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Computer Service Technician


Description

Though we have certainly entered a technological age, where computers are used in daily life for almost everything, only a small percentage of us are actually savvy enough to fix any glitches or tackle any problems that may arise when working with our computers. Luckily, we have computer service technicians, who we can call upon when the computers we rely so heavily on stop working the way we want them to.

These experts possess a background in electronics, but also know a lot about computers. This means that they can troubleshoot problems that arise, and can repair any internal systems malfunction, program problems or deconstruct and repair a computer or related technology. They also replace defective components on computers, items such as video or sound cards, which transmit signals betwen the computer and the monitor; hard drives, which store data; and network cards, which allow communication over the network. When they work for a company, they perform routine maintenance on the computers, like cleaning disk drives or dusting the insides and outsides of the computers. They may also sell and install computers and various systems, and then work as the repairer if the user encounters trouble.

Not only do computer service technicians need to be familiar with the actual makeup of the computer, but they also have to understand some of the software. They don't write software programs, but sometimes they install and upgrade existing programs and systems. They also need to be able to identify if the user's problems stem from faulty programs or internal systems, or whether it is the actual hardware that is malfunctioning. Computer service technicians should be able to tackle both issues for the client, eliminating any factors that prevent the computer from running smoothly.
 
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
n/a
 
Median Salary:
$39,603
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
n/a

  Interests and Skills  
Interested in becoming a computer service technician? Along with a thorough knowledge of PCs, computer service technicians need to be organized and able to balance a number of pressing projects at once. They need good math skills, and strong logical thinking skills. They should be detail-oriented, and enjoy working with their hands. Computer service technicians need to be calm, patient and respectful of others, regardless of their circumstances or questions. They must also have good listening skills, and be able to ask questions to gather additional information.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Troubleshoot issues as they arise
  • Collect information, research solutions, and analyze possible resolutions to issues
  • Test and implement new solutions
  • Evaluate resolutions for ways to prevent future problems
  • Place follow-up calls to users about ongoing issues
  • Care for all computer-related equipment, including workstations and printers
  • Deconstruct and repair troublesome hardware, including computers, monitors, printers and security systems
  • The typical day for a computer service technician will involve a lot of working with both computers and people. The computer service technician will ask a lot of questions about the problem, and experiment with the computer to try and find a quick, effective solution. Computer service technicians don't travel much, working from home or an office; however, if they work at a company they travel throughout the building, from computer to computer. They work in small teams of computer specialists, and alongside the workers in the company.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Computer service technicians can work for computerized industries, computer companies or vendors, or on staff with companies or government agencies with a large number of employees who use computers. They can work for an agency that addresses many computer related issues for a variety of clients. They can also work independently, selling, installing and servicing computers.
  • They can work in comfortable offices, or from home. They work in small teams of computer specialists; however, with smaller companies they may perform a number of tasks and work alone.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Computer service technicians can go on to become help desk specialists, PC support specialists, or PC administrators. They can provide systems or network support or sell programs and computers. They may become involved in equipment testing and automated test systems. They can become IT instructors, or write information books and articles for people learning to use PCs on their own.
 

  Educational Paths  
In order to become a computer service technician, individuals should take a college program in electronics, computer systems technology or other related field. It is also a good idea to consider some courses in psychology and communication to ensure good relationships with clients.

The Computing Technology Industry Association offers something called A+ Certification, an industry-wide standard that certifies the competency of service technicians. This is especially helpful to technicians who want to go into business for themselves. The certification tests are specialized for Windows/DOS and Macintosh computers.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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