Computer Support Specialists

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Computer Support Techs

Computer Support Specialists


Education

What’s Needed:

  • While some may require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer engineering associate’s degrees are satisfactory for most mid-level positions within the field. Those who work in customer-support roles may require even less formal education.
  • Certification programs are available from many community colleges vocational schools and online universities.
  • Most employers require newly-hired technicians to participate in on-the-job training that may last for three to six months.
  • Many employers also require periodic continuing-education classes given the fast-paced changes in computing technologies.

What you study:

Computer support technicians typically study the following subjects in high school and college.

  • Computer programming
  • Computer science
  • Statistics
  • Calculus
  • Systems and network analysis
  • Web design/engineering

What courses you’ll take

Below are examples of courses that you’ll likely take as a Computer support specialist student.

Course Studies Purpose
Customer Service Skills Application of customer service concepts in a computer support setting; understanding customer wants and needs; ?soft? customer communication skills; handling difficult customers; the role of the help desk within the overall technical support department; basic overview of hardware software networking and the Internet support. Familiarize students with core concepts of professional customer service and with the main areas in which computer support specialists provide customer assistance.
Hardware Repair and Maintenance Terms concepts and functions of personal computers both as stand-alone machines and as components of a network; diagnosing troubleshooting disassembling replacing and?repairing the hardware components of a computer. Enable students to perform routine maintenance on computer hardware and to diagnose and repair hardware problems.
Software Applications Common office and productivity software such as Microsoft Word Excel and PowerPoint; using software tools to con?gure computers and networks to back up data to protect against viruses and other online threats and to set up simple networks. Prepare students to work with common types of software interfaces and provide technical support for software issues.
Web Design Creation and publication of simple web pages using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)?Extensible HTML (XHTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS); Internet connections and protocols; web browsers and possibilities for customizing them; search engines; Web 2.0 applications. Provide a grasp of basic web design principles and standards and help them troubleshoot Internet-related problems.
Network Communications Establishing and maintaining connections among multiple computers via a local area network (LAN) and a wide area network (WAN); industry standards for network communication and security; Internet Protocol (IP) addressing; setting up network servers; network-related hardware such as routers modems and network cables. Introduce the most widely used types of computer networks and enable students to resolve network complaints.
IT Project Management History of project management in information technology work; creating and developing an IT project; planning scheduling and budgeting the project; software tools for project management; working with other IT team members in a project management framework. Develop awareness of the support specialist’s duties on an IT project; develop team-based thinking for IT support environments.


Video Overview

A short look at the work of computer support techs. Slightly outdated but still a helpful overview. Created for the US Department of Labor.


Certifications and Licensing

There are no formal state-level licensing requirements for computer support technicians. In fact there are few reputable trade associations or certification-issuing organizations within the field. However many manufacturers require the computer support technicians who work with their software and devices to take product-specific certification courses as a quality-control measure. When a technician completes such a course he or she receives a certificate that demonstrates mastery of the pertinent product. In the eyes of many employers these certifications are attractive and may warrant the payment of a salary premium. Alternatively many employers issue certificates to individuals who complete certain on-the-job or continuing-education training programs.


Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

Most computer support technicians must shoulder full-time workloads of 40 or more hours per week. In addition these hours are often irregular. Since most technology-intensive businesses require someone to be available around the clock to attend to computer-related emergencies some technicians may regularly work evening or overnight shifts.

Work location:

Most computer support technicians work on-site. Typical work environments include the IT departments of major businesses government agencies and financial institutions. Others work in dedicated facilities administered by specialized computer-support firms. A growing number of consumer-focused computer support technicians now work from home. These at-home workers may adhere to more traditional work schedules.


