9 Tips to Help You Become a Computer Technician

Getting your first job as an entry level computer technician can be difficult.  This is especially true for someone with no experience.  The job market for computer techs is very crowded and there are lots of new people trying to get in.  Before you decide to enter the market yourself, you need to gain a competitive edge.  In this article, I would like to share with you 9 tips that will help you gain some experience and set yourself apart from the crowd.

Learn Where to Find the Answers

Being a good tech doesn’t necessarily mean knowing all the answers but it does mean knowing where to find them.  Google is your best friend.  Study the Google Cheat Sheet and learn how to effectively use operators.  For example, putting quotes around a specific error message and searching for it will usually lead you to articles on how to fix it.

 

Build a Computer

If you want to be a computer tech then you need to learn how to build a computer from the ground up.  Even if you don’t have the money, put one together with any spare parts you can find.  And be sure to install Windows on it after it’s up.  You will be doing a lot of this when you finally do become a tech.  For step by step instructions, check out How to Build a Computer.

 

Break Your Computer

No, not physically, but feel free to destroy your Windows installation and then attempt to repair it.  I learn the most when I have hands on experience with troubleshooting problems and so will you.  Just make sure you have your recovery disks and a good backup first.

 

Get Your A+ Certification

The CompTIA A+ Certification is one of the most widely sought after certifications for entry level tech jobs.  Many IT recruiters look at this certification as validation that you at least know the basics of being a computer technician.  To become A+ Certified, you must pass two exams which cost around $160 a piece but it is well worth it.  Check out Cramsession.com for free study guides and training material.

 

Go to School

I can’t stress this one enough.  Even if you don’t want to go into a four year program, at least look into a tech school.  Most offer two year programs and have lots of hands on experience.  And if you don’t want to get a degree then at least take a class or two.  Any education is better than none.  For help with finding a school, check out CollegeBoard.com.

 

Work for Free

That’s right, for free with no strings attached.  Volunteer whenever the opportunity is available whether it be at a school or your friends house.  Not only will you need the hands on experience, but you will also need something to put on your resume.  And you never know, one of these opportunities could eventually turn into a job.

 

Create an “ATS Friendly” Resume

Lots of IT recruiters add resumes to an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and then search through all of them using specific keywords.  The use of keywords in your resume will increase the chances of your resume showing up when they do a search.  Check out 10 Ways to Tweak Your Tech Resume for more help.  Also check out 5 Articles That Will Help You Write An Impressive Tech Resume.

 

Study

And while you have some free time, feel free to study.  Read tech books, tech blogs, tech news, and anything else you can get your hands on.  Study your acronyms and know what they mean.  Don’t be caught off guard when someone asks you what TCP/IP stands for in an interview.  Check out The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary for a full list.

 

Accept Any Offer

Apply for every entry level tech job that you see.  And if you get an offer, take it.  The market is very competitive and at this point you just need to get your foot in the door.  After you gain some experience, you can always move on to something better.

 

Following these tips does not guarantee you a job, but they are sure to help.  If you are already a tech then please feel free to add your own tips.




38 Comments

  • Anonymous

    Reply Reply March 20, 2008

    I agree with your list, especially “work for free”, as a lot of employers look for experience rather than qualifications. I have quite a few computer related qualifications but when looking for a job, employers wanted to know what experience I had. Luckily I had quite a bit as I worked for free for as long as I could afford to.
    Regards.

    • FRED

      Reply Reply February 14, 2012

      which study guide do we select in cramsession.com for A+ certification?

      • cacita

        Reply Reply April 11, 2012

        HA ALRIGHT SO MY name is caita and im here too answer your question (:soo the answer too your quesionin is hmm.. uhhh i honestly i dont know !

  • Gavin

    Reply Reply August 14, 2008

    What a great post, thanks. Another tip, which worked for me, was learning to program. I got the job at my current employer by writing a small PHP app for their website. This was during my freelance days, but next thing I knew they where offering me a full time job. Today I’m the IT and software development manager.

    • faizan ali

      Reply Reply May 24, 2013

      gavin please tell me clearly. i am very thankful to u

  • Casey

    Reply Reply August 15, 2008

    Thanks Gavin!

  • Toz

    Reply Reply April 14, 2009

    Just say “I don’t know” when you don’t know what is happening on a customer’s computer.

  • D

    Reply Reply June 5, 2009

    I want to thank you for the information as I’am looking into becoming an IT Tech

    • Casey

      Reply Reply June 5, 2009

      You’re very welcome! I hope this helps out.

