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Working As A Computer Technician/Volunteer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $35,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Technician/Volunteer 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/Volunteer

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/Volunteer Career Paths

Computer Technician/Volunteer
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Computer Technician Systems Administrator Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Computer Technician Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Computer Technician Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Technician Team Leader Vice President
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Technician Network Technician Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Technical Support Technician Help Desk Analyst
Level Senior Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Technician Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Infrastructure Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Technician Information Systems Technician Desktop Support Technician
Senior Desktop Support Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Technician Network Technician Support Specialist
Senior Support Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Network Technician Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Information Systems Technician Desktop Support Technician Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Information Technology/Support Technician Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Technical Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Information Technology/Support Technician Information Technology Consultant
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology/Support Technician Service Desk Analyst Service Desk Supervisor
Service Desk Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Tutor Data Analyst Information Technology Analyst
Information Technology Supervisor, Information Technology
6 Yearsyrs
Consultant Senior Systems Engineer Network Manager
Information Technology Support Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Technician Help Desk Analyst Service Desk Analyst
Incident Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Computer Technician/Volunteer
Volunteer 20.7%
Internship 11.8%
Cashier 5.8%
Consultant 3.5%
Specialist 2.8%
Technician 2.8%
Supervisor 2.6%
Manager 2.6%
Tutor 2.6%
President 2.3%
Top Careers After Computer Technician/Volunteer
Volunteer 16.0%
Internship 10.3%
Cashier 6.3%
Technician 5.4%
Assistant 2.8%
Instructor 2.6%
Consultant 2.6%
Server 2.6%

Do you work as a Computer Technician/Volunteer?

Top Skills for A Computer Technician/Volunteer

  1. Computer Hardware
  2. Windows XP
  3. Network Printers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided technical troubleshooting assistance and answered questions on computer hardware and software issues.
  • Installed Windows XP and Microsoft Office, and other client requested software for disabled client use.
  • Installed network printers on print server, and deployed the printers through group policy.
  • Provide computer support, troubleshooting and repair for the economically disadvantaged at regular events.
  • Developed a functional approach to patient care by understanding how to communicate effectively expressed thoughts and showed empathy toward HSTA teens.

Computer Technician/Volunteer Demographics

Gender

Male

64.6%

Female

28.3%

Unknown

7.1%
Ethnicity

White

55.6%

Hispanic or Latino

17.0%

Asian

12.1%

Black or African American

10.3%

Unknown

5.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.8%

French

8.3%

Mandarin

7.5%

Arabic

6.7%

Chinese

5.0%

German

5.0%

Vietnamese

4.2%

Japanese

3.3%

Samoan

2.5%

Russian

2.5%

Italian

2.5%

Cantonese

2.5%

Marathi

1.7%

Hindi

1.7%

Hmong

1.7%

Swahili

0.8%

Gujarati

0.8%

Somali

0.8%

Shan

0.8%

Malay

0.8%
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Computer Technician/Volunteer Education

Schools

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

8.0%

San Jose State University

6.9%

Ohio State University

6.9%

Florida Atlantic University

6.9%

George Washington University

5.7%

ECPI University

4.6%

University of Florida

4.6%

University of Illinois at Chicago

4.6%

University of California - Berkeley

4.6%

Auburn University

4.6%

Georgia State University

4.6%

San Diego State University

4.6%

University of Washington

4.6%

Full Sail University

4.6%

Purdue University

4.6%

University of Kansas

4.6%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.6%

University of North Georgia

3.4%

Brigham Young University

3.4%

University of North Florida

3.4%
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Majors

Computer Science

17.5%

Information Technology

14.1%

Business

8.7%

Electrical Engineering

7.8%

Computer Information Systems

6.5%

Computer Systems Security

6.1%

Computer Networking

5.1%

Biology

4.2%

Criminal Justice

3.2%

Computer Engineering

3.2%

Psychology

3.2%

Management Information Systems

2.7%

General Studies

2.5%

Communication

2.3%

Medical Technician

2.3%

Graphic Design

2.3%

Accounting

2.3%

Fine Arts

2.2%

Nursing

1.8%

Mechanical Engineering

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.9%

Associate

20.4%

High School Diploma

9.7%

Masters

9.4%

Certificate

8.9%

Diploma

2.8%

Doctorate

0.8%
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What Is It Like To Work As A Computer Technician/Volunteer

5.0

Information Technology Technician

September 18, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Computer Technician/Volunteer.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Computer Technician/Volunteer?

i love solving computer problems, assembling and programming ,
networking, performing data recovery and backups,
i love opening computer motherboard and fix those spoiled chips and capacitors... Show More

What do you NOT like?

sometimes i get tired of working on small computer issue for long time due to lack of equipment and i get bored with opening printer drums, refilling cartridges makes a dirty technician... Show More

Top Computer Technician/Volunteer Employers

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Updated May 18, 2020