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Become A Computer Technician

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Working As A Computer Technician

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $45,195

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Technician Do

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Some, called computer network support specialists, support information technology (IT) employees within their organization. Others, called computer user support specialists, assist non-IT users who are having computer problems.

Duties

Computer network support specialists typically do the following:

  • Test and evaluate existing network systems
  • Perform regular maintenance to ensure that networks operate correctly
  • Troubleshoot local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Internet systems

Computer network support specialists, also called technical support specialists, usually work in their organization’s IT department. They help IT staff analyze, troubleshoot, and evaluate computer network problems. They play an important role in the routine maintenance of their organization’s networks such as performing file backups on the network. Maintenance can be performed daily, weekly, or monthly and is important to an organization’s disaster recovery efforts. Solving an IT problem promptly is important because organizations depend on their network systems. Network support specialists may assist the organization’s computer users through phone, email, or in-person visits. They often work under network and computer systems administrators, who handle more complex tasks.

Computer user support specialists typically do the following:

  • Pay attention to customers’ descriptions of their computer problems
  • Ask customers questions to properly diagnose the problem
  • Walk customers through the recommended problem-solving steps
  • Set up or repair computer equipment and related devices
  • Train users to work with new computer hardware or software, such as printers, word-processing software, and email
  • Provide other team members and managers in the organization with information about what gives customers the most trouble and about other concerns customers have

Computer user support specialists, also called help-desk technicians, usually provide technical help to non-IT computer users. They respond to phone and email requests for help. They can usually help users remotely, but they also may make site visits so that they can solve a problem in person.

Help-desk technicians may solve a range of problems that vary with the industry and the particular firm. Some technicians work for large software companies or for support service firms and must give instructions to business customers on how to use business-specific programs such as an electronic health records program used in hospitals or physicians’ offices. Sometimes they work with other technicians to resolve problems.

Other help-desk technicians work in call centers, answering simpler questions from non-business customers. They may walk customers through basic steps in re-establishing an Internet connection or troubleshooting household IT products such as a Wi-Fi router.

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How To Become A Computer Technician

Because of the wide range of skills used in different computer support jobs, there are many paths into the occupation. A bachelor’s degree is required for some computer support specialist positions, but an associate’s degree or postsecondary classes may be enough for others.

Education

Education requirements for computer support specialists vary. Computer user support specialist jobs require some computer knowledge, but not necessarily a postsecondary degree. Applicants who have taken some computer-related classes are often qualified. For computer network support specialists, many employers accept applicants with an associate’s degree, although some prefer applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

Large software companies that provide support to business users who buy their products or services often require a bachelor’s degree. Positions that are more technical are likely to require a degree in a field such as computer science, engineering, or information science, but for others, the applicant’s field of study is less important.

To keep up with changes in technology, many computer support specialists continue their education throughout their careers.

Certification

Certification programs are generally offered by vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates the knowledge of and best practices required by computer support specialists. Companies may require their computer support specialists to hold certifications in the products the companies use.

Advancement

Many computer support specialists advance to other information technology positions, such as network and computer systems administrators and software developers. Some become managers in the computer support services department. Some organizations provide paths for support specialists to move into other parts of the organization, such as sales. For more information, see the profiles on network and computer systems administrators and software developers.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Computer support specialists must be patient and sympathetic. They must often help people who are frustrated with the software or hardware they are trying to use.

Listening skills. Support workers must be able to understand the problems that their customers are describing and know when to ask questions to clarify the situation.

Problem-solving skills. Support workers must identify both simple and complex computer problems, analyze them, and solve them.

Speaking skills. Support workers must describe the solutions to computer problems in a way that a nontechnical person can understand.

Writing skills. Strong writing skills are useful for preparing instructions and email responses for employees and customers, as well as real-time web chat interactions.

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Computer Technician Career Paths

Computer Technician
Network Administrator Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Network Technician Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Field Technician Field Service Technician Technical Support Specialist
Information Technology Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Network Engineer Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Support Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Technical Support Specialist
Level Senior Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Help Desk Analyst Support Analyst
Senior Support Analyst
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Specialist Support Specialist
Senior Support Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Representative Technical Support Technician
Senior Support Technician
5 Yearsyrs
Technician Technical Support Specialist
Senior Technical Support Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Human Resources Coordinator Technical Recruiter
Technical Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technician Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Computer Analyst 3.2 years
LAN Technician 2.7 years
MIS Technician 2.6 years
Top Careers Before Computer Technician
Technician 6.7%
Internship 4.4%
Cashier 3.6%
Top Careers After Computer Technician
Technician 5.5%

Do you work as a Computer Technician?

