Hardware Information Technician Careers: Job Description & Salary

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Is a career as a hardware information technician right for you? Get real job duties, requirements, necessary skills and related career information to determine whether you wish to be a hardware information technician.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Hardware Information Technician

Hardware information technicians, also called computer support specialists, work in the field of information technology (IT). Read the following pros and cons to determine if this career is right for you:

Pros of Becoming a Hardware Information Technician
Anticipated job growth of 20% from 2012 and 2022*
Opportunities for advancement*
May enter the field with various educational backgrounds*
May work in any industry that uses computers*

Cons of Becoming a Hardware Information Technician
Continuing education may be required in order to current*
May have to work on nights and weekends*
Wages can be considerably lower than other computer occupations*
Travel may be required for some positions*

Source: *The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Information

Job Responsibilities and Duties

Hardware information technicians, or computer support specialists, offer employers the technical support necessary to run a large network of computers efficiently. Specific duties vary by the size and needs of a particular organization or entity at which an individual is employed. When a company wants to upgrade an entire network, for example, a hardware information technician physically replaces old computers, hardware and components with the new models. An information technician is usually also responsible for the upkeep of computer hardware, and in some situations, may give basic instruction on how to use certain hardware components.

Salary Information and Job Outlook

In May 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that computer user support specialists earned a median annual salary of about $47,000 (www.bls.gov). However, the BLS reports a considerable variance in earnings of hardware information technicians, as the top 90% earned around $80,000 and the lowest 10% earned less than $28,000 annually in 2014. The BLS also states that career opportunities are expected to increase 20% from 2012-2022. The most favorable job opportunities are expected in the healthcare industry as new system maintenance and installation are implemented.

Requirements for Becoming a Hardware Information Technician

Though it is not necessary for all hardware information technician positions, it helps to have a bachelor's degree in computer systems, information technology or a related field. A bachelor's degree may be required for more technical or advanced positions. Some employers require an associate's degree in information technology or coursework in fields related to computer hardware repair, installation and configuration.

What do Employers Look for?

Many hardware information technicians work autonomously, while others work on a team of IT professionals. They must be skilled in various areas, such as installation, troubleshooting, network setup and maintenance, virus removal and configuring a number of computer and telecommunications products. Hardware information technicians may be required to travel and be on-call after normal business hours. The following job postings found in April 2012 illustrate the various requirements from real employers:

  • A law firm in Maryland needs an information hardware technician with two years of experience. The primary responsibilities include setting up audio-visual equipment for occasional group presentations.
  • A charitable organization in California is looking for an IT hardware technician who will be responsible for inventory and asset management in addition to the company's technical needs. This position requires the individual to be on-call during weekends.
  • An IT services company in Maryland is looking for a candidate who has either Windows 7 or Microsoft Certified IT Professional certification. This individual must be able to work autonomously.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Job opportunities are expected to be best for those who have a bachelor's degree in addition to relevant work experience in the field. You may also increase your job prospects by staying current in the field of IT by completing additional formal education, such as certification programs or additional courses applicable to the field. Specific employers may have certification preferences, such as programming or computer operating system certifications.

Develop Related Skills

You can increase your job potential to prospective employers if you have additional job-related skills. Employers often look for candidates who are able to work autonomously. Hardware information technicians also need to be flexible and learn new skills and technical equipment as technology advances. Some traits that employers may value include:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to think creatively
  • Ability to prioritize and complete tasks efficiently
  • Knowledgeable about current systems

Alternative Career Paths

If you wish to remain in the field of IT but want to earn a higher salary, you might consider becoming a computer programmer. These positions generally require a bachelor's degree, although some positions are available at the associate's degree level. Computer programmers are responsible for writing the computer code which enables software programs to operate. In May 2011, the BLS indicated that computer programmers earned a median annual salary of around $73,000. The BLS reports that this career is expected to grow 12% from 2010 and 2020.

If you are interested in a career with a better job outlook, you may consider becoming a database administrator. These professionals use computer software in order to safely store information for companies. Generally, database administrators need a bachelor's degree in database administration or a related degree, while some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree in the IT field. In May 2011, the BLS stated that database administrators earned a median annually salary of approximately $75,000. The BLS estimates that this career is expected to grow 31% from 2010 and 2020.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Full Sail University

    Program Options

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      • Bachelor of Science - Software Development
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    2. Herzing University

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      • B.S. - Software Development With No Declared Minor or Concentration
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    3. Northcentral University

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    4. Colorado Technical University

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    5. Penn Foster High School

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  • Rochester, NY

    Rochester Institute of Technology

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    7. CDI College

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    Lake Superior College

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • Bachelor of Science - Software Development
  • B.S. - Mobile Development

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • B.S. - Software Development With No Declared Minor or Concentration
  • B.S. - Software Development: Computer Programming Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Software Development

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Business Admin - Management of Engineering and Technology
  • Doctor of Business Admin - Management of Engineering and Technology
  • MS Technology and Innovation Management Engineering Management
  • MBA - Management of Engineering and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Master: Computer Engineering
  • MS - Systems Engineering
  • BS - IT - Software Systems Engineering

Are you a US citizen?

Penn Foster High School

  • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
  • HS Diploma

What is your age?

CDI College

  • Diploma in Programmer Analyst / Internet Solutions Developer LEA.9C (Programmeur-Analyste Orient Internet LEA.9C)

What year did you graduate high school?

Rend Lake College