Computers are everywhere and the numbers of computerized equipment and objects is growing, so a computer technician job is highly future-proof. It is a great career, and this article will help you get a head start. That is important because getting your first entry level computer technician job can be difficult. This is especially true for someone with no experience. The job market for computer techs can be 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 give you a big advantage. Read on.
Tip 1: 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 and use the Google Cheat Sheet for searching and learn how to effectively use operators to control or limit your search. For example, putting quotes around a specific error message and searching for it will usually lead you to articles on how to fix it. Many of these you will find come to TheTechMentor.com! If you like, you can add to favorites or bookmark our home page or articles and posts so you can more easily keep coming back and learn more from our ‘how to’ computer fixes and guides (even though some articles are written to assist computer techs to start and run their IT consultancy, there are many step by step guides that will help you).
Tip 2: 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. This is a great education in the various components and how a computer is constructed. 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. I think a great way to really get and stay enthused with the inevitable ‘learning opportunities’ is to have fun, so click on the following link for an ideal book with step-by-step instructions on How to Build Your Own Gaming PC (opens in a new tab). This book by Russell Barnes has a lot of really positive reviews. I suggest you buy it today as a great gift (dare I say investment?) and enjoyable money-saving project.
For online step by step instructions on how to build a PC check out How to Build a Computer. Oh and when you go to build your computer click to have a look at the computer repair toolkit tools in this article I use and recommend. (You won’t need them all for your first build but consider buying a simple kit. Suggest you bookmark it to be sure to find it again.)
Tip 3: Break Your Computer
No, not physically! But feel free to destroy your Windows installation and then attempt to repair it. Like most people, 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.
Tip 4: Get Your A+ Certification From one of the Recognized Schools
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) provides IT and computer technician 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 (among other things) computer technician training material.
To help you study for CompTIA A+ Certification, click review (and buy if you like) Mike Meyer’s highly rated guide book ‘Guide to Managing and Troubleshooting PCs‘. Mike tries to give you broad useful information and guidance so it covers a little more than what is in the exam. Even if you don’t intend to do the exam it provides you with a lot of useful information. Be prepared as some reviewers find it is a little wordy.
Tip 5: Go to a Computer Technician School
If you want to be an IT technician, 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.
Tip 6: Work for Free
That’s right, for free with no strings attached. Your reward will be the experience you gain now, and it will pay off later when you are earning a good salary. Volunteer whenever the opportunity is available whether it be at a school or your friend’s 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.
Tip 7: 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. When there are a lot of applicants for an IT Technician job vacancy, they use this system to filter these applications down to a manageable number before they even look at them! This means there is a possibility that no-one will actually read your resume if it gets filtered out, so you must prepare a resume that will survive this filtering process. 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.
Tip 8: Study in your spare time
And while you have some free time, feel free to study things that are related and interesting. 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.
There are plenty of free online resources. I have many links and tips set out in my article Why You Should Support Macs With Your IT Business (it is useful for all computer technicians). It is an important advantage to become both a Mac and PC Technician.
Tip 9: 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.
Summary of the 9 Tips on How to Become a Computer Technician
Following these tips are sure to help you get a job as an IT Technician (I can give no absolute guarantees!). The first three are all about doing things to start learning and gaining experience. Once you have these in progress you can start to investigate more formal certification from one of the qualified computer technician schools. It is not essential to do formal training but such qualifications are more highly regarded when competing for a job, and so it is highly recommended. The most important thing if you are interested, is to make a start and get some experience. If you are already a tech then please feel free to add your own tips to help others just starting out.