing cost estimates for a project. (3)
  • Order and install systems; maintain software and hardware for users, train users and troubleshoot for them; help or be responsible for network control functions; operate consoles of host computers, which may support national or regional online users; and use mainframes. (4)
  • Do programming or systems and software design. (4)
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Oral Communication
  • Direct console operators and respond to questions from network operators. (1)
  • Interact with users in person or on the telephone to explain how to use software or hardware, to troubleshoot problems, to respond to requests for set up or to handle their questions and complaints. (2)
  • Interact with co-workers or supervisors to receive and prioritize tasks, to clarify procedures and to discuss projects, schedules and progress. (2)
  • Participate in staff meetings to discuss new equipment, procedures or developments, to evaluate the process or to make suggestions for users. (2)
  • Present information to employees and customers at training sessions to ensure they can use the systems. This may include hands-on exercises and demonstrations. (3)
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Money Math
  • Calculate prices and taxes for a project invoice. (2)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Control inventory and cost-recovery of supplies by preparing and sending journal vouchers to accounting and user departments. (1)
  • Schedule production runs. (2)
  • Monitor the network schedule and make adjustments to production runs as necessary to ensure that the network system response time is maintained. This requires consideration of many variables including network system capabilities, user priorities and system scheduling. (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Produce statements to compare how much revenue each company is producing, what services they are providing to customers and where possible changes should be made. (2)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the quantity of supplies used and the quantity required when reordering materials. (1)
  • Estimate run times based on preset formulae and a prediction of the potential downtime for machine adjustment. (2)
  • Estimate the cost of a project. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Computer operators work according to a plan set by their supervisors. They co-ordinate their duties with co-workers, taking into account factors such as the length of the job, deadlines and other work. Interruptions caused by machine malfunctions, phone calls, specific assignments from the supervisor and user requests are frequent, requiring adjustment to the work plan and the resetting of priorities. Their flexibility is limited to some extent by urgent duties which cannot be delayed, such as printing bills. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Decide when to refer a help line call to an analyst or a technician. (1)
  • Decide how much training different user groups require. (2)
  • Make decisions about the scheduling of program runs, taking into consideration priorities, the length of jobs, project deadlines, network capabilities and disruptions due to special user requests. (3)
  • Decide what procedures to follow when a system crashes. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • A customer is unable to convert a document from one version of WordPerfect to another. Show the customer how to save the file correctly. (1)
  • Users are experiencing problems with software, systems or other computer equipment. These problems can include printers jamming, users being unable to log on to a system, programs not running or networks running too slowly. Explore the problem and help find a solution or refer the user to other technical support staff. (2)
  • Customers' orders have been delayed. Determine if the delay is with the application or with the printing and hasten to get the job back on schedule. (2)
  • Inexperienced users have caused system errors. Analyse what happened using knowledge of the information flow of these systems and decide how to correct the error. (2)
  • Frustrated users have been denied access to their email because a computer virus has infected the system. Calm the customers and seek solutions. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Talk with supervisors to determine the appropriate access for a user. (1)
  • Find information about a computer program from the staff software specialist. (2)
  • Refer to documents, handbooks, on-line documentation (such as "readme files," help files or portable document files) or the Internet to solve specific problems with operating systems or software. (3)
  • Conduct research on new hardware or software, using a variety of sources, such as manuals, the Internet and other professionals. (3)
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