The computer technician makes sure a company’s computer equipment is configured to conform to established guidelines. He or she maintains all terminals and peripherals including printers, modems, personal computers and data communications machines. They are responsible for locating and ascertaining the nature of network errors using appropriate software; this includes troubleshooting. Along with these duties, he or she fixes and replaces equipment when it is down. The position often requires the individual to be the authority on repairing equipment malfunctions and supplying necessary technical support. In some cases, the computer support technician monitors compliance with the company’s policy on end-users’ network use.
A wide variety of options are open to computer technicians for the simple reason that computers are found everywhere nowadays, in almost every business, large and small, as well as in almost every home. And wherever computers are found, so are corrupted files, hard drive crashes, and disappearing operating systems.
It’s imperative that all major corporations have their own in-house computer technicians. For this reason, the majority are employed in this field. Since computers are the life-line for many businesses, this has created a great demand for computer technicians.
Education and Certification
Computers have been an essential part of most high school student’s life for many years. This is likely where the aptitude and desire arose to tinker with a personal computer. At this level, the student should enroll in a computer certification training course which may be able to be applied towards a 2 year college or associate’s degree. An associate’s degree may suffice for most businesses, though the larger corporations will require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer technology.
At the associate’s level, there are numerous colleges that offer programs in electronics and computer technology. These programs are designed to teach students about electronic systems, computer hardware and software, networking, programming concepts, and routing. The degree program also provides students with an opportunity to conduct laboratory experiments, troubleshoot electronic systems, configure prototypes of pre-designed systems, and evaluate needed repairs and performance issues. Students also have the opportunity to work with other students on teams and develop skills in communication and writing.
At the bachelor and master’s degree level, the student is striving towards a degree in Computer Science in Computer Technology (BSCT), as some institutions refer to the degree. Other colleges offer a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering Technology. The purpose of these technology degrees is to allow the graduates to enter careers in design, application, development, implementation and support of computer systems.
Which degree path the student selects depends on personal career goals with consideration of the increased cost to attend a 4 year college program.
There are professional designations which confirms that the person is qualified to perform a certain job or task. One example is the CompTIA which spans the full spectrum of hardware and software producers. Other certifications are vendor specific, such as the Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE), which prepares the technician to work on Windows platforms.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected the job growth to be 17% through 2022. This is an employment change of 123,000 positions in the U.S.. The median annual salary is $49,000. According to the BLS, there are 722, 400 jobs in the occupation of Computer Support Specialists as of 2012. Figures published by www.networkworld.com in 2013 paint a more favorable salary picture for the IT industry as a whole. Their median salary for midsize corporations in 2013 was $75,727 for IT professionals, though this is a much broader employment pool.
This is a well compensated vocation with much diversity in this field of technology. It is a career that one may enter with even on-the-job training or a graduate degree.