Computer Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

84.1%

Female

14.1%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

58.3%

Hispanic or Latino

17.3%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

8.9%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.7%

French

7.9%

Arabic

4.1%

German

3.8%

Russian

3.6%

Mandarin

2.8%

Chinese

2.7%

Portuguese

2.5%

Japanese

2.2%

Hindi

2.1%

Cantonese

2.1%

Vietnamese

2.1%

Carrier

1.8%

Italian

1.3%

Urdu

1.1%

Korean

1.0%

Polish

0.8%

Turkish

0.8%

Tagalog

0.8%

Armenian

0.7%
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Computer Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

26.0%

Strayer University

7.0%

Kaplan University

5.7%

University of Maryland - University College

5.5%

Northern Virginia Community College

5.0%

ECPI University

4.9%

Western Governors University

4.8%

American InterContinental University

4.7%

University of Houston

3.9%

Colorado Technical University

3.6%

The Academy

3.3%

Community College of the Air Force

3.2%

More Tech Institute

3.1%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.1%

Capella University

2.9%

Pennsylvania State University

2.8%

University of Central Florida

2.7%

George Mason University

2.7%

Houston Community College

2.6%

Austin Community College

2.6%
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Majors

Computer Science

17.1%

Information Technology

13.5%

Computer Information Systems

13.3%

Business

10.8%

Computer Networking

9.6%

Electrical Engineering

6.8%

Computer Technical Support

3.4%

Information Systems

3.0%

Computer Engineering

2.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.6%

Criminal Justice

2.5%

Management Information Systems

2.1%

Computer Systems Security

1.9%

Management

1.6%

Communication

1.6%

Computer Engineering Technology

1.6%

General Studies

1.5%

Computer Programming

1.5%

Education

1.4%

Graphic Design

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

34.4%

Other

26.5%

Associate

23.4%

Masters

7.4%

Certificate

5.4%

Diploma

2.3%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.2%
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Computer Technician Videos

How To Find Tech Career Advice

What do help desk technicians do?

Computer Technician Career: Is It Right for You?

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Internship
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Real Computer Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Project PC (Project Controls) Specialist Arcadis U.S., Inc. Irvine, CA Oct 01, 2013 $105,019
Computer Hardware Engrs Microsoft Corporation Mountain View, CA Mar 15, 2011 $93,892
Application Deployment Technical Marketing Special The Mathworks, Inc. Natick, MA Mar 18, 2013 $75,000
SAP Fi/Co/Pa/Pc Consultant Delta System & Software, Inc. Frisco, TX Jan 09, 2016 $61,000
Consultant PC Deloitte Consulting LLP New York, NY Dec 17, 2013 $60,300
Research Computing Technologist Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH Mar 19, 2016 $60,273
Computer Hardware Engiener Reliable Software Resources Inc. Farmington Hills, MI Mar 24, 2009 $60,100
Computer Technician Universal Processing LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2013 $59,751
Computer Technician Universal Processing LLC New York, NY Sep 28, 2013 $58,728
Computer Technician Bat Blue Corporation Clifton, NJ Jan 22, 2010 $56,307
Computer Information Technologist II Central Technology Services, Inc. Jefferson City, MO May 02, 2016 $55,557 -
$60,000
Computer Information Technologist III State of Missouri, Office of Administration Jefferson City, MO Jan 25, 2010 $51,156
Computer Technician Ingenics Corp Greenville, SC Jun 17, 2015 $50,482
Computer Technician Eagle Systems USA, Inc. Mercerville, NJ Jan 16, 2009 $47,500
Computer Technology Technician Sumter School District Sumter, SC Aug 15, 2014 $47,466
Computer Technician Jackson State University Jackson, MS Jun 15, 2010 $47,314
Computer Information Technologist 2 Central Technology Services, Inc. Jefferson City, MO Mar 15, 2016 $46,500 -
$48,500
Computer Technician Glovity Corp. (T/A DR. Car Wash) Centreville, VA Jan 19, 2011 $46,051
Computer Information Technologist 2 Central Technology Services, Inc. Jefferson City, MO Mar 15, 2013 $44,350 -
$45,500
Computer Technician University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT Feb 01, 2015 $43,848
Computer Technician Ingenics Corp Greenville, SC May 23, 2016 $43,410
Computer Information Technologist Central Technology Services, Inc. Jefferson City, MO Mar 15, 2010 $39,333
Computer Information Technologist Central Technology Services, Inc. Jefferson City, MO Mar 15, 2010 $39,146
Computer Information Technologist II Central Technology Services, Inc. Jefferson City, MO Sep 08, 2010 $39,146 -
$42,500
Computer Technician Universal Processing LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2013 $37,253
Desktop Technician Elie Tahari, Ltd New York, NY Sep 21, 2012 $36,837 -
$38,000
Computer Technician Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority Kent, OH Sep 17, 2013 $34,278
Computer Technician Asian MacHinery USA, Inc. Miami, FL Jan 11, 2008 $32,912 -
$32,975

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Top Skills for A Computer Technician

  1. Computer
  2. Personal Computers
  3. Desk Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Installed hardware components into computer and upgraded operating systems.
  • Do hardware repair and software diagnostics on in-warranty and out-of-warranty personal computers, printers and other peripheral devices.
  • Provided computer help desk support via telephone communications with end-users.
  • Deploy, maintain, analyze, troubleshoot, and repair computer systems (workstations/laptops), hardware and computer peripherals.
  • Perform installation and general troubleshooting of local and network printers.

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Top 10 Best States for Computer Technicians

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Alaska
  3. Colorado
  4. Connecticut
  5. Virginia
  6. New Jersey
  7. Massachusetts
  8. North Dakota
  9. Delaware
  10. Rhode Island
  • (262 jobs)
  • (64 jobs)
  • (723 jobs)
  • (340 jobs)
  • (1,495 jobs)
  • (809 jobs)
  • (824 jobs)
  • (124 jobs)
  • (81 jobs)
  • (90 jobs)

Top Computer Technician Employers

Jobs From Top Computer Technician Employers

Computer Technician Videos

How To Find Tech Career Advice

What do help desk technicians do?

Computer Technician Career: Is It Right for You?

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