PC Support Technician Jobs and Career Facts
Research what it takes to become a PC support technician. Learn about the education requirements, work responsibilities, salary and job outlook to see if this is the right career for you.
What Is a PC Support Technician?
PC support technicians diagnose and solve problems people experience with their personal computers. Often called help-desk technicians, some PC support professionals work in call centers and offer instructions and advice to users on how to resolve problems during telephone calls or by e-mail. Others work at centralized help desks in companies and retailers, while other support technicians conduct site visits to solve PC problems. They may also be required to set up or repair computers and related equipment, such as printers and word-processing software. Because these professionals so often work with customers, having good people skills is helpful. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about this career.
|Degree Required||Postsecondary technical training for some jobs; associate's degree helpful for many positions; bachelor's degree required for specialized work|
|Education Field of Study||Computer science, information science, engineering|
|Training||Moderate on-the-job training|
|Key Skills||Troubleshooting, communication, customer service|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||11% increase (for all computer user support specialists)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$50,980 (for computer user support specialists)*|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Does a PC Support Technician Do?
As a PC support technician, you'll be responsible for diagnosing and resolving the technical issues that prevent personal computers from working properly. You'll provide computer-related technical advice and support to organizations or individual clients who use PCs. While your primary responsibilities include troubleshooting computer hardware, peripherals and software applications, you might be required to have a fundamental understanding of network and Internet connectivity. You must be able to able to work cohesively with PC end-users and both technical and non-technical co-workers. As you advance your career and specialize your skills, you may be required to provide after-hours support for systems, end users and applications.
What Education Will I Need?
There is no academic standard for a career as a PC support technician. Some companies require you to have a college degree in information systems or computer science, while others may simply require you earn a certificate and obtain adequate professional experience.
If you're interested in earning a degree and increasing your chances of gaining employment in the information technology industry, an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer science is often sufficient. Degree programs provide you with an understanding of computer programming, operating systems, data structures, systems analysis and algorithms.
Often requested by employers and arguably as important as formal education is industry certification. Several software vendors, hardware manufacturers and industry-standards organizations offer specialized credentials for computer support specialists. You can earn basic certifications, such as CompTIA's A+ or Network+ credentials, as well as more advanced options, including Microsoft's Certified Systems Engineer or Certified Desktop Support Technician designations, as you gain PC support experience.
Where Can I Find Work?
Public agencies, private organizations and service centers employ PC support technicians. Some computer hardware and software vendors hire support technicians to work in a central location, fielding calls and emails from individual consumers with PC problems. You might also find work in a retail center that specializes in selling PCs or with a third-party organization that offers help desk services.
What Could I Earn?
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 671,800 computer user support specialists worked in the United States in 2018 (www.bls.gov). The median salary for the profession that year was $50,980, per the BLS. The majority of workers in this field were employed in computer systems design and related services companies, and they earned an average of $56,470 per year. Those who worked for software publishers earned an average of $60,210, while those employed by data processing, hosting and related services companies were paid an average of $55,260 a year.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
With a similar degree, there are a number of other careers you may be interested in. You may be interested in a job as a computer and information systems manager. These professionals typically work for an organization and are in charge of all of the computer-related activities that said organization requires, including implementing computer systems. You could also pursue a job as a computer programmer, which involves writing and testing code for computer software programs and applications.