I am a computer technician with over 20 years experience. I analyze, diagnose and repair computer hardware and software.
It would be nice if the customers could identify the components that make up their computers. It’s amazing how many people believe the monitor is the actual computer.
I’d rate my job at about a 9 and a half out of 10. A better economy would mean more business, which means more money to be made. I like being busy. I get paid for my hobby. A man who loves what he does doesn’t work a day in his life. I feel like this is what I was meant to do. I was fortunate in that I was able to move a hobby into a profession via training.
I got started by being a hobbyist and spending more and more time at the computer store. One day the owner asked if I wanted to work there. I did and got more and more experience and the owner paid for my training. The only thing I would change is I’d have gone to college for it straight from high school instead of waiting.
I learned a lot of stuff the hard way in this job. Lesson number one: Check the basics first. I learned this when a system came in that I spent 18 hours working on, when the cause was simply a loose cable on the motherboard.
The working world is constantly changing. Lifetime careers today could be a part time job tomorrow. Always hedge your bets and save your money, because you never know what the future will bring.
I have many stories about strange things that happen, but this one tops the list. I built and sold a computer for a woman and sent it home with her. Two days later she called me up because the computer was no longer working. I found a bad motherboard and replaced it. 2 days later, she calls back with the same problem. Once again the motherboard was replaced. 2 days after that, when she once again called with the same problem, I went out on site to see if it was something environmental. Once in her computer room the problem was apparent – every square inch of her computer was covered with magnets. This woman collected them and thought they looked good on her computer, unaware of the negative effects of magnets on computer equipment.
I get up and go to work each day because you never know what’s going to walk through the door next. When someone comes in with a system they fear they cannot afford to fix, and it only takes a moment to solve the problem, it makes me feel good.
Every laptop and computer these days is different. Customers don’t understand that you don’t have the parts for all of them in the back room. Sometimes parts need to be ordered to fix the problem. You have to be able to calm stressed out customers and deal with them in a respectful way. You have to approach issues in a way that instills confidence in your abilities with the customer and allows you to maintain your reputation within the business. There have been customers that have made me want to pull my hair out.
There are days on the job that are very easy going. There are also high stress days. There was once a movie company in town that needed an emergency laptop repair. Production was stalled while waiting for me to finish fixing that laptop. They were standing over me while I did the work, which tends to be very stressful. The good news is you can manage your own workload to accommodate for such things. It also allows for a good work/life balance as you can work as long or short hours as you want with this job.
Rough salary range for a computer technician is $10-$85 an hour. I'm happy with my income. I also take 2 weeks of vacation a year, which is enough for me. If I could write my own ticket, I’d own a chain of computer stores in 5 years.
To get hired and succeed in this field, you must have A+ and NET+ certification. A college degree in computer design or electronics is extremely helpful. Experience is a MUST, even unpaid internships. Someone fresh out of school can’t just sit down and do this job. There are nuances (noises, diagnosis clues, etc.) to it you cannot learn in the classroom. If you are interested, get the course work as well as some hands on experience. Make sure you enjoy it before you go into this line of work.