Inside Computer Technician Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Lack Of Hands On Computer Work...
Lack of direct computer work" (Computer Engineer; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Nebraska, male
School: Studied IT at MCC in Nebraska; completed Associate degree in 2011

"The World Of Electronics And Hardware Its So Huge And Important For Humanity...
Its very important to know how electronic components work, and what to do when a hardware problem occurs. I had the opportunity to work at eBay with the servers and I was surprised when you have a puzzle with cables and computers that you take time to find out how it works." (Hardware Engineer; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Utah, male
School: Studied Hardware at University Of Utah in Utah; completed Bachelor degree in 2009

"Learn To Communicate With Those Outside Your Field...
When working in a support role, solving problems for users with no technical background, one of the most important skills is being able to interpret the descriptions of problems and visualizing them in your head. Talking a user through solving their problem in terms they understand can also be challenging." (Computer Hardware Support Analyst; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, male
School: Studied Computer Networking at ECPI Technical College in Virginia; completed Associate degree in 2006

"I was surprised when I found out how many people needed a computer technician. I get a lot of calls about computer issues." (Computer Tech; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Alabama, female
School: Studied Computer And Electronics Technology at ITT Tech in Alabama; completed Associate degree in 2010

"What was surprising was the high cost of keeping your certifications current with Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician. It is very costly and have to do it yearly but these certification alone will not get you a job. You must already have a job and have your company pay for these tests." (Computer Technician; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, female
School: Studied CENT - Computer Electronic Networking Technology at Honolulu Community College Of U Of H, (UH), Honolulu, Hawai'i in Hawaii in 2001

"Need To Be Tactful...
I was surprised about how much interaction you have with people as an IT Specialist. You have to deal with people with all sorts of understandings of technology. Some people will get what you say instantly while others need a bit of explanation. You have to be wary about how you explain things. You don't want to offend someone who you think knows little or nothing about it. You don't want to belittle your customer." (Hardware/Software Customer Support; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Management Information Systems at Florida State University in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"Excellent Job...
I'm surprised I like it so much not what I expected, a very robust job." (Field Tech; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied B.S. CIS at CalU in Pennsylvania in 2012

"Testing Hardware Is A Competitive Field...
I was surprised how much software was involved in what I thought would be mainly a hardware job. I was also surprised at the amount of rivalry with my colleagues." (Hardware Test Engineer; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Regis University in Colorado; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Co-Worker Skill Levels...
Lack of current skill sets. Most of my co-workers are 40+ years of age and know nothing about today's computer user/world." (IT Support; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, male
School: Studied Computer Science at Pueblo Community College in Colorado; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Disconnect Between College Learning And Job Skills Needed...
I was surprised how little my education prepared me for my job. While I enjoyed my education, I did not enjoy my job. I was asked to do a lot of tasks that I felt I didn't have the proper training for. Each application or task seems to be extremely different from the next. I was banging my head against the wall a lot more often than a 3.9GPA student would expect!" (Engineering Intern; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Minnesota, female
School: Studied Computer Engineering at Minnesota State University - Mankato in Minnesota; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"Physically Demanding...
I was surprised at the physical demands of my profession. I knew I enjoyed assembling and repairing computers, but doing this work, even part-time, has required more physical exertion than I had anticipated." (Computer Hardware Technician; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Network Systems Administration at Nashville State Technical Community College in Tennessee; completed Associate degree in 2008

"with company's cutting back with field service. more company's have hot swap able equipment which in turn cut back on man hours on site with a field service technician. everything is be done remotely which also takes away from a field service call." (Senior Field Service Technician; 2013)

Career: 17 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, male
School: Studied AAS Electronics at ITT Technical Institute in Missouri; completed Associate degree in 1995

"I was surprised to find how simple and unintimidating working with computer hardware would be. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to learn new operating systems, and new types of hardware." (Datacenter Technician; 2013)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Computer Science at Grayson County College in Texas; completed Associate degree in 2003

"It Was A Challenge At First...
I was surprised at the stamina requirements for IT. For us at least installing computers outside was a challenge. Nothing like being 180 ft in the air and dropping a screw." (IT System Engineer; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Louisiana, male
School: Studied Fine Arts History at LSU Shreveport in Louisiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"Importance Of Network Technician...
I was surprised at the amount of responsibility and importance of a Network Tech has with the operations within a company. I was also surprised at the hands on mechanical aspects, constant learning and changing technologies within this position." (Network Technician; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, male
School: Studied A+, Network+, Security+, Microsoft Office Specialist at Sullivan & Cogliano in Massachusetts; completed Certificate degree in 2010

