Computer repair technicians play a vital role in maintenance of computer systems in the computer technology industry. Their work basically involves hands-on repair of various types of computers, printers and associated equipment. Technicians also specialize in installation of computer systems.
Generally, the job of a computer repair technician is not strenuous. Light walking and some bending are usually entailed in performance of duties. Due to the wide availability of computers in modern society, repair technicians may work in various places. Their services are required in commercial settings, computer repair shops, entertainment venues, financial institutions, homes, hospitals, industrial sites, military, offices, schools and technology centers. It is common for technicians to go out into the field to attend to customers. However, in some cases computer malfunctions can be diagnosed via computer systems and phone, which lessens travel obligations. Computer repair shops are usually clean, well-lit and well-ventilated. The vital role that computers play in many organizations necessitates high efficiency in the functioning of computer systems, at all times. Technicians must therefore be available for work at all hours, which necessitates working on a schedule system, to ensure that customers have access to services around the clock. A 40-hour work week is the norm for most repair technicians although overtime is common.
Computer Repair Topics
Duties of Computer Repair Technicians
Nature of Work for Computer Repair Technicians
- Advising customers on functions and maintenance of computer systems.
- Installing new computer systems.
- Observing functions of computer systems and identifying errors.
- Ordering repair components and selling supplies.
- Responding to user inquiries regarding computer functions.
- Undertaking routine maintenance on computer systems.
In most cases, repair work consists of replacing the components of computer systems. Technicians make use of a wide variety of tools to discharge their duties, which include:
Specialization in Computer Repair
- Cell phones
- Needle-nose pliers
- Schematic diagrams
- Signal generators
- Software programs
- Soldering irons
- Technical manuals
- Wire strippers
In most cases, entry-level repair technicians undertake maintenance work on personal computers and associated equipment. Technicians may eventually advance to working on more complex systems, including networking equipment. Experienced technicians may become field engineers or computer electronics mechanics. With the right amount of experience, a qualified computer repair technician may advance into a managerial position, which involves supervising the work of other technicians and formulating policies for the sector. Training positions are also a possibility for well qualified technicians who hold significant work experience.Desirable Qualities of a Computer Repair Technician
- Analytical skills – a keen eye for detail and the ability to analyze data and information are vital for high job efficiency.
- Aptitude for computers – working with computer systems requires personal enthusiasm for computer operations. You should also enjoy working with numbers.
- Communication skills – strong oral and written communication skills allow technicians to document and communicate computer problems efficiently as well as advice customers accordingly. You should also be a good listener in order to capture computer problems as relayed by customers accurately.
- Critical thinking skills – in coming up with appropriate solutions to address computer malfunctions, technicians should be able to thoroughly evaluate various alternatives by applying logic and reasoning.
- Finger dexterity – repair technicians utilize various hand tools, some of which are small. Finger dexterity allows proper handling of tools and enhances job efficiency.
Certificate Programs in Computer Repair
Like most fields in which professional certification are offered, the vast majority of computer repair certificate programs are voluntary. The earning of such certificates, however, is highly recommended and can only benefit the professional career of someone involved in the field of computer repairs. For one, the earning of professional certification opens up an employee to a huge network of like-minded professionals who are all in similar lines of work. Therefore, whether keeping up with the latest resources available for a certain type of computer, or possibly gaining insight into industry trends and job openings, there are many advantages to being a part of such a network. Additionally, earning professional certification is something that most employers tend to favor. In rare instances an employer will actually require certification, but most like to hire employees who have professional credentials since they indicate an employee’s degree of seriousness about his or her job and a commitment to stay current with it. Oftentimes, the earning of professional certification can allow an employer to not only be eligible for more job opportunities, but also for career advancement including promotions as well as increased salaries and benefits.
There are several professional organizations that offer certification for computer repair technicians. One of the most eminent of these is known as the Electronics Technicians Association, which offers a bevy of certifications (numbering more than 50). The vast majority of these credentials are focused upon specific areas of electronics specialties that also encompass varying levels of competency. Certifications are offered in other closely related fields to computer repair, such as ATM or photocopiers (the latter of which falls under the category of office repairs). Another one of the more well-known certifying agencies within this field is the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians. This organization also grants certification at more than one level of competency in a number of disparate areas that include facets of multimedia systems, electronic systems, appliance service as well as basic and advanced electronics applications.
