Technical officers plan and coordinate activities in fields such as construction, information technology and engineering. Although the specific duties of technical officers vary by workplace, they typically focus on ensuring that an organization’s systems and facilities function efficiently. This career is suitable for professionals with superior technical abilities.
Doing the Work
Strong analytical and problem-solving skills are important for technical officers because they must provide solutions to a variety of technical issues. For example, when an organization’s computer network crashes, its information technology officer must analyze the problem and determine the best way to solve it. Technical officers obviously need strong technical skills and expertise to test, diagnose and repair devices. In addition, they need teamwork skills to collaborate effectively with other professionals such as maintenance technicians or system analysts.
The primary role of a technical officer depends on the specific job. For example, a maintenance technical officer in charge of supervising a company's facilities might schedule the maintenance and repair of HVAC equipment, inspect the buildings to ensure they are safe for use and supervise the work of electrical contractors. On the other hand, an IT technical officer might arrange for the installation and configuration of computer hardware, software, networks and systems. He also maintains records of software licenses and supervises junior engineering staff and technical workers.
When technical officers are not overseeing schedules, they use their expertise to give hands-on support to workers. For instance, when an employee has a problem with newly installed software, she can call the company’s IT officer for support. When there is an electrical fault and the maintenance contractor is unavailable, the maintenance technical officer gets down to work and repairs or replaces the faulty electrical components. Technical officers also use maintenance management systems to store the organization’s maintenance data.
To become a technical officer, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree related to the field you want to specialize in. For example, aspiring maintenance technical officers might earn bachelor’s degrees in construction science or electrical engineering, while aspiring IT technical officers can obtain degrees in computer science or information technology. Career advancement opportunities are available for technical officers with vast work experience and advanced degrees. Maintenance technical officers with a master’s degree in electrical engineering, for instance, might become chief maintenance engineers. IT officers with a master’s degree in computer science might become chief technical officers.