When you become a computer technician you can look forward to a role that is challenging, shows plenty of prospects for growth, and also offers a varied job description.
If you have a passion for computing, a knack for all things technical, and excellent problem solving skills, then this might be the right occupation for you.
Computer technicians build computers and networks, maintain them to keep them in good working order, and will also troubleshoot and repair when things go wrong.
A computer technician may be employed by an IT company, other businesses, work as a consultant, or even be involved in education.
One of the great benefits of this role is that you have the choice of working in a great range of roles in different working environments.
Being qualified as a computer technician is also a practical skill to have.
Knowing how to fix problems when a computer stops doing what is should is inherently useful.
It’s sure to make you very popular amongst your friends and family who might not be as computer savvy as you!
Education Requirements to Become a Computer Technician
You can starting working towards being a computer technician when you are still in high school, if you have made the decision to pursue this as your career.
Enroll in math and science subjects, as well as IT subjects if your school offers them.
Look for a part time job that involves some work with computers, or simply volunteer in your school’s computer lab.
Some schools will allow you to enroll at a computer technician vocational course, so you can earn credit towards a degree while you are still in school.
After you have your high school diploma there are several pathways to which will qualify you to become a computer technician.
Your focus should be on achieving your A+ certification from the Computer Technology Industry Association, also known as CompTIA.
You can do this by either enrolling in a four year college degree with an emphasis on computer science, or attending a similar program at vocational or community college.
You’ll also need to pass a standard exam before you gain this certificate.
It’s an important qualification to have, and will be recognized by potential employers around the country.
After you have completed your education, you will need to look for an entry level role, likely for a large firm.
While employment prospects are good for those who are already employed in this field, like with many jobs, getting your start can be difficult.
Remember to be patient and keep trying.
Some computer technicians work in the retail sector with computers while trying to get a start in the industry.
This is a good way to gain experience and build your resume.
After you’re employed, you’ll also need to be aware that your education will need to be ongoing.
Technology evolves quickly, and working in the computer industry, you will need to be on the forefront of any changes and advances.
Computer Technician Job Description
Most of your work when you first become a computer technician will involve maintaining and repairing computers.
You may also be called on to install new systems, build computers, or update software or other applications.
Here are some of the duties of a computer technician:
- Repair computer hardware
- Repair desktops and networks
- Build new computers
- Build and maintain networks
- Build and maintain servers
- Troubleshoot problems with existing computer systems
- Communicating with colleagues and clients
Computer Technician Salary and Career Path
Most computer technicians start out in entry level roles, or gain work in the retail section of computer shops.
Once employed they may work in-house for a large company, be a traveling consultant helping people in their homes and businesses, or provide service over the phone working from an IT help desk.
An entry level salary for a computer technician is between $30,000 and $40,000 a year.
A computer technician with more than five years experience could expect to earn $50,000 or more per year.
Some computer technicians will move onto senior roles, become network technicians, or trainers within the industry.
Others may become consultants, while some may become self-employed and start their own businesses.
One of the great benefits of becoming qualified as a computer technician is that your work environment will be varied.
You’ll always get to meet new people from all walks of life.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a computer technician do?
Computer technicians identify and solve computer problems.
They resolve hardware, software, and network issues using their technical knowledge and a variety of tools.
Computer technicians may find employment at a business or government office or work for a third-party IT support company.
The hardware problems a technician can solve include repairing and replacing components and installing new power supplies.
Computer technicians may also solve issues such as OS installation, software installation, virus scanning, and fixing software problems.
They may also train non-professionals on how to use the computer and the software.
As a computer technician, you will need attention to detail, troubleshooting skills, dexterity, as well as customer service and communication skills.
How much does a computer technician make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for computer support specialists was $62,770 as of May 2018.
As a computer technician, you can make anywhere between less than $40,000 and more than $100,000, depending on your place of employment, skills, and expertise.
How much does it cost to become a computer technician?
One way of becoming a computer technician is by finishing a diploma or an associate’s degree program at a college or vocational school.
You can also choose to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field; although this is not necessary for entry-level employment it may help you find a better-paying job or get a promotion later in your career.
Several credentialing institutions offer certificates that help technicians prove their skills to clients or potential employers.
CompTIA, for example, is offering certifications in a variety of IT specialties, the A+ credential being the one that is designed for computer technicians.
Tuition costs and other expenses vary widely depending on the path you choose.
For example, an associate’s degree in information technology will cost you, on average, around $18,000 a year.
In order to take the CompTIA certification exam, you will have to pay a fee of $226 per test.
What is the demand for computer technicians?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for computer support specialists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028.
As computer equipment and software become increasingly complex, more computer technicians will be needed to fix computer problems and to assist non-IT users.
Having a bachelor’s degree and several years of experience can improve your job prospects.
How long does it take to become a computer technician?
Computer technicians typically hold at least a diploma or an associate’s degree in information technology, computer science or a related field.
These programs can typically be completed in less than 2 years.
A 4-year bachelor’s degree program can improve your job prospects and help you get a promotion later in your career.
Some computer technicians also hold a professional certification; one of the most common certificates is the A+ credential issued by CompTIA.