Computer support specialists work in many different types of industries, from retail to government. Since technology is in a constant state of change, you will always need to be aware of the new processes and standards. You will be working with both old and new computers and their components. A computer tech’s job description can include:
- Take apart a computer and properly determine what issues it’s having.
- Put the computer back together so it’s better than ever (Unless it’s lived a long and happy life, then time to scrap it for parts.).
- Build computers from the components.
- Be able to set up a complete network of computers, as well.
- Have a main focus on the hardware of the computers.
- Install drivers so computer software can communicate with the hardware.
- Remove viruses.
- Back up data when the operating system has failed.
How to Become a Computer Technician
Sure, you may know everything about computers; you’ve been working with them for as long as you can remember. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to find a job. You need to have the proper education and certifications in place. To become a computer technician, you will need to:
- Get your high school diploma or GED.
- Really, you only need to get a certificate or diploma to start with; most community colleges offer the program.
- Certificate programs take less than a year to complete.
- Associate’s degree programs are two years long if you attend full time.
- Depending on the community college, you may be able to apply the credits from your certificate program toward your associate’s degree.
- The A+ certificate, which is offered by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), is the industry standard, and many employers will require you to have this certification.
- There are two tests you’ll need to pass to get your A+ certification: the essentials exam and the practical applications exam.
- Certifications must be renewed every three years.
Computer Technician Salary and Job Projection
According to BLS, the mean annual salary for computer support specialists is $57,650 The bottom 10% make about 34,220 per year and the top 10% earn over $91,000 annually.
There are many different career paths within the computer and IT realm that you could transition to. The Computer and IT career guide goes into more detail about the different career options and the ways to get into them.