Recommended Websites

The following resources may be useful for those who wish to become computer support technicians:

  • Careers.org — This database provides useful information about the typical computer support technician’s earnings education requirements career track and daily workload. It also contains links to educational resources and access to a full jobs board.
  • Virginia Employment Commission — This exhaustive resource describes the daily responsibilities of computer support technicians in great detail. It also provides standard information about the educational qualifications and certifications necessary to succeed in the field. Although its job-search feature is specific to Virginia it represents a great starting point for aspiring computer support technicians.
  • iSeek Careers — This resource provides a complete overview of the computer support technician field including wage information educational requirements and job-growth prospects. It also has links to similar career fields and useful educational tools. However its job-search feature is regional in nature.
  • U.S. Department of Labor — The U.S. Department of Labor’s fact sheet on computer support technicians provides median salary information detailed job-duties descriptions and important information about education and licensing. This is a great place for any aspiring computer support technician to start.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

State City / Region Typical Salary Salary Range Job Count % of All Jobs
AK Anchorage $47110 $33K – $79K 730 0.42%
AK Fairbanks $51530 $39K – $74K 110 0.31%
AL Anniston – Oxford $44790 $34K – $59K 120 0.28%
AL Auburn – Opelika $45860 $21K – $69K 420 0.87%
AL Birmingham – Hoover $46000 $31K – $73K 1840 0.38%
AL Decatur $48520 $22K – $60K 60 0.11%
AL Dothan $37110 $27K – $63K 100 0.18%
AL Florence – Muscle Shoals $37090 $23K – $52K 80 0.16%
AL Huntsville $41600 $26K – $69K 1960 0.97%
AL Mobile $34890 $26K – $53K 1100 0.65%
AL Montgomery $41770 $27K – $68K 680 0.43%
AL Tuscaloosa $36840 $22K – $60K 120 0.14%
AR Fayetteville – Springdale – Rogers $41150 $26K – $61K 620 0.31%
AR Fort Smith $36930 $20K – $67K 180 0.16%
AR Hot Springs $30140 $24K – $48K 80 0.22%
AR Jonesboro $29370 $18K – $48K 100 0.20%
AR Little Rock – North Little Rock – Conway $41700 $29K – $62K 1110 0.33%
AR Pine Bluff $37580 $22K – $77K 100 0.28%
AZ Flagstaff $38690 $25K – $56K 140 0.25%
AZ Lake Havasu City $ Kingman $30600 $25K – $49K 70 0.16%
AZ Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale $44530 $27K – $77K 8280 0.48%
AZ Prescott $38630 $18K – $61K 110 0.20%
AZ Tucson $46270 $28K – $67K 1590 0.46%
AZ Yuma $38550 $19K – $55K 160 0.30%
CA Bakersfield – Delano $51110 $29K – $77K 820 0.30%
CA Chico $52990 $28K – $74K 250 0.38%
CA El Centro $41760 $27K – $55K 90 0.18%
CA Fresno $43400 $26K – $67K 620 0.20%
CA Hanford – Corcoran $48790 $34K – $69K 40 0.12%
CA Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area) $47500 $30K – $77K 13340 0.34%
CA Madera – Chowchilla $55070 $33K – $89K 70 0.19%
CA Merced $36660 $29K – $65K 150 0.25%
CA Modesto $52370 $29K – $75K 330 0.22%
CA Napa $48350 $39K – $83K 120 0.20%