The certification process generally requires candidates to pass a written examination after a number of prerequisites have been fulfilled. In some instances, the examinations for these programs may be administered online. As is the case with most professional organizations that offer credentials of varying levels of competency, candidates must first earn the basic credential in a particular area before becoming eligible to earn more advanced certifications.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012)
Online Degrees & Courses in Computer Repair
For many people, it is quite advantageous to take computer repair courses online. This statement is particularly true when one considers that virtually any level of course for computer repair can actually be taken online, and accessed at any location in which there is an Internet connection. Therefore, it is possible for students to earn college degrees, educational certificates, as well as professional certificates in computer repair during an online process. In fact, some professional organizations, such as the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians, allow individuals to do certain components of the work required for professional certification online, such as online examinations that may be held to grant students the earning or a particular designation.
Online computer repair courses work the same way that most online courses do. Students are typically charged with the completing of a module (which is akin to a chapter or a particular area study) during an allotted time period, which is usually each week, although in some cases modules may take multiple weeks to complete. In order to finish a module, students will engage with material posted online such as lectures, readings, and any applicable videos or illustrations that relate to the subject. Often, modules require students to finish homework – that is due at the time the module is supposed to be completed – that demonstrate that they have successfully read or otherwise engaged in the material presented, learned the concepts in them, and can apply them to indicate their understanding of the module’s concepts. The homework for the module may be reflected in the form of a written assignment, an online examination, or in the demonstration of some practical, hands-on application of computer or electronics repair.
Instructors can typically be accessed via email, although on some occasions they may be reached via telephone or via videoconferencing, such as Skype or some other form of visual and auditory communication. Additionally, students may interact with each other also via email or through online platforms that pertain to the courses they study. There is a tremendous degree of flexibility and autonomy associated with online computer repair courses, for the simple fact that students can work on the material whenever they please and have no other obligations on their time other than to fulfill the module requirement by a certain date. Online computer repair courses are ideal for people who relish their independence and who wish to learn this subject at what amounts to their own pace.
There are a number of options that exist for students who are hoping to pursue careers in computer repair work. Some of these options are general to virtually all forms of students, while others are strictly for students who are looking to work within this field. Most financial aid options consist of loans, grants, and scholarships. Loans may be procured from several different sources, particularly those that are federally funded and include Fannie Mae, Stafford and Perkins loans – in which students are given money to attend school and must eventually pay it back. Grants and scholarships, however, are more preferable forms of financial aid since they involve the awarding of funding for students that do not have to be paid back.
However, students should be aware that due to the wide variety of availability of grants and scholarships that are available to those looking to pursue activity in the field of computer repair, ones that there are several variations in eligibility requirements. Some scholarships and funds are for certain demographics of people, while others only apply to students in particular areas. A good example of this fact can be evinced in the grant known as the Medallion Fund, which is offered by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to residents of New Hampshire who intend to work in a vocational or technical career related to computer repair when their schooling is finished. Additional requirements necessitate that students must be enrolled in an accredited vocational or technical program that does not result in a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, preference is largely given to students who have little or no other opportunities for training or education and who plan to go into the manufacturing trade sector. The amount of money offered via this grant varies, and is awarded on a rolling basis.
Often, scholarships are awarded by professional groups or agencies that are involved in computer repairs. A good example of such an organization is the Association of Computer Repair Business Owners, which is a trade organization that specializes in networking opportunities and education opportunities for those in computer repairs. This group typically awards a pair of scholarships each year. The monetary amount awarded varies and is typically given to high school seniors graduating in the spring/summer who are looking to either work in the field of computer repairs or attend some form of formal education that will eventually lead to a position in this field.
Computer Repair Technician Salary & Job Outlook
The computer industry offers individuals various engaging occupations to choose from. As one of the most vibrant and dynamic fields, computing assures individuals of a challenging and professionally rewarding career. Although salary and job outlook vary by profession, occupations in the sector are generally fulfilling for those who choose computing as a career path. Below is an overview of salary and job prospects for computer repair technicians, who play a vital role in the maintenance of computer and associated systems.
