What Does a Computer Technician Do? (And Salary Information)
Updated February 3, 2023
If you're interested in a career as a computer technician, it's important to review the job duties they handle and learn more about their typical work environments. This can help you ensure you're qualified for the role and pursue additional education or training if necessary. Understanding the role and its responsibilities can allow you to determine if it's the right career path for you based on your talents and interests.
In this article, we describe what a computer technician does, list tips to help you pursue this position, explore how much they typically earn and provide an example of a job description for this role.
What does a computer technician do?
Computer technicians provide computer and network support within businesses, government offices and nonprofit organizations. Third-party computer support businesses may also hire them because of their skills and expertise. 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
How much do computer technicians earn?
The national average salary for computer technicians is $25,048 per year. However, salaries can vary according to your geographic location, work history, experience level and the scope of responsibilities for the individual role. If you're interested in pursuing this role, earning relevant certifications and professional experience can help you increase how much you earn.
Computer technician requirements
There are several qualifications required for a career as a computer technician. They include:
Computer technicians typically possess 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.
IT degrees include a substantial amount of specialized training, allowing students to prepare 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.
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 a candidate has 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.
Computer technician work environment
Computer technicians typically work in office environments with the following characteristics:
Office work typically performed while 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
Computer technician job description example
Here's an example of a job description for a computer technician:
At Orange Grove Medical Center, we're seeking a computer technician to join their hardworking IT staff. This person can expect to be responsible for installing, configuring and maintaining computer work stations and local area networks. We also expect them to troubleshoot and resolve problems as they arise. The computer technician handles responding to computer questions and training on the operation of network applications and equipment as necessary. They may receive additional job duties as required.
We require candidates to have a minimum of an Associate's Degree in Computer Science or a related field and one year of experience installing and supporting local area networks and workstations. We prefer candidates who hold software certifications.
How to become a computer technician
If you're interested in a role as a computer technicians, here are some tips you can follow to pursue this career:
1. Pursue an education
Search for computer technician positions in your area and determine the minimum level of education required for the roles. Companies typically require a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in computer science, information systems or another closely related field. Some employers, however, may require only an associate's degree. Try to obtain the minimum education required to qualify for your prospective role to meet an employer's expectations.
2. Gain relevant professional experience
To gain relevant professional experience, consider applying for internship opportunities while you're in school or upon graduation. In addition to gaining hands-on-learning, this can also allow you to connect with other IT professionals in your area. The individuals in your professional network may be able to help you generate employment opportunities when you're ready to apply for a role in your field.
3. Earn relevant certifications
Although employers may not require them, hiring managers may look for candidates who possess relevant certifications. Companies may require individuals to have the A+ certification at a minimum, although some may require specific software certifications, including those offered by Microsoft. Review job openings in your area to identify the preferred certifications and contribute to your professional development.
4. Develop your role-related 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. It's important for computer technicians to 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: 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.
Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills include the ability to gather, analyze and process 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.
5. Update your resume
When you have acquired the experience, education and certifications required for the role, update your resume to highlight your credentials. 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.
Related: 11 Ways To Update Your Resume
Please note that the companies and certifications mentioned in this article aren't affiliated with Indeed.
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