CA Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area) $56300 $32K – $94K 4630 0.48%
CA Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura $50190 $28K – $86K 930 0.32%
CA Redding $37230 $31K – $55K 120 0.21%
CA Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario $47310 $27K – $71K N/A N/A
CA Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville $56880 $37K – $86K 3170 0.39%
CA Salinas $54270 $33K – $86K 500 0.32%
CA San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos $45480 $29K – $71K 5370 0.43%
CA San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area) $64280 $36K – $95K 5670 0.57%
CA San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara $66040 $37K – $118K 8280 0.92%
CA San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles $39650 $27K – $68K 430 0.43%
CA Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area) $54670 $33K – $81K 6700 0.47%
CA Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta $53490 $32K – $75K 560 0.34%
CA Santa Cruz – Watsonville $49000 $33K – $73K 250 0.30%
CA Santa Rosa – Petaluma $54540 $34K – $86K 460 0.27%
CA Stockton $46770 $25K – $77K 530 0.27%
CA Vallejo – Fairfield $57240 $39K – $90K 200 0.16%
CA Visalia – Porterville $43210 $26K – $61K 220 0.17%
CA Yuba City $46220 $29K – $71K 70 0.18%
CO Boulder $55880 $33K – $88K 1560 0.98%
CO Colorado Springs $47350 $29K – $78K 1670 0.69%
CO Denver – Aurora – Broomfield $54010 $34K – $81K 8000 0.65%
CO Fort Collins – Loveland $48580 $28K – $94K 640 0.48%
CO Grand Junction $50040 $32K – $69K 90 0.15%
CO Greeley $45550 $30K – $70K 240 0.30%
CO Pueblo $43380 $19K – $59K 120 0.22%
CT Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $56560 $35K – $92K 2400 0.58%
CT Danbury $49700 $26K – $90K 180 0.27%
CT Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford $57440 $37K – $100K 3730 0.67%
CT New Haven $54300 $38K – $77K 1070 0.40%
CT Norwich – New London $49590 $34K – $83K 340 0.27%
CT Waterbury $50470 $35K – $65K 150 0.23%
DC Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area) $56790 $33K – $92K 15950 0.68%
DE Dover $44060 $24K – $61K 90 0.16%
DE Wilmington (Metro Area) $52960 $33K – $80K 1710 0.53%
FL Cape Coral – Fort Myers $39220 $31K – $59K 280 0.14%
FL Crestview – Fort Walton Beach – Destin $36100 $23K – $58K 170 0.24%
FL Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach $35680 $22K – $56K 380 0.25%
FL Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area) $39270 $25K – $70K 2770 0.39%
FL Gainesville $36340 $26K – $60K 320 0.27%
FL Jacksonville $42770 $29K – $65K 1860 0.32%
FL Lakeland – Winter Haven $41930 $28K – $62K 510 0.27%
FL Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area) $43160 $28K – $71K 3270 0.33%
FL Naples – Marco Island $38770 $27K – $61K 240 0.21%
FL North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota $38320 $26K – $68K 570 0.24%
FL Ocala $36030 $24K – $54K 210 0.24%
FL Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford $40650 $25K – $67K 4560 0.45%
FL Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville $42760 $25K – $71K 820 0.43%
FL Panama City – Lynn Haven – Panama City Beach $42630 $25K – $59K 110 0.16%
