How to Start a Career As a Computer Repair Technician
Computers: we can’t live without them, and we can’t get anything done if they break. Computers are crucial to most of today’s businesses, nonprofits, and government organizations—and when they malfunction, panic ensues. As a computer repair technician, you’re well placed to be the hero of the story—one day you might be saving a college student’s term paper, the next you could be rescuing a Fortune-500 company’s annual report.
If you want to get a start in this valuable and much-appreciated career, here are a few steps you should take.
1. Take Classes
An Associate’s degree is often the minimum requirement for this type of work, especially if you’re working for a large company rather than a local repair shop. Some schools offer these degrees specifically in repair, but many employers will accept degrees in computer science, information systems, or other computer-related subjects. Some employers require a Bachelor’s degree.
Computer repair programs generally include classes on computer hardware and servicing; DOS, UNIX and other common operating systems; basic software installation, troubleshooting, and administration; and problem-solving for peripherals such as modems, printers, and other equipment.
See Also: Online Degrees in Database Technology
2. Get Certified
There are dozens of certifications available for people in the IT sector, and while they are not required, they can give you an edge over other applicants who don’t have them. Many Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree programs include certification as part of the course.
For some positions, and particularly if you’re looking to start your own business, you don’t necessarily need a two-year or four-year degree to work. You can get certified by taking a learn how to repair computers course. If you don’t have a degree, you can still be a competitive candidate with work experience and professional certification. Certifications and training programs that are valuable for repair technicians include A+ certification courses, computer repair certification, and computer security courses training.
3. Get Some Experience
Once you’ve earned your credentials, it’s time to start looking for your first jobs. Depending on your situation, you have several options. If you already have a job in another field, you could volunteer to help handle any computer problems that come up just to gain experience. If your supervisor is sympathetic to your career goals, you could find yourself a candidate for a computer repair technician’s job within your current company. If your heart is set on starting your own business right away, you could still list your former employer as a past client.
If you’re currently unemployed or if you want to leave your current job, start looking for employment with a local repair shop or with a chain repair company such as Geek Squad. Smaller, individually-owned firms might be more willing to hire employees with limited experience; many small repair shops are run by one or two people who are always happy to find reliable and skilled help.
If you have trouble finding someone to hire you right after earning certification, you may want to build up your experience by volunteering to handle computer problems for nonprofits and religious organizations. You usually won’t get paid, but you will get valuable experience—and you’ll be able to list the people you help on your resume. Do this for a while, and you’ll be able to build up a resume that looks experienced and qualified.
4. Start Your Computer Repair Business
If you’d rather go the self-employment route than work for a company, it’s often best to start small. Target individuals and small businesses rather than large organizations, and make sure you have enough in the bank to support yourself for six to nine months before you strike out on your own. Clients—particularly corporate clients—often expect their repair technicians to be available to provide tech support during business hours, so this can be a difficult venture to juggle with a full-time job.
If you’re the person your friends and family turn to when they experience computer trouble, you may have a future as a computer repair technician. There are plenty of opportunities in this field, including working for a local repair shop, finding work in a large corporate IT department, or starting your own business. With the right certification and training, you’ll be able to make yourself indispensable to employers and clients alike.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Computer Support Specialists and Systems Administrators
College Board: Computer Repair Technicians
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