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Computer Operator
Computer operators help shift leaders in ensuring that all work allocated to the shift is processed efficiently, timeously and according to schedule. They have to clean the equipment such as printers, to ensure that no job failures arise due to dirt or dust.

Operators communicate with computers by means of keyboards. They should have an understanding of the system they are using, so that they can check the correctness of all operations and take all necessary precautions to ensure that no mistakes are made. In cases of malfunctioning, operators must find the causes, correct them or call service technicians. They also keep a record of the work done on the computer and prepare reports on its use.

Computer operators are responsible for the efficient, accurate operation of the system. They feed in information either via the keyboard or tapes as computer input and, if necessary, collect output as it emerges from the printer.

Increasingly complex hardware and software, together with the increasing use of remote terminals connected via telephone networks to a central computer, have broadened the scope for computer operators.

Computer operators may specialize with regard to equipment manufacturer. They must be able to understand written technical instructions and be able to work quickly and accurately.

With experience and ability, computer operators may advance to supervisors. To advance to programmer or systems analyst, however, computer operators need additional training, experience and ability.

Satisfying Aspects
- keeping things running smoothly
- good employment opportunities

Demanding aspects
- working under pressure
- having to sometimes work long hours and shifts

A computer operator should:
- have an aptitude for solving mechanical problems;
- be able to work independently as well as with others;
- be able to concentrate and work for long hours without getting frustrated or tired;
- have good judgement and be able to think logically;
- be thorough, patient and responsible;
- have good eye-hand coordination;
- have keyboard skills;
- be able to understand written technical instructions;
- be able to work quickly and accurately.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate for a diploma course

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics, Information Technology, Computer Applications

Diploma: Relevant diplomas are offered by most
universities of technology - CUT, TUT, VUT, UJ, CPUT, UNISA.

Certificate: Relevant certificates offered by most FET colleges

Computer operators can also receive in-service training. Apart from the mechanical skills that are needed, they will usually be trained towards a thorough understanding of the organization owning the machine and an understanding of the operating systems of the machine. To keep up with developments in computers, short courses are frequently offered by suppliers of computers.

Computer operators with one year's experience, can write the Computer Operator Proficiency Examination (COPE) of the Computer Users' Council. This certificate enables them to obtain professional recognition in the computer industry.

- commercial and industrial organizations
- research institutions
- education and government departments

The Director
Computer Users’ Council of South Africa
P O Box 1688
Halfway House, 1685
Tel: (011) 805-3151/2