FL Pensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent $33010 $24K – $54K 490 0.32%
FL Port St. Lucie $40560 $25K – $75K 270 0.22%
FL Punta Gorda $30080 $18K – $56K 60 0.16%
FL Sebastian – Vero Beach $28490 $17K – $49K 100 0.22%
FL Tallahassee $36020 $26K – $53K 810 0.52%
FL Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater $43750 $27K – $67K 4880 0.43%
FL West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area) $45100 $29K – $74K 1510 0.30%
GA Albany $41030 $26K – $70K 120 0.20%
GA Athens – Clarke County $30140 $21K – $49K 190 0.25%
GA Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta $46270 $27K – $74K 14740 0.65%
GA Augusta – Richmond County $43820 $25K – $80K 530 0.26%
GA Brunswick $37500 $31K – $56K 90 0.23%
GA Columbus $35810 $25K – $54K 280 0.26%
GA Dalton $41040 $31K – $62K 180obr> 160 0.23%
GA Hinesville – Fort Stewart $49700 $29K – $68K 40 0.24%
GA Macon $34790 $24K – $55K 320 0.34%
GA Rome $37180 $25K – $47K 80 0.22%
GA Savannah $43320 $28K – $69K N/A N/A
GA Valdosta $36830 $25K – $56K 130 0.25%
GA Warner Robins $46510 $28K – $70K 210 0.37%
HI Honolulu $46290 $30K – $76K 1270 0.29%
IA Ames $52120 $29K – $70K 120 0.30%
IA Cedar Rapids $43360 $30K – $60K 330 0.24%
IA Davenport – Moline – Rock Island $34940 $25K – $56K 920 0.52%
IA Des Moines – West Des Moines $45080 $26K – $68K 1160 0.36%
IA Dubuque $44780 $28K – $70K 370 0.66%
IA Iowa City $49440 $34K – $68K 320 0.38%
IA Sioux City $23020 $20K – $42K 420 0.60%
IA Waterloo – Cedar Falls $44100 $32K – $69K 140 0.16%
ID Boise City – Nampa $30760 $20K – $62K 1260 0.48%
ID Coeur d’Alene ID $33610 $22K – $52K 210 0.40%
ID Idaho Falls $40220 $23K – $67K 120 0.25%
ID Lewiston $35860 $25K – $54K 70 0.31%
ID Pocatello $28380 $21K – $50K 40 0.12%
IL Bloomington – Normal $46570 $31K – $73K 410 0.47%
IL Champaign – Urbana $39250 $25K – $71K 240 0.26%
IL Chicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area) $48110 $30K – $83K 11590 0.32%
IL Danville $32950 $22K – $53K 40 0.14%
IL Decatur $24310 $20K – $58K 120 0.25%
IL Kankakee – Bradley $43440 $31K – $73K 60 0.16%
IL Lake County – Kenosha County (Metro Area) $61740 $35K – $108K 2240 0.60%
IL Peoria $39040 $19K – $70K 430 0.24%
IL Rockford $36690 $25K – $58K 160 0.11%
IL Springfield $48530 $27K – $107K 270 0.25%
IN Anderson $39040 $28K – $67K 60 0.15%
IN Bloomington $37840 $26K – $56K 190 0.25%
IN Columbus $44120 $32K – $61K 180 0.40%
IN Elkhart – Goshen $37880 $23K – $60K 160 0.15%
IN Evansville $36360 $22K – $56K 360 0.21%
IN Fort Wayne $39780 $24K – $65K 650 0.32%
IN Gary (Metro Area) $33070 $18K – $56K 460 0.17%
IN Indianapolis – Carmel $42060 $27K – $66K 3030 0.34%
IN Kokomo $29080 $17K – $46K 60 0.15%
IN Lafayette $33720 $22K – $57K 190 0.22%
IN Michigan City – La Porte $35060 $26K – $44K 70 0.16%
IN Muncie $42980 $30K – $69K 140 0.32%
IN South Bend – Mishawaka $37180 $26K – $56K 360 0.29%
IN Terre Haute $46490 $31K – $69K N/A N/A
KS Lawrence $32840 $18K – $48K 150 0.32%
KS Manhattan $42580 $25K – $64K 150 0.30%
KS Topeka $38200 $25K – $54K 440 0.42%
KS Wichita $34890 $21K – $57K 1050 0.37%
KY Bowling Green $38990 $28K – $59K 110 0.20%
KY Elizabethtown $36640 $25K – $62K 110 0.24%
