Pros of a Career as a Computer Systems Technician
Computer systems technicians, sometimes referred to as computer support specialists, provide technical support and assistance for software, hardware and computer systems in the public and private sector. Consider the pros and cons of becoming a computer systems technician to determine if this position is right for you.
|Pros of a Career as a Computer Systems Technician|
|Some positions only require an associate's degree*|
|You can prepare for this career through a variety of degree programs (e.g., computer engineering technology, data processing, telecommunications technology and computer science)*|
|Work is usually full-time and may not require one to follow a traditional 9-to-5 schedule**|
|Some positions allow you to work from home**|
|Cons of a Career as a Computer Systems Technician|
|Additional training may be required in order to remain up-to-date on new software applications*|
|May have to work with difficult clients or coworkers if the role is more support-oriented*|
|Some jobs may require at least five years of experience*|
|Extensive time spent in front of computers and on the phone*|
Source: *iSeek.org, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Essential Career Information
If you think that a career as a computer systems technician is something that you are interested in, you will need to be prepared to work with people as well as computers. Depending on your exact job title and assigned duties you may be responsible for a wide range of responsibilities. For example, you may be responsible for using diagnostic software programs to discover the causes of computer hardware problems. You may also be in charge of the installation, repair, cleaning and modification of all software and hardware systems in the company network.
If your career focuses on systems management, you may be referred to as a network or systems administrator. This position requires that you know how to design, install and support a firm's computer systems. In this case, you will also be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of wide-area-and local-area networks, as well as Internet and intranet systems.
The average salary for a computer systems technician will vary based on the exact responsibilities that are assigned. For example, computer network support specialists earned an average of about $66,000 in 2014, according to the BLS. In the same year, professionals who worked in network and computer systems administration averaged about $80,000. The BLS predicted that computer support specialists occupations would see a 17% increase in employment between 2012 and 2022.
Education and Training Requirements
Employers may require that you have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems in order to work as a computer systems technician. If you have an associate's degree, along with professional experience, you may be able to pursue entry-level positions in customer service, computer systems administration or technical support.
You may also want to become certified through various software and hardware programs that will prove you are knowledgeable of their products and processes for use in the field. In addition to telecommunications, computer and electronics knowledge, other important skills used by these technicians include:
- Time management
What Employers Are Looking for
Computer systems technicians have a variety of job titles and are employed in many industries. Employers are looking for technicians with strong computer and customer service skills. Available job postings for April 2012 reflect the following:
- In Maryland, a small business is looking for a computer technician/network administrator who is capable of maintaining and installing all network servers and systems in the company. Applicants should have an associate's degree or certificate in computer technology, as well as at least five years of related experience.
- A Massachusetts company is looking for a computer technician who can manage the help desk in the office and also perform field service duties on the road as needed. Minimum qualifications for this position include professional certification, such as the Certified Netware Administrator (CAN) credential or an associate's degree from a related field, including engineering or computer technology.
- An information technology company in Florida is seeking a qualified candidate that has industry-recognized certification, strong customer support skills and at least a year of computer remedy experience. This job also requires that the candidate manage hardware and software for the company.
How to Make Your Skills Stand Out
If you are looking to make your skills stand out to potential employers in a field that has a strong potential for growth, you will need to enhance your people skills as well as your technical skills. Even if you work more on the database management side of the profession rather than the technical support one, you will still need to interact with people daily. You may also consider pursuing professional certification, such as the Certified Network Systems Technician, Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) or A+ credentials.
Other Careers to Consider
If you are looking for another option in the same industry that requires a similar amount of education there are other career options that you can consider. For example, you may be interested in a career as a software or electronic engineer. These positions generally require only a bachelor's degree in most cases and may not have as much customer service or support to issue. The salary potential for these engineers is also higher. For example, the BLS reported that in 2011 that software engineers who worked with computer applications earned an average of about $88,000.
If office life does not seem for you, you may want to work behind-the-scenes in the computer world as a software developer or tester. This career can help you develop and implement new software applications. The average salary for systems software developers was about $100,000 in 2011.