"I work on contract for many intermediaries and have been surprised by the breadth of personalities you come across; some nice and some not so nice to work with. Also surprising was the IT skill level of the help desk personnel; some good and some not so good." (Computer Tech; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Oregon, male
School: Studied Accounting And Quantitative Methods at University Of Oregon in Oregon; completed Bachelor degree in 1984

"Managing Users, Not Computers...
No matter how much technical know-how you pick up in school, the most important thing that you can learn is how to manage customers/users. It may surprise you that users often lie about what they did to cause a problem; it's up to you to remedy it." (Technical Support; 2014)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, male
School: Studied Sociology at Tennessee Technological University in Tennessee; completed Bachelor degree in 2009

"Being Smarter Than The Next Guy Can Prove To Be Beneficial...
What surprises me is the amount of people that don't understand electrics and will go out and buy a new computer each time they are having problems with their current one, rather than try to fix it or have someone else do it for them. I personally like when they treat it as junk and just give it to you. One mans trash is another mans treasure. I can hardly believe the amount of electronics I'm able to save in my own household rather than tossing it out." (Computer Technician; 2013)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Circuitry Engineering at ITT Tech in Texas; completed Associate degree in 2008

"Google Makes Everything Easier...
Most people would be surprised that computer technicians Google quite a bit of the issues that come up. With the ease of access to information this greatly saves time for both the employee and customer." (Computer Technician; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Oklahoma, male
School: Studied Computer Information Systems at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Oklahoma; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Continual Learning Is Very Important In This Career...
Most people are surprised by the amount of work and continual learning that goes into a career in IT. As well as the amount of programming that needs to be learned in different programming languages." (IT Administration; 2013)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Computer Sciences at Lansing Community College in Michigan; completed Certificate degree in 1999

"Everyday Is A Learning Experience...
It was a surprise how much technology changes from day to day. Everyday there is something to learn. If you are looking to get in this field you need to get a couple good magazines that help you keep up to date with new technology. Also, this is a very competitive field and companies do not like to spend money." (IT Desktop And Network Support; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Computer Support IT at Kaplan Career Institute in Ohio; completed Diploma degree in 2011

"I was surprised how many people I would be meeting. I expected to be placed in a basement somewhere to work on computers, but I'm actually talking to a lot of customers to get their explanation of the problems they're having." (Computer Technician; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied Networking at Lehigh Valley College in Pennsylvania; completed Associate degree in 2008

"Skills Or Lack Of Skills Needed For Basic Help Desk Support...
How easy it actually is to get into computers and IT. It's not really a hard thing to do. If you want to get further into it, then yes it can be difficult and cumbersome, but basic Helpdesk is very simple." (IT Analyst; 2014)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Computer Information Systems at Buffalo State College in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2007

"Certifications Do Not Equal On The Job Experience...
Certification exams do little to prepare for job experience. When beginning a new job, listen very carefully and try not to interject or suggest alternative ways of completing a task." (Microcomputer Hardware Technician; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in North Dakota, male
School: Studied Microcomputer Hardware at Lake Region State College in North Dakota; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Psych Degree Useful In IT...
I am surprised at how well my degree in Psychology actually helps me with my current job. You wouldn't think it applies very well, but in reality it helps me deal with people that I assist!" (IT Technician; 2012)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, male
School: Studied Psychology at Colorado State University in Colorado; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"Better Interpersonal Skills Accelerate Career...
I was surprised about how much interpersonal skills play a part in my chosen profession. While in school and in the early years of my career I avoided the person-to-person skills and focused on gaining as much knowledge as possible. Looking back if I would have learned people skills first then computer skills I would probably be much further ahead in my field than I am currently." (Computer Technician; 2012)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in Oklahoma, male
School: Studied Applied Sciences - Computer Technology at Oklahoma City Community College in Oklahoma; completed Associate degree in 1999

"I was surprised how much of my job is just talking. I do about 95% talking and about 5 % working on some days." (Computer Tech Assistant; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Idaho, male
School: Studied Technology at All Hallows High School in New York; completed Diploma degree in 2011

"I was surprised to find the amount of patience involved in working in the Information Technology field. As much as the field is dominated by stereotypical anti-social people, it is incredibly useful to have patience for a wide variety of actions and emotions." (Computer Technician; 2012)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, male
School: Studied Computer Science at University Of Colorado in Colorado; completed Bachelor degree in 2005

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Lab Tech I: "The best part about my career is that I can do homework and study while I work. It is not a stressful job and does not require more skills than I already possessed from knowing how to work a computer. The worst part about my career is that is does not provide particularly relevant or useful work experience -- it will probably not help me find a better job in the future, and is not relevant to my ultimate career goals." (2011)

