According to the Department of Labor, the employment of computer support specialists or computer technicians is projected to grow by 18 percent in the 2010-20 decade.* In this period, the occupation will add about 110,000 jobs.**
If numbers could speak, I am sure they're screaming their way into your head right now that this is one occupation that's full of opportunities in an otherwise depressed job market. Sounds like an option you'd want to explore further? Then read on for we have a step-by-step guide on how to prepare for a computer technician career.
But before we learn how to become a computer technician, here's a peek into some of their day-to-day duties and responsibilities:
1. Install hardware and software on users' computer systems.
2. Troubleshoot problems related to hardware & software.
3. Train customers in proper use of software & hardware.
4. Install security programs on users' computer systems.
5. Configure, test and evaluate computer networks.
6. Diagnose and fix problems related to computer networks.
7. Perform scheduled maintenance of computer systems.
8. Offer technical support to users on email, phone or in person.
The ideal time to start preparing for a computer tech's role is in high school. Taking classes in math and science may build a strong foundation for this career as they develop problem-solving and analytical skills.
Spend as much time as you can in the computer lab and become innately curious about everything related to computers. Remember a good computer tech is not someone who has a ready fix for all problems, but one who has the ability to find a solution to all problems even if he doesn't have one. So, learn to find answers and solve problems on your own and it will be your greatest asset as a computer tech!
According to the labor department, training requirements for computer techs vary depending on the specific role they're in. Some of the more common computer tech roles include:
· Technical support specialist
· Help-desk technician
· Customer support analyst
· Field service technician
· IT support technician
· IT support specialist
· IT support administrator
Find a computer technician school that provides comprehensive training for the job. You may find computer tech training programs at a local community college or an online vocational/technical school. Choose a program that suits your financial and personal situation as well as disposition. Some individuals prefer the independent learning and flexible schedules of online classes, while others need the discipline and personalized attention of classroom-based instruction.
For the role of a computer tech, getting an education is probably as important as professional certification. Professional certification validates your knowledge and skills for this job. CompTIA A+ certification is the most commonly sought credential for entry-level IT support roles and requires passing two exams.
It's best to receive CompTIA training from authorized training centers before you take the exams. However, some schools design their computer tech programs to include training for CompTIA A+ certification and will provide you the theoretical as well as practical knowledge to nail the two exams.
You can also supplement your CompTIA training with self-study books and guides as well as e-learning courses that can be bought from the CompTIA website.
That's it! You're ready to hit the job market as a freshly trained and certified computer technician. And what can you look forward to once you are employed? A career that's challenging as well as rewarding, one that flexible work schedules and promises strong advancement opportunities!