Computer repair technicians perform services for individuals, companies, government, educational and other institutions. They can be found in retail stores, office buildings and hospitals. Most computer repair shops carry specialized tools and components for computer repair and maintenance. The most common computer repair tools include screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, wire strippers and thermal tools. Basic computer repair skills can be learned with classroom instruction and on-the-job training.
A computer technician’s typical day includes repairing and maintaining personal computers and related equipment. Most computer repair technicians work at home, completing work after the client leaves. Computer repair services cover a wide range of areas, including network setup and maintenance, memory troubleshooting, hard drive problems, data recovery and software updates. Because of the relative short life of this profession, many establishments offer basic certification and degree programs tailored to train new technicians, while other experienced and highly trained technicians often perform computer repair services in retail stores, offices and hospitals. Network setup is a basic requirement for most computer repair services. Often, a wireless router or network switch is needed to connect to a computer.
Technical support specialists provide computer repair and maintenance to a company’s technicians and other personnel. The duties of these personnel may vary, depending on the company’s needs. Some support specialists deal with sales, ordering replacement parts and reviewing service and troubleshooting manuals. Other specialists may help troubleshoot hardware and software issues.
As with all careers, qualifications required to become a computer repair technician require at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. Most technical support companies require applicants to pass an approved national examination called the CCNA or CCNP. Applicants with a score of at least 620 are considered eligible to take the CCNA exam. To qualify, students must have taken classes such as VECS or VTP courses. There are also several certifications available that are related to this field, including those offered by Cisco, Microsoft, Belkin, Sun Microsystems and many others.
Many computer repair technicians specialize in specific computer hardware or software packages. Some specialize in particular brands, models of a computer system. In most cases, repair specialists work on PCs and laptops. They often work remotely, so they often handle multiple units at one time.
A computer hardware repair technician works to diagnose and fix hardware problems using a specialized tool known as an FPGA or field programmable logic interface card. With this tool, technicians are able to troubleshoot problems with hard drives, memory sticks, hard disk drives, floppy disks and many others. To be certified as a computer repair technician, one must pass the Certified Information Technology Industry Association (CITIA) examination. The exams are divided into two sections, the Information Security Management System (ISYS) section and the System Administration and Maintenance for Information Technology (SAMI) section.
For computer users who need help with their operating systems or with troubleshooting hardware problems, a technical support technician can also be sought after. This type of repair technician usually works on desktop computers, such as desktops. The tasks that they perform typically include installation and recovery of software packages, configuration or reinstalling hardware, and repairs of multimedia devices such as digital cameras and CD/DVD drives.
Computer repair may seem like a niche business, but it is far from trivial. Many problems can result in lost data, time wasted trying to understand what went wrong, and a lack of confidence in the ability to perform basic troubleshooting themselves. Therefore, it is important for computer users to not only to be able to use repair tools effectively, but also to understand how to best seek help when needed.