How to Become a Technical Engineer
Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Trying to solve computer problems are enough to make most people pull their hair out in despair. Thankfully, technical engineers exist to repair hardware or software problems before the office goes bonkers. Technical engineers work in all types of industries. To become a technical engineer, you must gain an education and continue training throughout your career. As a technical engineer, you can enjoy helping other people, while earning a livable wage and facing a future filled with job opportunities.
About Technical Engineers
Technical engineers, also called IT support engineers and tech support specialists, repair software and hardware problems in computers. If you have worked in an office, it is likely that you have called the company help desk, and have patiently waited for a tech support or an IT rep to rescue you from a maddening computer problem.
Tech support specialists do much more than respond to computer users’ tech problems, however. They install computer operating systems, set up and maintain document archives, troubleshoot network servers, update computer programs and carry out scheduled computer and network maintenance. They also train computer users on new programs and equipment, set up printer networks, manage network user permissions and oversee email accounts.
As the world becomes increasingly computerized, the work of IT support engineers expands in all directions. Some technical engineers support point-of-sale payment systems for retail chains. Others handle computer issues in cars and aircraft. Today, tech support specialists work in most industries, from the financial sector to manufacturing, retail to the military. Some technical engineers work in contract positions, while others hold permanent positions.
Technical Support Education Requirements
Although some employers hire technical support technicians who hold associate’s degrees, most look for candidates who have earned bachelor’s degrees in fields such as computer science, business systems engineering, computer software development or computer networking.
Due to the rapid development of computer software and hardware, technical support technicians typically must take continuing education classes and participate in product-based training throughout their careers.
Technical Engineer Certifications
You do not need a license to work as a technical engineer. However, earning certifications can help boost your career. Technology companies offer certifications for software and hardware products. For example, a technical engineer might earn a Windows expert certification awarded by Microsoft. Likewise, a technical engineer might seek certification from Intel for servicing computer processors.
IT Support Engineer Qualifications
IT support engineers must have certain professional and personal skills in order to succeed. They must have a customer-focused attitude, which requires empathy and patience when dealing with computer users.
They must have good listening skills to understand customers’ computer problems and good verbal communication skills to explain the solutions to customers.
Support engineers must have good memories to recall details of computer operating systems and good problem-solving skills to identify and repair technical problems.
Tech Support Specialist Salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tech support specialists earned a median salary of around $50,000 in 2017. The median salary represents the center of the tech support job scale. Low earners took home around $30,000, while workers at the top of the pay scale made more than $83,000. Software publishing companies paid the highest wages, according to the BLS.
An internet search of tech support jobs reveals that pay varies significantly by company. For example, a Google job posting advertises a tech support salary of $77,000 per year, whereas Sprint offers a tech support job, which pays $29,000. Likely, the actual jobs might differ from each other significantly in technical requirements and in the actual job duties. One job might be a senior position that might involve coding and software development, and the other job might be a help desk position.
Technical Engineer Job Outlook
According to the BLS, opportunities for technical engineers should increase by about 11 percent from now until 2026. The BLS expects the greatest job growth for technical engineers in the computer systems design and health care industries.
Michael Evans’ career path has taken many planned and unexpected twists and turns, from TV sports producer to internet project manager to cargo ship deckhand. He has worked in numerous industries, including higher education, government, transportation, finance, manufacturing, journalism and travel. Along the way, he has developed job descriptions, interviewed job applicants and gained insight into the types of education, work experience and personal characteristics employers seek in job candidates. Michael graduated from The University of Memphis, where he studied photography and film production. He began writing professionally while working for an online finance company in San Francisco, California. His writings have appeared in print and online publications, including Fox Business, Yahoo! Finance, Motley Fool and Bankrate.