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PERSONALIZED JOBS

Become A Technician

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Working As A Technician

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $58,920

    Average Salary

What Does A 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 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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Technician jobs

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Technician Career Paths

Technician
Service Manager Operations Manager General Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Specialist Operations Manager Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Director Of Information
Director Of Information Technology Services
12 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Manager Sales Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Network Administrator Technical Services Manager
Director Of Technology And Services
11 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Service Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Maintenance Manager Operations Manager
Human Resources Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Network Technician Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Branch Manager Account Executive
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager General Manager Account Executive
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Service Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Field Service Technician Service Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Project Leader Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Service Manager General Manager Account Executive
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Marketing Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Loom Technician 8.7 years
Zoning Technician 6.9 years
Headend Technician 6.6 years
Sonar Technician 6.2 years
Master Technician 5.9 years
Missile Technician 5.8 years
Dental Technician 5.8 years
Flight Technician 5.0 years
Boiler Technician 5.0 years
Bindery Technician 4.7 years
Cadd Technician 4.6 years
Echo Technician 4.5 years
Proof Technician 4.5 years
Foundry Technician 4.5 years
Piano Technician 4.4 years
System Technician 4.4 years
EEG Technician 4.3 years
X-Ray Technician 4.3 years
Signal Technician 4.2 years
Layout Technician 4.2 years
Film Technician 4.1 years
Binder Technician 4.1 years
Biomed Technician 4.1 years
Relay Technician 4.0 years
Graphic Technician 3.9 years
Process Technician 3.9 years
Switch Technician 3.9 years
Color Technician 3.8 years
Scada Technician 3.8 years
Trouble Shooter 3.8 years
Cardiac Technician 3.8 years
Radio Technician 3.8 years
Page Technician 3.8 years
Auto Technician 3.7 years
Nail Technician 3.7 years
Plastic Technician 3.7 years
Set Up Technician 3.7 years
Blend Technician 3.6 years
Hvac Technician 3.6 years
Telecom Technician 3.6 years
Scrub Technician 3.6 years
Digital Technician 3.5 years
IE Technician 3.5 years
Payroll Technician 3.5 years
Autocad Technician 3.5 years
Tool Technician 3.5 years
Claims Technician 3.5 years
Press Technician 3.5 years
Mining Technician 3.5 years
Copier Technician 3.5 years
Design Technician 3.4 years
Finance Technician 3.4 years
Jewelry Technician 3.4 years
Fiscal Technician 3.4 years
Molding Technician 3.4 years
Cell Technician 3.4 years
Plant Technician 3.3 years
Service Technician 3.3 years
Mail Technician 3.3 years
IC Technician 3.3 years
Account Technician 3.3 years
Monitor Technician 3.3 years
Lead Technician 3.3 years
Glass Technician 3.3 years
Supply Technician 3.3 years
Armorer Technician 3.3 years
Utility Technician 3.2 years
Audit Technician 3.2 years
Scale Technician 3.2 years
Truck Technician 3.2 years
Mix Technician 3.2 years
Marine Technician 3.2 years
Line Technician 3.2 years
Test Technician 3.1 years
Legal Technician 3.1 years
Paint Technician 3.1 years
Traffic Technician 3.1 years
Robot Technician 3.1 years
Model Technician 3.1 years
Network Technician 3.1 years
Heating Technician 3.1 years
Vending Technician 3.1 years
Sleep Technician 3.1 years
Gas Technician 3.1 years
Surgery Technician 3.1 years
Repair Technician 3.1 years
Program Technician 3.0 years
Exhibit Technician 3.0 years
Diesel Technician 3.0 years
Technician 3.0 years
Guitar Technician 3.0 years
Body Technician 3.0 years
Office Technician 3.0 years
Smog Technician 3.0 years
Fleet Technician 3.0 years
Hazmat Technician 2.9 years
Power Technician 2.9 years
Science Technician 2.9 years
Slot Technician 2.9 years
Trim Technician 2.9 years
Renewal Technician 2.9 years
Stage Technician 2.9 years
Reuse Technician 2.9 years
Media Technician 2.9 years
Sound Technician 2.8 years
Door Technician 2.8 years
Library Technician 2.8 years
Driver/Technician 2.8 years
Parts Technician 2.8 years
Audio Technician 2.8 years
Light Technician 2.8 years
Sign Technician 2.8 years
Bench Technician 2.8 years
EKG Technician 2.8 years
Printer Technician 2.8 years
AC Technician 2.8 years
LAN Technician 2.7 years
Data Technician 2.7 years
MIS Technician 2.7 years
Alarm Technician 2.7 years
Video Technician 2.7 years
Roadway Technician 2.7 years
Morgue Technician 2.7 years
Health Technician 2.7 years
Debug Technician 2.7 years
Diet Technician 2.6 years
Theater Technician 2.6 years
Installer/Trainer 2.6 years
Laser Technician 2.6 years
Depot Technician 2.5 years
Mapping Technician 2.5 years
Shop Technician 2.5 years
Animal Technician 2.5 years
Event Technician 2.5 years
Retread Technician 2.5 years
Fuel Technician 2.5 years
ATM Technician 2.5 years
Optical Technician 2.5 years
Rail Technician 2.5 years
AV Technician 2.5 years
Roofing Technician 2.4 years
On-Site Technician 2.4 years
Product Technician 2.4 years
Safety Technician 2.4 years
Rehab Technician 2.4 years
Field Technician 2.4 years
Meter Technician 2.4 years
Spa Technician 2.3 years
Civil Technician 2.3 years
Fire Technician 2.3 years
Mobile Technician 2.3 years
Studio Technician 2.3 years
Spray Technician 2.3 years
Nurse Technician 2.2 years
Lock Technician 2.2 years
Watch Technician 2.2 years
Camera Technician 2.2 years
Museum Technician 2.2 years
PRN MRI Technician 2.2 years
Forest Technician 2.2 years
Pest Technician 2.2 years
Med Technician 2.2 years
Rework Technician 2.2 years
Wind Technician 2.2 years