  • Tony Dopazo

    Reply Reply August 28, 2009

    Good advice

    Especially #6

  • Jess

    Reply Reply June 9, 2010

    I have a friend who’s a technician, and he had to work for free for a long time. He started out by repairing computers as favours and eventually, word got around and he was confident enough in himself to charge for his services. He had any number of Microsoft training courses under his belt and goodness knows what else but employers wanted experience. So he had no choice but to find his own experience.

    It worked for him though.

  • respect yourself

    Reply Reply July 25, 2010

    I agree to the first 3 suggestions.Then you lose me – IT has only room for passionate self motivated individuals. People who eat, drink and breath IT. Selling yourself cheaply and allowing yourself to be exploited is dangerous and soul destroying. My advise is have belief in your capabilities. Find any job you can while you scope out the ideal IT position that best fits your level of skills. Aiming too high will lead to you being chewed up and spat out. Choose wisely. While working the bread and butter job -I suggest setting your own network up at home and start experimenting and documenting and reading. When companies start handing out free computers then start working for free. When your land lord halves your rent then ask for lesser wages until then everything has a dollar value. expect no less.

  • PraP

    Reply Reply August 8, 2010

    I really agree with this article.

  • Jennifer Brown

    Reply Reply September 23, 2010

    Really all these information are really helpful to be a good computer technician. Bookish knowledge is important but practical knowledge gets much more priority for all these field so I really appreciate with this point to work for free.
    Visit http://www.knowurpc.org to gather more knowledge on computer and computer related topic.

  • FRED

    Reply Reply February 14, 2012

    Which study guide do we select for A+ certification in cramsession.com ?

  • mike

    Reply Reply April 16, 2012

    the best answer…if you do not know the answer…:google it”..

  • Richard Gannon

    Reply Reply July 25, 2012

    Going to school is crucial for a computer technician’s career. At school, you will get structured education and training for this career. You can get this training online or in classroom. For individuals who prefer the flexibility of online learning, the computer repair technician training at Career Step is a program worth looking into. For more details, visit their website!

  • computer technician

    Reply Reply August 13, 2012

    Nice tips! And really helpful. I was learning computers in the same way. “Break Your Computer” is the most powefull tip ))

  • Takawira Nyahema

    Reply Reply December 6, 2012

    want be a computer technician and i do have the certificate but i cannot get anyone who wants me to work for her or him for free. plz help if u can.

  • Comuter service perth

    Reply Reply February 18, 2013

    the best advice I would give anyone is get certified and immerse yourself in study. The computer tech who succeeds today is the one who fixes everything quickly and reliably.

  • joseph

    Reply Reply February 20, 2013

    hi I’m looking in to a career in this but I’m 15 when am i allowed to get certified

    and what course should i get on the study guide website

  • Derrick Booker

    Reply Reply April 10, 2013

    thank you very much i had to do a project on ehat i wanted to be when i grow up and this website was very helpful

  • Derrick Booker

    Reply Reply April 10, 2013

    i meant to say what

  • tech-etc

    Reply Reply April 11, 2013

    I have been repairing peoples computers for 6 years and repairing / educating myself for 10+ years (practically everyday and every night!..) I am 22 years old. I am definitely finding my own experience.. With over 200 systems fixed and working 100% having to resolve MANY, MANY different issues.. I make my own liquid flux for certain soldering jobs and I seek out “SMT rework professional” free lancers or professionals from the original manufactures, when I need things done that I cannot do on my own. I live eat and breath IT .. I have no certifications or documentations saying I have gone to any schools for IT….. Now to hire someone who has finished high school and has IT Certifications. ;)

    I would say just work hard. Always hard. And a lot.. You will never be able to know enough :) !!!! Have fun.

    • stephen okoth

      Reply Reply May 16, 2013

      That a wonderful commitment!Keep it up!Sir! i am a Kenyan(African),i did my A+ certification in Hardware part in 2009,i lacked fees to do software part of the certification;also i am not yet accessed to where i can do some internship.How can you help me access any internship to gain experience. I have a strong passion to be in this field of Information Technology(IT),as a Computer Technician.Please assist!
      Thanks in Advance!