Lead Computer Technician Of School District: "The best part of my career is learning new and diverse strategies and technologies. Much of the technology experience I have gained at this one job and it covers many different fields such as telephone programming, cable installation, and server maintenance. The worst part of my career is finding time to take off for vacation because every school, department, and individual teacher relies on technology and needs to have zero down-time." (2011)

Computer Technician: "The best part of the job is the flexibility that I have when working on a customer's case. I have freedom and can do my job correctly without being pressured. However, the worst part of the job is running into those customers that can be both demanding and irritating. Some customers are naturally pleasant while others can make a simple job seem very difficult. They are not easy to satisfy, and are usually repeat customers that do not want to pay for my services." (2011)

Computer Technician: "The best part of my career is fixing a computer for someone who finds himself in a desperate situation -- for example, a graduate student whose dissertation is on a computer that just crashed. Such clients are often extremely grateful and relieved. The worst part of my job involves trying to figure out which parts to order when fixing a computer hardware problem. On older computers, exact part matches are sometimes not possible, which requires me to improvise and take a risk on ordering a part that might not work." (2011)

Owner Of Repair Shop: "The best thing about my job is that I am my own boss, and I can set my own ours. However, I also give 24/7 service plans which do restrict what I call "my own hours." But I do what I enjoy and I get paid to do it, so I think it's win-win. The worst thing about my job is dealing with customers who think that they know more about the problem than I do because they once "read it somewhere in a forum" and are always looking over your shoulder at what I'm are doing." (2011)

Career Background

Computer Technician

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Shell Scripting Is Important To Any Test Engineer...
If you want to be successful, be sure to focus some of your time learning your way around the Linux environment and learning how to bash script, as the skills will be invaluable to you." (Hardware Test Engineer; 2014)

"Be Multifaceted When Getting Into IT...
Try and pick a direction once you are sure you want to work in IT. Choose networking, software developer, or something that you can focus on instead of just IT." (IT Analyst; 2014)

"Detail Oriented...
If you would like to be a successful computer technician paying attention to detail is very important. Small things slip through the cracks and could make matters worse. This includes making sure you have everything finished that the customer asked for." (Computer Technician; 2014)

"Certifications, Certifications, And More Certifications...
The best career changers for this profession is certifications network+ and security+ are good ones. The A+ certification is now being looked over but it is good to have." (IT Desktop And Network Support; 2014)

"Learn About The Company Before Looking For A Career...
work for a company in a different position before applying for an IT position." (Computer Engineer; 2014)

"Expectations Of Employment...
If you want to be successful at what you do, practice patience. The job market may seem saturated, so in addition to formal training, you may have to take a basic position to build up your resume. If internships are available, they are invaluable-- nothing beats hands-on experience in this line of work." (Technical Support; 2014)

"Understand The Basics, Then Specialize...
Learn about as many different aspects of the job as possible. After learning the basics of all aspects of the job, specialize in one area, become the go to person regarding that subject." (Computer Hardware Support Analyst; 2013)

"Is IT For You...
Find an area you are strong with and focus on it, the rest will follow. If hardware is your specialty then that will set the foundation for everything else, and vice versa." (IT System Engineer; 2013)

"If You Do What You Enjoy, You Will Never Work A Day In Your Life...
The certifications I received are a strong backbone for furthering a career in many different directions in the IT industry. If this is the career you want to pursue and enjoy, you will always be learning and it won't feel like a job but more like a hobby." (Network Technician; 2013)

"Take The Job...
Take a job you might be surprised what you get!" (Field Tech; 2013)

Learn a language, python etc." (IT Support; 2013)

"Dealing With Stress Well Is Key To This Role...
If you want to be successful in IT Administration, make sure you are willing to continually adapt to new and stressful situations. Also make sure you have an immense passion for computers and programming." (IT Administration; 2013)

"Be Quiet And Listen...
Shut your mouth and listen. Be nice to people with less exposure." (Microcomputer Hardware Technician; 2013)

"Electronic Surgery...
If you can't devote your heart and soul to learning the trade, it isn't for you. There's more information in this field than any one person can retain. It's also rather satisfying, it's like being a doctor, but you don't have the added risk of feeling extremely guilty from losing a patient, maybe just a little, only short term if you fry something." (Computer Technician; 2013)

"Advantages In Computer Hardware Knowledge...
we use computers but most of the time the "software", but knowing hardware it complements computer knowledge. We understand internet buy we do not know how internet works physically, it is a new world." (Hardware Engineer; 2013)

"Know The Machines, And Keep Up With The Latest Technology...
Knowing all of the components of a computer and completely understanding how they work together is important before beginning work in this field. Subsequently, it is equally important to keep up with the latest technology so you do not fall behind in the field." (Computer Hardware Technician; 2013)

