A computer repair technician is someone who installs, analyzes, repairs and maintains many different types of computer equipment, or may specialize in working on networks or servers. Technology is continually evolving, therefore the technician has to keep up to date in order for him be able to analyze and troubleshoot each specific job.
Computer repair technicians take malfunctioning computer hardware and software, then perform the necessary steps to diagnose and ensure the systems are returned to a usable state. Technicians also build and assemble personal computers and servers, and may set up local area networks of computers and other related devices.
Computer repair technicians mainly deal with the hardware components of a computer, but sometimes are called upon to install or replace drives, memory, and cards. A computer repair technician may be required to build a system from components and load the operating system software on to the hard disk. He will then locate and install the necessary programs, called drivers, that allow the operating system software to work with the hardware.
A computer repair technician will also work with the software of computers. This is usually the operating system software. Computers may get viruses or other malware infections, and a computer repair technician may be called upon to remove the offending programs. If the operating system software doesn't function and cannot be repaired, the technician will usually back up the user's data if possible, and format the hard disk with a new copy of the operating system.
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A career as a computer repair technician can be very rewarding, and requires someone with the following traits:
A Logical Mindset
- Computers are logical devices, and critical thinking skills are necessary to make appropriate decisions on how to solve a particular computer problem.
- Continually learn how things work. Computer technicians usually like what they do and have a passionate interest in computer technology. Given the continually changing nature of computers and technology, new technologies emerge and require continual learning.
- Diagnosing and repairing computer problems can be a time-consuming process.
- The technician must have the ability to explain to the end user what the problem is, the solution, and how to prevent problems in the future without the use of too much technical jargon that will confuse the user.
A Positive Attitude
- Someone who has computer problems may have attempted to solve the situation on their own to no avail. They may become angry and frustrated. A positive attitude is a necessity when dealing with people.
To be a computer repair technician requires at least a high school diploma. However, many technicians have a two-year associates degree from an accredited college, or a diploma from a technical institute. To work in many shops or organizations, a technician will also require an A+ certification.
The A+ certification is an internationally accepted, vendor neutral, certificate awarded by the Computer Technology Industry Association or CompTIA. Having an A+ certification shows that the computer repair technician has competency in troubleshooting, preventative maintenance, installation, networking, and security aspects of the computers they service.
There are two exams that require passing before a technician can become A+ certified. There is the essentials exam (220-701) and the practical applications exam (220-702). The essentials exam covers basic material expected of an entry level IT professional with 500 hours of field or laboratory training. The second exam utilizes a more interactive approach to demonstrate competency focused on scenarios where the technician proposes the correct solution. The tests are multiple choice and they are adaptive. CompTIA requires that the A+ certification be renewed every three years.
Education and certification are important, but in many cases previous work experience is necessary in order to land employment in the field. Many organizations that hire technicians expect them to have some level of hands on work experience in addition to certification and education. One way of getting relevant work experience is by becoming a volunteer and offering technical services to a non-profit organization. This will enable the technician to hone his/her skills and gain valuable work references for potential employers.
Computer repair technicians usually work in store front shops, corporate information technology departments, government offices and hospitals among other places. These places tend to be well lit and climate controlled offices or store front work bench areas. Technicians may also be required to perform their repairs on-site in a number of different environments including industrial settings, commercial offices or residences. Many experienced computer repair technicians may work freelance, or as consultants, and operate out of a home office and go on-site for their clients.