Computer technicians typically work in support positions, taking care of users’ computer problems. They work anywhere from the backroom of a large corporation to the front help lines for computer manufacturers and software companies. Every industry needs computer techs in some capacity. In 2010, they made a median income of $46,260, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
You may not need a degree to land a computer technician job, although some companies may require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or at least network certifications. One of your primary duties however, is to keep up with changes that affect your company’s IT systems. You’ll be involved in everything from installing new systems to troubleshooting and repairing existing networks. Ongoing training may occur at work, through the network provider, or at off-site seminars and workshops.
A big part of your job is to install new hardware and software. In addition to working for an IT department in one company under the supervision of the network administrator, you also could find work with a sub-contractor who installs and troubleshoots network systems for small businesses. Computer techs also work independently, since many small business owners and individuals need assistance installing and setting up new computer systems.
In a big company, the IT department is on call for a wide range of issues that employees have with their computers. While you may be able to analyze those issues from your own computer with network access, you may have to interact with other users throughout the company on a regular basis. The job calls for a significant amount of patience with users who don’t understand the technology the company employs, but who do rely on that technology every day to do their jobs. Similarly, as a freelancer or outside contractor, you can expect to be on call for your clients.
When you work as a computer tech on a help line, you have to listen to your callers’ issues and try to figure out how to solve their problems. You may have to prompt callers with the appropriate questions to get to the bottom of their problems. At other times, you may find yourself on the line with a frustrated and angry customer. It’s your job to remain polite and turn the call over to a supervisor if you can’t calm the caller down. Once you’ve figured out the problem, then it’s your duty to walk the caller through the procedures he needs to perform to solve his problem.
2016 Salary Information for Computer Support Specialists
Computer support specialists earned a median annual salary of $52,550 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, computer support specialists earned a 25th percentile salary of $40,120, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $68,210, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 835,400 people were employed in the U.S. as computer support specialists.