"Take A Public Speaking Class...
I would focus a bit on public speaking or speech classes. They will better prepare you for interviews, writing resumes, presenting yourself as a professional, and help build confidence working with others." (Hardware/Software Customer Support; 2013)

"Be Patient...
Working in a small area can be slow sometimes, but in time, the work picks up and you can get a really good business going." (Computer Technician; 2013)

"Learn Things Outside Of Class...
Have outside interests that coincide with engineering and IT. You might be only taught a few languages in college, but learn one or two more on the side. You might only use one type of micro board in college, but buy a demo kit from another company and see how it compares. Learn how to use Office programs and IDLEs, even if you didn't have to for your courses." (Engineering Intern; 2013)

"It's Easier Than It Seems...
Don't allow yourself to be too intimidated to try for a career in IT. It seems complicated at first, but it really is simple to learn, it's rewarding, and it's fun. Follow around people who know more than you do and learn from them." (Datacenter Technician; 2013)

"Good Negotiating Skills For Freelancers...
You should develop your negotiating and bidding skills because the buyers of your service want to pay you the least they can. You should be prepared to pay attention to details because some buyers can be deceptive towards the scope of the work." (Computer Tech; 2013)

"Thoroughly Check Out Your College...
Stick with your career and never give up. Having a good education is extremely important in society. Make sure you do a lot of research before you choose what school you will be attending." (Computer Tech; 2013)

"Keep Up With Certifications...
take time and keep current with certs in this field. after working for a company for 17+ years, I've found that when looking for something else I'm behind the rest of the pack in certifications. you are only helping yourself by staying current even if the company you work for does not require you to have the certs." (Senior Field Service Technician; 2013)

"Take Easier Courses When Taking Programming...
Although I do not have the patient personality to do programming, you will have to take at least one course to fulfill graduation requirements. That was the hardest course I have ever taken. I spent more time on that course than all of my other classes combined during that one semester. I suggest that when you do take this very hard programming course that the other classes are 'fluff' or easy courses. I remember programming as the most frustrating course I had. Wailing and gnashing of the teeth, crying like a baby when it did not compile. But this is for sure. Although you may never program again in your life a programming course will tighten up your thinking. Logic learn will spill over into other areas of your life including, relationships and debates. You will become a honed thinker and 'smarter'. Tough as it is, the pain and anguish is worth it because it improved my thinking the most rather that rote memory." (Computer Technician; 2013)

"Familiarize Yourself With Software...
It never hurts to learn how to use more software, or different kinds of software - you never know when you might need to know how to use a music editing program, or a photo editing program, or a slideshow presentation program. Being personable and getting experience in tutoring or teaching other people is widely transferable to many different jobs. Improving customer service skills, and being able to provide examples of superior customer service skills, is also a good action to consider." (Lab Tech I; 2011)

"Get A Broad Base Of Knowledge...
Take as many technology classes as you can in high school even if they are in a field that you don't think your pursued job will cover. Technology is inter-related and there will be bleed-over from one field to the next. Do not focus on only one narrow field. Immerse yourself in hardware and software maintenance and operation. This will make you more valuable. Strive to be organized as you will have many different projects running at the same time. Go to a community college and get a technology certification and find an entry level position. You will work your way up and learn on the job, which in this field is the best way to learn." (Lead Computer Technician Of School District; 2011)

"Get A Good Internship...
When beginning a career in technology, an individual will need to attend a college or a university. It is also very beneficial to get good grades while in school so that they can work as an intern during their earlier college years. Many companies offer internships that will pay a student while in school and potentially offer employment upon graduation. Someone in this field has to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies because technology changes and advances very quickly." (Computer Technician; 2011)

"How To Get Hands-On Experience...
Spend as much time reading about computer hardware and software as you can. Experiment on your own computer: try adding RAM or a new hard drive. Install more than one operating system on your computer and configure a dual-boot. Build your experience as a volunteer by offering to help maintain computers at your local library or school. Recognize that most computer science classes will not inform any of your work as a computer technician; hands-on experience is more valuable than anything else." (Computer Technician; 2011)

"You Can't Stop Learning...
About the best advice I could give is to never stop learning. This is a field where you can never stop reading up on the latest tech or threats or you'll be left in the dust. My second best piece of advice is to keep a schedule and stick to it. Never stand a customer up! One of the best ways to get more business is via recommendations and word of mouth, and a satisfied customer is one that will always recommend you to their friends. And my third piece of advice: arm yourself with patience and be courteous, no matter what! It doesn't matter if the customer is rude and nosy, you must always take into account that you are in the business to make money. you can always drop a difficult client, but always finish the job first and collect your fees. It is smart to avoid burning bridges; you never know when you might come across someone again." (Owner Of Repair Shop; 2011)