Jobs in Microcomputer Technology

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in microcomputer technology. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and job outlook information. Schools offering Computer Support Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Jobs Are Available in Microcomputer Technology?

Microcomputer is the term often used to define a personal computer, but it may apply to any type of computer that uses a microprocessor. This type of computer is typically used by individuals for personal use, but may also be used for business. Two career paths for those wishing to work with this technology include working as a computer service technician or a computer network support specialist. Computer service technicians provide maintenance and repairs to many kinds of computer peripherals, such as graphics cards, hard drives, USB ports, and more. Computer network support specialists work in the IT department of a company, helping others deal with their computer issues through troubleshooting and repairs either remotely or in person.

Consider the information in the following table to determine if a career in microcomputer technology is right for you.

Computer Service Technician Computer Network Support Specialist
Degree Required High school diploma Associate's or bachelor's degree common
Education Field of Study Computers and electronics, electrical engineering, machine repair Computer science, engineering, information science
Key Skills Analytical, communication, dexterity, and troubleshooting skills Customer service, problem solving, speaking, and writing
Job Growth (2014-2024) 2% (for all computer, ATM, and office machine repairers)* 8% (for all computer network support specialists)*
Median Salary (2015) $36,840 (for all computer, ATM, and office machine repairers)* $62,250 (for all computer network support specialists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are My Career Options?

While there are several careers you may work in that fall into the microcomputer technology category, two prominent fields are computer repair and technical support. In both careers, you work directly with customers to help them solve problems with their personal computers. The type of assistance you offer and the education requirements for each career vary.

What Will I Do as a Computer Service Technician?

As a computer service technician, you'll help users by fixing broken hardware such as sound cards, hard drives, or video cards. You may also help clients who are having trouble connecting to the internet due to hardware issues. Your work is hands-on, which may require you to go to customers' homes to do repairs. In some situations, customers may send their computers to you for repair.

What Might I Do as a Computer Support Specialist?

People who have trouble with the operation of their computer or who experience problems with software programs may require your assistance if you work as a computer support specialist. You may work for a company in its computer support department and help other employees with computer issues. Work can also be found in the computer support services departments of companies that develop software or hardware. You may also work for a company that specializes in offering computer support to the general public.

Most work as a support specialist takes place through phone calls with those who are having computer problems. When someone calls with a problem, you'll have to ask questions so you can figure out what the problem is and then work to find a resolution. In some cases, the problem may be simple, such as a user not understanding how to operate a program, but you may also handle complex problems, such as those involving corrupted files or viruses. You may use special software programs to run tests and diagnose computer problems through a program that allows you to have remote access to a user's computer.

What Education Will I Need?

There is no specific training or degree requirement to work as a support specialist. However, employers may prefer to hire you if you have some formal training in computers or information systems. In some cases, proving your technical skills may be all an employer requires. It is typical for employers to offer on-the-job training and to require continuing education throughout your employment.

If you want to work as a computer support service technician, you may be required to hold a certificate or degree in electronics. Sometimes an employer will accept training from a technical program or the military. Employers may provide on-the-job training, but you are usually required to have basic knowledge of computer repair and electronics before being hired. Continuing education may be required due to the constant changes within the computer field.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Computer systems analysts study the current computer systems in place at an organization, using their knowledge to suggest changes to how things are done and various upgrades in order to improve efficiency. Database administrators encrypt their employer's online data with specialized security software, preventing others from accessing their files without authorization. IT managers direct and oversee the computer activities and technology goals of an organization, using their best judgement to determine how to meet them. All of these positions usually require a bachelor's degree.

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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