KY Lexington – Fayette $31740 $18K – $57K 1670 0.68%
KY Louisville – Jefferson County $43410 $29K – $67K 1730 0.29%
KY Owensboro $38370 $22K – $52K 100 0.20%
LA Alexandria $40120 $27K – $67K 170 0.27%
LA Baton Rouge $49090 $31K – $77K 1160 0.32%
LA Houma – Bayou Cane – Thibodaux $38360 $29K – $61K 100 0.11%
LA Lafayette $45810 $32K – $77K 220 0.15%
LA Lake Charles $38410 $26K – $53K 70 0.08%
LA Monroe $43460 $27K – $61K 100 0.13%
LA New Orleans – Metairie – Kenner $45120 $31K – $62K 1190 0.23%
LA Shreveport – Bossier City $40730 $27K – $66K 310 0.17%
MA Barnstable Town $47970 $25K – $77K 160 0.17%
MA Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area) $60270 $41K – $91K 11640 0.68%
MA Brockton – Bridgewater – Easton (Metro Area) $44880 $23K – $70K 170 0.20%
MA Framingham (Metro Area) $54240 $34K – $95K 1340 0.85%
MA Haverhill – North Andover – Amesbury (Metro Area) $46370 $29K – $71K 190 0.24%
MA Lawrence – Methuen – Salem (Metro Area) $49130 $28K – $86K 130 0.23%
MA Leominster – Fitchburg – Gardner $46440 $28K – $76K 120 0.26%
MA Lowell – Billerica – Chelmsford (Metro Area) $49650 $29K – $70K 670 0.57%
MA New Bedford $49830 $36K – $72K 80 0.13%
MA Peabody (Metro Area) $55080 $34K – $75K 190 0.19%
MA Pittsfield $41690 $29K – $49K N/A N/A
MA Springfield $46190 $27K – $73K 930 0.32%
MA Taunton – Norton – Raynham (Metro Area) $48110 $27K – $70K 100 0.24%
MA Worcester $46390 $27K – $75K 920 0.38%
MD Baltimore – Towson $49100 $23K – $84K 6070 0.48%
MD Bethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area) $53760 $33K – $96K 3300 0.59%
MD Cumberland $35050 $23K – $56K 130 0.35%
MD Hagerstown – Martinsburg $44420 $29K – $65K 420 0.43%
MD Salisbury $41970 $27K – $73K 180 0.36%
ME Bangor $41720 $23K – $60K 170 0.27%
ME Lewiston – Auburn $44330 $23K – $58K 100 0.22%
ME Portland – South Portland – Biddeford $43860 $25K – $61K 750 0.38%
MI Ann Arbor $42050 $19K – $76K 1710 0.88%
MI Battle Creek $37020 $23K – $53K 140 0.26%
MI Bay City $43730 $27K – $56K 60 0.19%
MI Detroit – Livonia – Dearborn (Metro Area) $44850 $29K – $77K 2920 0.42%
MI Flint $38100 $23K – $55K 820 0.64%
MI Grand Rapids – Wyoming $44490 $29K – $73K 1530 0.40%
MI Holland – Grand Haven $43610 $32K – $60K 290 0.28%
MI Jackson $30810 $19K – $47K 270 0.52%
MI Kalamazoo – Portage $38160 $29K – $60K 380 0.29%
MI Lansing – East Lansing $46410 $28K – $67K 1210 0.62%
MI Monroe $45650 $28K – $69K 60 0.17%
MI Muskegon – Norton Shores $50080 $26K – $80K 140 0.24%
MI Niles – Benton Harbor $34870 $18K – $57K 170 0.30%
MI Saginaw – Saginaw Township North $47350 $28K – $85K 280 0.34%
MI Warren – Troy – Farmington Hills (Metro Area) $44360 $27K – $77K 7150 0.67%
MN Duluth $49470 $32K – $69K 360 0.29%
MN Minneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington $49600 $34K – $74K 7970 0.46%
MN Rochester $44430 $24K – $77K 630 0.63%
MN St. Cloud $44260 $31K – $60K 380 0.39%
MO Cape Girardeau – Jackson $39820 $23K – $61K 130 0.30%
MO Columbia $31300 $25K – $56K 530 0.61%
MO Jefferson City $37620 $23K – $64K 360 0.51%
MO Joplin $35450 $18K – $55K 210 0.27%
MO Kansas City $46420 $28K – $75K 5550 0.57%
MO Springfield $34500 $20K – $62K 1050 0.56%
MO St. Joseph $41250 $23K – $67K 160 0.31%
