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PC Technician

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or information systems, or computer-related associate degree
Average Salary: $43,450 per year
Job Outlook: Good

A PC technician provides technical support, advice, and assistance to people or organizations using information technology. They diagnose and repair computer hardware or software-related problems. PC technicians are often involved in configuring or building new hardware, installing software, and maintaining computer networks within an organization.
PC technicians provide routine maintenance services and are responsible for keeping stock of inventory records for an organization’s computers, photocopiers, or printers.
PC technicians provide technical assistance on phone or through emails. They are responsible for troubleshooting problems specified by computer users. To resolve problems, they need to listen attentively to the issue, as described by the user. They need to diagnose the problem by asking questions and subsequently help resolve the problem.
PC technicians are also involved in writing training manuals or imparting training to the end users about any new computer hardware or software.

Education and Training Requirements

PC technicians typically need to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, or computer engineering. Though it is not mandatory to have a degree, most employers prefer to hire individuals with some form of college education. Some organizations may also hire individuals having a computer-related associate degree. At times, a college degree in any field is accepted, provided the candidate has the required technical expertise.
PC technicians are often trained on-the-job. This training can last several weeks or months depending on the nature and size of the organization.
Due to the rapid changes in technology and introduction of new technology, a career in computers needs constant involvement with education. Therefore, PC technicians are required to attend various professional training programs to be in constant touch with the latest introductions in the field of computers.

Getting the Job

PC technicians need to have the desired educational qualifications and relevant work experience to get the job. Some organizations hire PC technicians, right after they complete their college education and provide them with on-the-job training. Various other organizations might require candidates having specific certifications to demonstrate their proficiency in a product or a process.
PC technicians need to have good problem-solving skills. They need to have an analytical mind and excellent communication skills. They must be patient and keen listeners and should be willing to understand the problem with an open mind. Good interpersonal skills are imperative for the job of a PC technician as they constantly need to interact with computer users to troubleshoot problems.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The job prospects for PC technicians are good with a projected employment growth rate of 14% from 2008 to 2018. With the rapid advancement in technology and its deployment in organizations, the demand for PC technicians will continue to grow.
PC technicians can advance in their career to handle more complex and specific problems. They may even advance to management positions.
PC technicians can enhance their career prospects by getting additional certifications from reputed organizations. Some of the certifications that PC technicians can opt for are: Microsoft certifications (MCSE, MCDST, and MCSA), CompTIA Certifications (A+, Network+, and Server+), and Novell Network CAN certification.

Working Conditions and Environment

PC technicians work in well-lit and comfortable offices and laboratories. They normally work 40 hours per week. However, those involved in computer maintenance might need to work during evenings or weekends. PC technicians are often prone to eye strain, back problems, and hand and wrist injuries.

Salary and Benefits

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salaries for PC technicians were $43,450 in May 2008. This figure might vary depending on the individual’s experience, qualifications, and the size of the organization.

Where to Go for More Information

Association for Computer Machinery
2 Penn Plaza, Ste. 701
New York, NY 10121-0701
(212) 626-0500

IEEE Computer Society
2001 L St. N.W., Ste. 700
Washington, DC 20036-4928
(202) 371-0101

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesComputers, IT & Telecommunications