Salary Overview for Computer Repair Technicians
The mean annual wage for computer repair professionals is placed at $39,080, with a mean hourly wage of $18.79. Earnings for the occupation, however, vary by industry. Top paying industries include electric power generation, with a mean annual wage of $63,980 and warehousing and storage, with a mean annual wage of $59,880. The highest number of computer repair technicians is employed in the professional and commercial equipment sector while the lowest number is employed in office supplies, stationery and gift stores. California employs the largest number of repair technicians, placed at 12,530, followed by Texas, which employs 10,330 professionals. The annual mean wage in these 2 states is $41,100 and $35,190, respectively. However, although fewer technicians are employed in North Carolina and Florida, repair technicians in these states enjoy a higher mean annual wage than Texas, of $38,350 and $37,010, respectively.New York, which employs 7,800 technicians, posts the highest mean annual wage for the profession, $42,550.Additional Benefits for Computer Repair Technicians
Frequent traveling is common for computer repair professionals as they often undertake maintenance jobs wherever the customer is situated. Employers usually reimburse any travel expenses incurred while rendering services in the field. The field of computer repair technicians is a dynamic one. Ongoing changes in technology necessitate that technicians must engage in continuing education to keep their skills current as well as update their knowledge base. Many employers value highly trained professionals and provide tuition reimbursement for qualified employees. Some repair technicians enjoy financial incentives such as bonuses and profit-sharing programs. Most employers offer paid vacations, life insurance, medical cover and a retirement plan, which contribute to a rewarding professional experience.Job Outlook for Computer Repair Technicians
Employment for computer repair professionals is expected to decline at a slow rate through 2018. This is partly attributed to ongoing technological developments that will result in more reliable computers being released onto the market, hence less need for repair services. With less maintenance required on newer computers, job prospects are likely to decline. However, job opportunities are still expected as a result of older professionals retiring or leaving the occupation. Repair technicians who are formally educated, have sound knowledge of electronics, hold credentials and possess significant work experience will enjoy better job prospects.
CompTIA certifications are a good idea for computer professionals keen on enhancing their professional development. Earning these credentials is sure to boost your job marketability. Many employers have a preference for job candidates with professional certifications as these individuals possess the skills and expertise that assure high job performance.
Benefits of CompTIA Certification
Prerequisites for Certification
- Commitment to Profession - CompTIA certifications are an assurance to employers that you hold the necessary skill set to perform efficiently in the industry. Certifications also demonstrate a commitment to the IT field and appreciation for continued learning.
- Higher Earnings – certified IT professionals earn significantly more salary than their uncertified counterparts. Better salary contributes to a more rewarding professional life.
- Professional Development – many employers have a great deal of confidence in CompTIA certifications as they indicate thorough training for the profession and possession of the necessary skills and competencies. These certifications also allow employers to accurately predict employee success.
- Widely Valued – as a global IT association, CompTIA has developed various certifications that allow individuals to demonstrate possession of diverse foundational skills. Certification exams are developed from a thorough and engaging process that involves consulting with experts from all over the world. The vendor-neutral aspect of CompTIA certifications means that they are widely accepted, across the globe, which increases your job prospects.
Certifications offered by CompTIA are classified into 4 categories, with each testing different knowledge standards. Prerequisites for these certifications generally focus on work experience as outlined below.
- CompTIA Basic Series – this certification is best for individuals seeking entry-level jobs in the field. Candidate must have foundational knowledge of issues in IT.
- CompTIA Specialty Series – individuals with specialization in specific niches can enhance their career prospects with this specialization. Candidates must demonstrate in-depth knowledge of business and technical aspects of IT.
- CompTIA Professional Series – this certification is best for individuals seeking to validate their technical skills in various IT fields. Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of various technical skills that allow them to undertake document imaging management, installation, networking, preventative maintenance and project management.
- CompTIA Mastery Series – individuals seeking to validate their technical skills and knowledge in a specific career may want to consider this certification. Candidates are expected to demonstrate a high level of competency within a specific niche by applying advanced skills in practice.