MO St. Louis $45940 $29K – $74K 6950 0.55%
MS Gulfport – Biloxi $35390 $25K – $53K 220 0.21%
MS Hattiesburg $29820 $22K – $47K 150 0.27%
MS Jackson $39320 $27K – $64K 810 0.32%
MS Pascagoula $34280 $18K – $52K 90 0.17%
MT Billings $40290 $28K – $58K 390 0.48%
MT Great Falls $23890 $20K – $42K 270 0.78%
MT Missoula $36600 $22K – $58K 220 0.40%
NC Asheville $39780 $25K – $58K 390 0.23%
NC Burlington $55010 $34K – $107K 370 0.67%
NC Charlotte – Gastonia – Rock Hill $49390 $31K – $88K 4670 0.54%
NC Durham – Chapel Hill $57260 $35K – $94K 2920 1.07%
NC Fayetteville $44710 $28K – $70K 360 0.28%
NC Goldsboro $40900 $26K – $62K 130 0.35%
NC Greensboro – High Point $45430 $28K – $70K 1560 0.45%
NC Greenville $45710 $25K – $66K 340 0.46%
NC Hickory – Lenoir – Morganton $38390 $26K – $65K 220 0.15%
NC Jacksonville $45160 $27K – $85K 160 0.37%
NC Raleigh – Cary $49620 $29K – $82K 3890 0.76%
NC Rocky Mount $38790 $28K – $79K 120 0.21%
NC Wilmington $43500 $27K – $60K 510 0.38%
NC Winston – Salem $43400 $29K – $69K 820 0.41%
ND Bismarck $35660 $26K – $55K 410 0.63%
ND Fargo $40070 $23K – $58K 990 0.79%
ND Grand Forks $43620 $29K – $60K 130 0.27%
NE Lincoln $40480 $31K – $63K 940 0.58%
NE Omaha – Council Bluffs $46090 $31K – $72K 1800 0.40%
NH Manchester $47590 $32K – $75K 470 0.47%
NH Nashua (Metro Area) $46320 $32K – $73K 540 0.41%
NH Portsmouth $51450 $31K – $74K 340 0.60%
NH Rochester – Dover $45320 $33K – $68K 260 0.50%
NJ Atlantic City – Hammonton $44150 $30K – $64K 340 0.25%
NJ Camden (Metro Area) $47150 $28K – $73K 1590 0.32%
NJ Edison – New Brunswick (Metro Area) $47220 $32K – $79K 4800 0.49%
NJ Newark – Union (Metro Area) $50880 $34K – $77K 3640 0.38%
NJ Ocean City $58390 $43K – $86K 30 0.08%
NJ Trenton – Ewing $57790 $39K – $80K 1080 0.50%
NJ Vineland – Millville – Bridgeton $53750 $27K – $90K 120 0.21%
NM Albuquerque $42640 $31K – $68K 2040 0.56%
NM Farmington $41280 $19K – $60K 100 0.20%
NM Las Cruces $37590 $21K – $60K 190 0.29%
NM Santa Fe $50130 $34K – $74K 290 0.49%
NV Las Vegas – Paradise $42400 $26K – $68K 1730 0.21%
NV Reno – Sparks $44290 $29K – $60K 540 0.29%
NY Albany – Schenectady – Troy $44590 $27K – $70K 2140 0.50%
NY Binghamton $39920 $26K – $63K 310 0.29%
NY Buffalo – Niagara Falls $39080 $26K – $63K 2630 0.49%
NY Elmira $42160 $18K – $60K 70 0.17%
NY Glens Falls $41550 $28K – $58K 90 0.17%
NY Ithaca $41460 $32K – $62K 170 0.35%
NY Kingston $51580 $35K – $69K 170 0.30%
NY Nassau – Suffolk (Metro Area) $51190 $33K – $83K 3910 0.32%
NY New York – White Plains – Wayne (Metro Area) $55510 $34K – $90K 21470 0.42%
NY Poughkeepsie – Newburgh – Middletown $51000 $33K – $89K 1100 0.46%
NY Rochester $44710 $31K – $66K 3060 0.62%
NY Syracuse $42770 $27K – $65K 1270 0.42%
NY Utica – Rome $44180 $29K – $67K 370 0.30%
OH Akron $41530 $21K – $63K 1220 0.39%
OH Canton – Massillon $35190 $25K – $56K 290 0.18%
OH Cincinnati – Middletown $44400 $29K – $66K 3780 0.39%
OH Cleveland – Elyria – Mentor $41470 $27K – $72K 3880 0.39%
OH Columbus $45070 $31K – $77K 4900 0.54%
OH Dayton $44430 $29K – $76K 1950 0.53%
OH Lima $38920 $23K – $72K 50 0.11%

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