Learn About Being a Computer Technician

By Indeed Editorial Team

December 10, 2019

What does a computer technician do?

Computer technicians provide computer and network support within businesses, government offices and nonprofit organizations. They may also work for third-party computer support businesses. Computer technicians are responsible for installing, maintaining and troubleshooting hardware and software as well as answering computer-related questions from employees and customers. Some of their specific responsibilities include:

  • Setting up new computer systems and installing, maintaining and troubleshooting the software

  • Ensuring that internet security software is up-to-date and running smoothly

  • Repairing hardware and servers as necessary

  • Testing, troubleshooting and implementing new software programs within a company

  • Providing technical assistance and identifying solutions as necessary

  • Participating in onboarding for new hires and training non-IT professionals on computers and software

Average salary

Salaries vary according to your geographic location, work history, experience level and the scope of responsibilities for the individual role.

  • Common wage in the U.S.: $15.53 per hour

  • Some wages range from $7.25 to $34.55 per hour.

Computer technician requirements

There are several qualifications required for a career as a computer technician. They include:

Education

Computer technicians are typically expected to hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, Computer Science or another closely related field. Some employers may accept candidates who have an associate’s degree.

In bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs, students looking to advance toward a computer technician position may study topics like network design, logic structures, security management, server administration and computer servicing, alongside their general education courses.

Training

Because IT degrees are highly specialized, students receive a substantial amount of training for the role of computer technician through their formal education. Some college programs also place students in internships so they can apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios. Internships also provide opportunities to connect with professionals in the IT industry who may be able to help create opportunities for future employment upon graduation.

Certifications

Though not always required, certifications are strongly preferred for roles in information technology. The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is one of the leading providers of certifications in the world and offers a wide variety of certificates verifying foundational skills as well as knowledge and abilities for networks and security. The core certifications it offers are:

  • CompTIA A+: This exam certifies that a candidate has the foundational IT skills across a variety of devices and operating systems.

  • CompTIA Network+: This exam certifies the essential skills that are needed to design, configure, maintain and troubleshoot wired and wireless devices. 

  • CompTIA Security+: This exam provides a benchmark for best security practices in IT networks and operations.

CompTIA also offers more advanced certifications to verify in-depth knowledge in areas such as cloud computing, cybersecurity and infrastructure. Organizations like Microsoft and Cisco also offer multiple certifications that are designed to prepare computer technicians to work with specific hardware or software.

Skills

Several skills can help you succeed in the role of a computer technician. They include:

Customer service skills

Customer service skills include patience, attentiveness, positivity and time-management. Computer technicians must be patient and maintain an optimistic attitude to help employees or customers in a timely manner and with an outcome that leaves the end-user feeling positive about the experience.

Communication skills

This refers to verbal and written communication as well as active listening. Computer technicians must be able to listen to the problems that employees or customers face and know what questions to ask to identify the cause.

They also need to be able to describe a solution in a way that a person without technical expertise can understand and implement. Writing skills are also useful in preparing email or webchat responses and written instructions. 

Problem-solving skills

These skills refer to the ability to gather, analyze and process the information to identify a resolution. To troubleshoot computer issues for customers and employees, computer technicians must frequently employ their problem-solving skills.

Technical skills

A computer technician must have in-depth knowledge of computer systems and networks to install, maintain and troubleshoot when problems arise.

Computer technician work environment

Computer technicians typically work in office environments with the following characteristics:

  • Extended hours sitting at a desk

  • Using computers, printers, phones and other office equipment

  • May be required to work after hours or on weekends

  • May have to pick up heavy equipment to perform hardware installations

  • Facilitating communication between the end-user and management

How to become a computer technician

These are the typical steps you should take to pursue a position as an assistant store manager:

1. Pursue an education

Search for computer technician positions in your area and determine the minimum level of education required for the roles. Most companies generally require at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Information Systems or another closely related field. Some employers, however, may require only an associate’s degree. Obtain the minimum education required to qualify for the role.

2. Obtain experience

To obtain practical experience after completing your formal education, consider applying for internship opportunities while you are in school or upon graduation. In addition to providing you with relevant experience, it will also allow you to connect with other IT professionals in your area who may be able to help you generate employment opportunities when you’re ready.

3. Acquire certifications

Most employers prefer candidates to hold professional certifications. Many require the A+ certification at a minimum, although some may require specific software certifications like those offered by Microsoft. Review job openings in your area to identify the preferred certifications. 

4. Update your resume

When you have acquired the necessary experience, education and certifications, update your resume. Include your highest level of education as well as certifications you have obtained and relevant work experience. For each position include the name of the business, your title and the responsibilities you held. For each role, highlight how you utilized skills that are transferrable to the role of a computer technician.

5. Apply for jobs

Search for computer technician openings in your area and identify which you are most qualified for based upon your education and experience levels. Apply using your updated resume as well as a cover letter that you have customized for each individual role.

Computer technician job description example

Orange Grove Medical Center is seeking a computer technician to join their hardworking IT staff. This person will be responsible for installing, configuring and maintaining computer work stations and local area networks. They will also be expected to troubleshoot and resolve problems as they arise. The computer technician will be responsible for responding to computer questions and training on the operation of network applications and equipment as necessary. Other duties may also be assigned as required.

Candidates are required to have a minimum of an Associate’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field as well as one year of experience installing and supporting local area networks and work stations. Candidates who hold software certifications are preferred.

Related careers

  • IT specialist

  • Help desk clerk

  • Network technician

  • CIO (Chief information officer)

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