I’ve been a computer technician for almost 20 years and this is a very common question that I get, Is becoming a laptop and desktop tech worth it and in my opinion it is, but it really depends on your life goals and what kind of income you are trying to get, it also depends on the level of passion that you have with computer hardware and software, being a PC Technician can be a good career and you can make good money if you work for the right company and also if you create a client base where you can charge people for your time.
According to Payscale, in average a certified tech support tech can earn around $15 dollars per hour or an annual salary of $26 to $55 thousand US dollars, now these kinds of salaries will vary depending on where you live and the quality of life will also vary depending on your area, in some places $15 dollars an hour can be considered great money, where in some areas $26 dollars per hour could be not enough for you to be able to afford a good life, the key for you to earn a good salary as a computer support specialist is going to be a great resume and also have certifications, Network+ and A+ are two of the basic certifications that any computer tech should have if you want to get started.
Here is the Payscale Salary Data:
If you want to get certified, you can find Comptia Certifications below:
What are the daily duties of a PC Technician?
Not only have a I worked for my own business in the Tech Industry, I have also worked for major corporations and even though there are different daily duties based on each company, there are also daily tasks that will apply for almost every company, if we are talking about working for a corporation these are some of the everything things that you will be working on.
- Desktop and Laptop upgrades – Most companies have a 3 to 5 year replacement cycle.
- Taking multiple calls a day to resolve issues over the phone
- Maintain laser printers and copiers, some companies even require PC Tech’s to replace toner cartridges and install maintenance kits.
- Manage hardware inventory and create tickets for each issue that you worked on.
- Do Level I Network Admin troubleshooting and setup of Networked Devices
- Troubleshoot, Maintain and Repair additional devices like Smart Phones and Tablets.
These are just some of the basic tasks that a computer technician will have to perform on the day to day basis, now as you gain experience you have the opportunity to become a Level II Support Tech, in this case you are going to be involved in other tasks like setting up Telecommunications and Phones, you will be working more on higher complexity issues and you will be more involved with the Applications and Systems Administration team, the more experience you acquire the higher your salary will likely be.
Now, working as a Tech Support Rep will also bring in customers that will be happy to pay you for your services to work on their home computers, this will bring additional money because a lot of people need a home network setup, a computer got infected or they may ask you to build a desktop for them, there are many things that you can do to promote your services as well, there is a good salary to be made if you leverage your knowledge and services.
Getting training and becoming a computer technician
As I mentioned, getting your A+ Certification and your Network+ will be key for you to be able to get a job in tech support, if you did not go to College you can still get a job in this industry as long as you have some kind of experience or an associates degree, if you do not have any kind of training or experience you want to obtain knowledge by buying your own parts and working on your own computers. You can start by going to TigerDirect and buying a bare bones computer and buying parts for it and making it post, once you do that then you can install an operating system and configure it, this is knowledge that will help you if you do get a job interview, if you are a more experience tech you can also start your own tech support business and gain experience that way, this job does not really require a College Degree and as long as you have a way to prove that you can do this job you should have no issues getting a job. Once you are hired make sure to stay in your position for at least 3 years and getting as many certifications as you can, this will help you with future jobs if you decide to go to another company.
What are the best tools that computer techs use?
Part of your job will be working on hardware and software and you are going to need to learn how to troubleshoot and resolve issues, these issues can vary and you will be using different tools that will help you get your users systems up and running, there are software based diagnostic tools and there is also hardware tools that you will need, here are some of the most common issues that you will be working on, both hardware and software.
- Failed hard drives, over heating computers and mouse and keyboard replacements
- Laser printer troubleshooting like paper jams, maintenance kit installation and parts installations
- Damaged laptop keyboards and cracked laptop and tablet screens
- Failed or corrupt Windows installations or bad Microsoft Office applications
- Network connectivity issues and VPN user account lock outs or password expiration
These are just a few of the issues that you are going to be working on as a tech support agent, as simple as this may sound, your most common tool will be a magnetized screw driver, you want to make sure to purchase a kit with multiple bit sizes and different thicknesses, you are also going to be using a lot of wire cutters and anti static straps.
Now, when it comes to software tools, you are going to find out that Microsoft Windows offers many tools that will help you resolve most issues, in many cases a repair of the software will fix a bad installation, a disk clean up will free up space or in some extreme cases, reinstalling or doing a system restore will fix most common Windows issues, as far as virus removals I usually use Malwarebytes to get rid of most malicious applications.
What the cons of being a PC Support Technician?
Ok, now it is time for the cons of being a computer technician and the first thing that can come to my mind is that it is a very labor intensive job, believe it or not this job requires a lot of work, physical work, you are going to be lifting up printers, carrying monitors and computer all over the place, you are going to be walking everywhere in the building and you are going to be tired at the end of your day, this is not a job for someone who wants to sit all day in front of a computer looking at data, unless you work in a call center, you are going to be moving all day long.
Also the stress levels can be high at times, you are going to be under a lot of pressure from Supervisors and Management to get systems back up and running, in some cases it will not be up to you to fix something but you are going to be the one contacting a Network or Systems Admin, if you are not able to resolve issues in a timely manner you could possibly lose your job, specially in tickets that are high priority.
Finally, you are going to quickly learn that you are not the highest paid person in your I.T department, Software Developers, Database Administrators and Systems Administrators can be at their desks running reports or queries and they will be making possibly twice what you make, it can be frustrating because you are going to be doing most of the hard work and they are going to be the ones getting paid, at the end of the day I still consider this an amazing job and I highly recommend that if you have the passion for hardware and software to give it a shot!