How to Become a Computer Technician

To become a computer technician requires a range of skills and motivations. The description "computer technician" covers a large range of professional activities in some of the most advanced employment and career modes in history. The IT industry is creating career possibilities that evolve exponentially.

Education and training

The skills involved in being employed as a computer technician aren't well defined. In the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer technician qualifications range from those not formally qualified through various forms of certification to people with multiple degrees. In practice, the benchmark qualification is the Bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems.

In the employment market, while certain levels of skills fit certain jobs, for career purposes professional computer technicians require formal qualifications and certifications across a range of competencies.

A typical CV of qualifications will read:

  • Bachelor of Computer science
  • Certification of competency on major industry platforms like Adobe, Microsoft, etc.
  • Certification of competency on major servers
  • Certifications from industry providers on systems operations
  • Programming qualifications in several computer languages

If this level of qualification looks like it takes a while to obtain and relates directly to career needs and job requirements, it does. The reason for the apparently endless certifications is that these competencies are primary issues within the IT industry. They're widely used as known quantities to define skill levels, and in some cases they're essential criteria for employment.

The experience issue

The other defining characteristic of the computer technician's career is the very high value of experience. Computer technicians work on the front line of all aspects of computer science and IT from the help desk to system design and development. The unspoken element in the requirements for qualifications is the fact that working efficiently with complex software and hardware requires excellent skills and experience.

The most effective career tools a computer technician can have relate to credentials based on a range of experience in major industry platforms. Computer technicians deal with operational realities as problem solvers and fixers. An experienced help desk operator or system administrator can locate, analyze and remedy system situations at mind boggling speed. They know what needs doing, which makes them valuable commodities to employers.

The career track

That basic requirement for experience applies further up the scale at all support levels, and directly affects career options. The career track for computer technicians works like a normal career progression, but the range of jobs, job options and career moves is much more diverse.

This is a very basic career track:

  • IT systems administrator
  • Help desk support
  • Supervisor Help desk
  • Senior systems administrator
  • Manager, IT systems

Even without specifying the types of systems, you can see that someone who starts with a Bachelor of Information Systems will naturally need quite a range of certifications, experience, and in some cases management qualifications as well.

The computer technician's career is very much a matter of personal choice. Many computer technicians effectively make their own careers, run their own businesses, and become advanced systems consultants at a very young age. It's a career for individuals who can create their own parameters for their professions.