  • Stefan

    Reply Reply April 15, 2013

    I have experience with the most part of setting up a desktop computer and network settings basics, recently a good job offer came along and I decided to accept the offer, I am going for the interview tomorrow, this post has enabled me to scope the field over a wide enough spectrum to do more research and not be afraid of my current ability, with knowledge that constantly improving one’s skills is never a bad idea in a changing world. What I am trying to say is that this article was very useful to me and I enjoyed it.

    Thank you
    :-)

  • Michael J. Stokes

    Reply Reply April 17, 2013

    I’m planning to take up Computer Information Technology this fall at a technical community college. My goal is to earn a A+ certification in PC Hardware and in Java. I have a few companies I would like to work for in the future. These days technology has become a part of our daily lives and can’t imagine my life without the use of technology. We need a little technology to make ourselves comfortable and my goal is to rebuild and repair dead broken computers, bring them back to life, then distribute to the less fortunate who are without computers.

  • Jayy

    Reply Reply April 22, 2013

    thank you

  • christian equipado

    Reply Reply August 12, 2013

    Wow. This is honestly one of the most helpful things I’ve read. I’m fifteen and trying to learn to become an IT technician and this cleared things up and gave me some awesome advice, thanks. I’d like to add that if you’re not very good at programming or just don’t know too much coding or languages you can use codeacademy. Its a free online like teaching website sorta thing and it teaches different kinds of coding languages and basic coding too.

  • luchi

    Reply Reply August 17, 2013

    my CPU is running but the monitor is no display please answer???

  • Viet

    Reply Reply October 12, 2013

    Please check your cable from monitor to case and make sure your monitor is normal.

  • Viet

    Reply Reply October 12, 2013

    Ehm, thanks for the “9 Tips to Help You Become a Computer Technician”. I also want to become a pc technician.

  • Daevon G

    Reply Reply November 4, 2013

    I am trying to determine which degree would be better for my career path: IT, Computer Science(current major), or Information Systems or double major with CS and IS

  • ashley

    Reply Reply November 5, 2013

    hi

  • JHW

    Reply Reply December 1, 2013

    If you want to break into this field there are easy ways to get certified – or at least the training.

    (1) Buy the CompTIA A+ Authorized Cert Guide (801/802) and read 3 chapters each day for a total of 6 days. Buy it new – comes with a DVD with an Exam testing software to prep you for the actual exams.

    (2) Next watch Professor Messer’s Videos for free from his website – that are also loaded onto YouTube – FOR FREE. Start at the beginning.

    (3) Buy the Exam Cram (801/802) Book with testing software and master each of the exams in the book. 3 for 801 and 4 for 802 – they start off easy and become harder. They have explanations for each answer and why the ones are correct – this is gold!

    (4) You can supplement by viewing CBT Nuggets A+ videos – but for $99 for 1 month – you can skip this if you like. Plus Professor Messer’s videos are more detailed and free!

    Building a computer – downloading a photo of a Mother board and then naming the parts, watching how a computer is built, how to install 3 different versions of Windows, and understanding computer security should be a weekly environment. Make up your own study sheets on info you missed on the practice exams, study it often. Make up charts for the different processors and see the patterns in their functions. If you are wanting to do this – then study and get your head into everything related to a computer, networking, and security. Every week you will learn more and realize how it all comes together. Take at least 4 months to prepare.

    Your initial investment and time will pay off. Also look into the Microsoft MTA certification for the Client. 4 Exams for Windows 8 Client – but also an entry point into IT field and will enhance your resume after you obtain your A+.

  • jamTM

    Reply Reply February 6, 2014

    Dear Sir/Maam,
    Hello, I have a Hitachi Travelstar Model: 7K320-320gb 7200RPM Dated FEB-09 HTS723232L9A360 P/N: 0A57547 MLC: DA2459 S/N: NEGRGVRC that was in my Windows Vista Hp Laptop. When I try to start up. The hard drive starts clicking and then the computer says “boot error” and doesn’t recognize that there is a hard drive plugged in. When I connect it through external usb connector the drive runs with clicking noise without being recognized in the computer risorse system.What can I do? How can I fix this and get the data from the hard drive? Thanking you, have a nice day.

    • jonathan

      Reply Reply October 22, 2014

      you need to check to your trusted technician for that. or disassemble your laptop and get the hard drive and try to put to your external usb hard drive, after that look for another pc and connect it. if that recognize your hard drive now is the time to recover your file or data on it. if again still clicking sound and it won’t detect your hard drive, you need to buy another one.

  • divina

    Reply Reply September 15, 2014

    .

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