If you plan on earning CompTIA credentials, you may find the steps outlined below helpful in achieving your objectives:
- Identify the certification that best meets your needs – in determining which credential to pursue, you need to consider your career path, level of experience and competencies.
- Train for certification exam – CompTIA offers IT professionals various training options to help them prepare thoroughly for taking exams. This includes classroom training, eLearning, using study materials and engaging in practice tests. While some individuals are comfortable using a single method, others prefer to combine 2 or more methods.
- Locate a testing center – the CompTIA site provides a search tool which allows you to locate a CompTIA authorized training provider in your locality.
- Familiarize yourself with the exam – it is best if you make a point of understanding key focus areas of the exam as well as exam policies. Reviewing sample questions is also helpful.
- Obtain an exam voucher – candidates who feel they’re ready to take the exam may purchase a voucher from the CompTIA site.
- Identify a testing site – the certification exam is administered through Pearson VUE, Prometric and Centiport testing centers. You can locate a convenient testing center by checking online.
Various career options are possible for professionals who hold CompTIA credentials, including:
- Account Manager
- Business Development Manager
- Computer Service Technician
- Database Administrator
- Internet Security Specialist
- Network Analyst
- Project Manager
- Sales Engineer
- Software Engineer
- Systems Administrator
- Technical Instructor
- Technical Support Specialist
The computer repair technician is just one of many career paths available to individuals keen on working in the IT field. However, many other careers are related to computer repair which you may want to explore. Some of these careers are outlined below:
Electrical and Electronics Technicians
These professionals are also referred to as electrical and electronics engineering technicians or electrical and electronics installers and repairers. They use their electronics knowledge to install, maintain and repair electronic equipment and components in various settings. Their work may involve:
Home Appliance Repairers
- Assembling circuitry and developing prototype models.
- Developing, testing and modifying electrical equipment and components.
- Diagnosing malfunctions and performing preventive procedures.
- Installing and maintaining electronic equipment in surveillance systems, trains and vehicles.
- Replacing components in old electrical equipment with new automated devices.
These technicians specialize in the installation and maintenance of various home appliances such as air conditioners, cookers, dishwashers, microwaves, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers. Their work involves frequent travel as they must visit the customer’s home to inspect the appliance and perform maintenance work. Duties of home appliance technicians include:
Office Machine Repairers
- Checking electrical systems to identify faults.
- Disassembling appliances to examine internal structure and components.
- Replacing defective components in appliances
- Troubleshooting appliances.
Technicians who specialize in the maintenance of various types of office equipment are referred to as office machine repairers. Their work involves:
Radio and Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers
- Adjusting components of office equipment and replacing faulty or worn out parts.
- Cleaning, oiling and vacuuming moving components as part of preventive maintenance.
- Inspecting office equipment to identify faults.
- Installing operational items in equipment such as inks and toners.
- Providing technical advice to customers.
These technicians undertake installation and maintenance work on various communications equipment. Duties of these technicians include:
- Diagnosing problems in telecommunications equipment.
- Installing internet, VoIP and other telecommunications services for customers.
- Installing new software programs in equipment.
- Installing private branch exchange (PBX) switchboards.
- Installing switches and routers used in telecommunications equipment.
- Maintaining fiber optic lines.
- Replacing defective components with newer parts.
Robot technicians specialize in the installation and maintenance of robots and automated production systems. Duties of robot technicians may include:
- Designing and developing robots and automated production systems.
- Inspecting electronic components to be used in assembly jobs.
- Installing safety systems.
- Providing assistance to users of robot systems and troubleshooting systems.
- Training technicians to perform maintenance work on robots.
These IT professionals analyze and maintain telecommunications systems in homes, offices, industries and other settings. Their work involves:
- Adjusting components in telecommunications systems and changing configuration to enhance efficiency.
- Designing systems that can be used to enhance efficient telecommunications.
- Determining requirements and procedures for cost-effective and efficient communication of information.
- Evaluating the costs of data transmission.
- Installing telecommunications equipment.
- Instructing users on how to use telecommunications systems.
- Testing hardware and software components.