Computer Information Technician: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a computer information technician. Learn about job duties, education requirements, job outlook, and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Computer Information Technician Do?

A computer information technician goes by his more popular name- the IT guy. These technicians will work for an organization that needs him to take charge of installing computers and seeing to it that they are connected to the local area network. They will also take care of any problems they may include servicing the various technology. These professionals will also maintain the machines as well as the software and the latest updates to any applications.

Computer information technicians maintain and troubleshoot computers, including hardware and software issues. The following chart gives you an overview about what you need to know about entering this field.

Education Required Associate degree, Bachelor's degree preferred
Education Field of Study Computer science, Information systems, Computer engineering
Key Responsibilities Installing software, running diagnostics, resolving network issues
Certification Optional certification available
Job Growth (2014-2024) 12% (computer support specialists)*
Median Salary (2015) $51,470 (computer support specialists)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is a Computer Information Technician?

As a computer information technician, your primary responsibility is to troubleshoot and fix computer-related problems for businesses and individual clients. You might also go by the title of computer support specialist or help desk technician. You might work for a computer support service and travel to different companies to solve computer issues on an as-needed basis. You could also work in one stationary location and help solve computer issues over the phone or via e-mail.

Some of your job duties as a computer information technician might include installing software, upgrading software or hardware, running diagnostics, and resolving network issues. You should have good customer service and problem-solving skills if you are interested in working in the field.

What Education Might I Need?

Several different educational programs might prepare you for a position as a computer information technician. If you are interested in earning a baccalaureate degree, you might consider enrolling in a program in computer science, information systems or computer engineering. For example, a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree program should provide you with an understanding of computer software, computer hardware, programming, discrete mathematics, computer logic and algorithms.

Some employers might only require you to have an associate's degree or certificate of completion in computer science or a related subject. One type of vocational program available in the field is a Help Desk Technician Certificate program. In addition to covering the basics of networking, security and PC maintenance, such programs also often include courses related to customer service and business etiquette.

What Certification is Available?

While certification is not an industry standard for computer information technicians, some employers may prefer you to have a designation that marks your competence in the field. If you work as a help desk technician for a particular software vendor, you will most likely need to have certification from that company. For example, Microsoft offers the Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician designation for technicians specializing in Microsoft systems.

What Salary Could I Expect to Make?

About 766,900 individuals worked as computer information technicians and support specialists in 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported ( Most of these technicians worked for computer systems design companies, schools and individual businesses. The median annual salary in the field in 2015 was roughly $51,470.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Alternative careers in CIT could be employment as a computer programmer. These experts work for a variety of employers writing programs for games or animation. They might work independently debugging programs for coding issues and replacing the bad lines. Another alternative career is computer network architect. Architects are in charge of designing and building local area networks or wide area networks. You could try work as a computer system analyst. Here you'd use your skills designing solutions to web-based information problems. Maybe a more interesting career could be in database administration. You'd be spending time organizing and storing data for financial institutions or colleges or government agencies. All of these positions require a bachelor's degree at least.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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