Computer Repair Technician


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You want to be a Computer Repair Technician...

Computer Repair Technician, exactly what does it take to get a job as one?

This section is about the steps you should consider if you decide to make a career as a PC repair tech. (Use the menu for specific topics)

Glamour! Prestige! Groupies! Money!

Well, not really. However a good computer repair technician can make a decent living, an excellent tech can make a very good living.

Are you ready to find out what it takes to be a computer repair tech?

Ok, short and sweet: Study, lots of study, then experience.

As with any entry level job the pay is low and the hours are long but after a year a tech that knows how to repair computers can just about write their own ticket.

Study, you will have to earn either a degree in Computer Science or a certification from a Technical School (accredited of course). The Computer Science degree will take you four years, the Tech School two to three years. Or you could do a 'home study' course insure it is accredited.

There are many types of computer repair technician jobs such as the computer repair tech, and then there is the Network Engineer, the Systems Admin, the Data Base Admin, and tech support. Each type of tech takes you down a different course of study to attain the particular certification or degree.

These jobs are not Management but could in some cases lead to a management position.

Then as a computer repair technician, once past the study and experience you may decide that those mysterious Network engineer's have a neat job, always going places and doing that secret stuff (well it really isn't secret stuff just hush-hush).

Or maybe you noticed that the Systems Admins always go in to a room full of computers but you don't have access to that room, what goes on in there?

Or your manager may have been a tech at one time and now he makes the big bucks and is your boss.

The main point of this is that all the computer repair technician related jobs or careers are based on computer technology, and to excel in any one career you would do well to start with a course of study that is based in computer technology not management or programming. The management and programming courses will come in handy but are not required.

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If you go the college route and get a Computer Science degree you will also get some higher level programming such as C+ or C++ which will come in handy if you plan on working in the Corporate environment as say a Systems Administrator or a Data Base Administrator.

If you go a computer repair technician school or home study route you could also take the programming classes to bolster your Certificates.

Your course of study should include the main hardware design and theory along with low level component repair. Although the requirement to remove and replace a diode, capacitor, or a transistor is slowly disappearing. The technique of troubleshooting, removing, and replacing such devices will help you with understanding how a component works in relation to all the other components.

In this day and age of the micro components on a PCB they are so small that you need a powerful magnifying glass to see them. You also need special tools to remove and replace them. However there are some devices that can be repaired by low level component repair such as Power Supplies, Uninterruptable Power Supplies, and a few others. The higher the cost of a device then a repair over replace becomes economical and the tech that can do low level troubleshooting then the repair has the edge.

As an entry level computer repair technician your job choice will be lower. Your best chance at getting a job is to work for a company such as Best Buy or one of the chain stores until you have some experience.

Very few large corporations hire entry level technical employees because the training is too costly. Another way to get the necessary experience is to work for a contracting service. However working for a contracting service is not necessarily a good recommendation on your resume.

Once you get past the study and the experience you have a better chance of landing that dream job with a large corporation or maybe starting your own business. From desktop repair, to tech support, to server support, to server administrator. The top job in a corporation for a field tech would be the server administrator. Server Admins draw about twice what a field tech for desktop repair.

Why would an 'Administrator' be paid a higher wage than a computer repair technician?

Certifications! To repair computers, printers, or Operating Systems in the field a computer repair technician only needs the hardware or OS certification for the problem concerned. These certifications only take a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

Where as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) takes years, it is almost a college education in itself. The MCSE course takes the student through all the steps from learning about the operating system to networking to domain management.

When you go through the course either by self study or through a formal course as you complete a section of study you become certified in steps. The first step would be completing three core courses and receive the Microsoft Certified Professional.

Normally this would be for desktop / laptop support of any Microsoft Operating System such as Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or the new Windows 7/8/10. You are well on your way to the MCSE.

As an example when I became a tech with a degree in Computer Design Technology my first job was with a computer rental company. I started out doing setup, delivery, and recovery of rental computers.

Note: This is where the accredited Institution comes in. To get an AAS in Computer Design Technology it takes 188 hours of course work, to get a BS in Computer Design Technology take 230 hours. BUT the school I was going to was NOT accredited for all classes. Be sure to find out what classes are not accredited and try to take those that are, if you decided to go for a higher degree your time and money will not be wasted!

Because I was an entry level tech I did the manual job of lifting and moving computers. After some 'On the Job Training' I was able to do more advanced setups and then some low level repairs.

As my experience grew so did my knowledge base from computer repair to Operating Systems to Server Administration. Once I finished my Novell Certification my job choices doubled, so did my pay. After completing my studies (self study) for the MCSE my job choices again doubled and the associated pay also went up.

Another example is a Network Engineer. A long time friend and computer tech decided that moving computers from one place to another two or three times a day was not a very good job. So instead of studying to become a Systems Admin he decided to become a Network Engineer.

He started studying about the time I started on my MCSE. He took the Cisco Certified Systems Engineer (CCSE) course, this is a very hard and expensive course even with the help of the company we worked for at the time. He completed his CCSE about the same time I finished my MCSE. Moving in to Network Engineering opened up a lot of new jobs for him and doubled his pay.

As a computer repair tech you may be called a geek, techie, nerd, or guru. Don't let those nick names bother you or go to your head. Rely on your training and experience to guide you though your job.

If you don't know the answers say so and then research it. You are the expert but you will gain more respect by finding the right answer instead of giving the wrong answer.

Don't be the guy that a customer doesn't want working on their computer, instead be the tech the customer always wants to talk to and the one they seek to have their problems resolved.

Good luck with your endeavor.

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