What Are the Job Requirements for an IT Technician?

As an IT technician, you could be setting up computer systems, solving networking issues, or developing security protocols. You may need formal education to enter the field, and you can pursue optional certification. Read on to learn more about IT technician job duties and requirements. Schools offering Computer Support Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Requirements

Computer user support specialists assist users with computer problems in person, through email, or over the phone. They may work in a call center environment or out in the field. These professionals diagnose computer problems using information from users and provide step-by-step instructions for solving the problems. Other job duties may include training computer users and setting up equipment.

Important Facts About IT Technicians

On-the-Job Training Several months to a couple of years, depending upon the problem
Licensure None
Work Environment Information technology, education, finance, healthcare, and telecommunications industries
Similar Occupations Computer systems analysts, information security analysts, software developers, web developers, database administrators, computer programmers

Education and Essential Skills

As an IT technician, also known as a computer user support specialist, you may not need a college degree as long as you are knowledgeable with computers. However, companies may require an associate or bachelor's degree in a technical field. Computer science and information systems are some possible majors, and they introduce you to operating and network systems, as well as programming and software applications and engineering. One of the main differences between an associate's program and a bachelor's program is that bachelor's programs typically include more advanced computer coursework as well as business or management classes.

The computer support field requires that you're willing to pursue continuing education to learn new technologies. Supporting customers requires excellent customer service skills paired with good speaking and writing skills. You'll need to be able to solve problems efficiently, which requires understanding each problem well.

Certification Options

Certification is voluntary within the IT field. As an IT technician, you have numerous options for becoming certified. For example, you can choose to become certified as an IT generalist or in a specific software or technology.

Microsoft offers certification in a number of areas, including Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) or Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS). The Certified Computer Professional (CCP) and Information Systems Professional (ISP) credentials are available through the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals. CompTIA offers certification opportunities in A+, Network+, and Security+.

Employment Outlook and Salary

For the decade 2012-2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected an increase in overall employment growth of 20% for computer user support specialists (www.bls.gov). The BLS notes that more professionals will be needed to help companies upgrade their systems and install software. Cloud computing is an important technology driving growth, and the healthcare industry will also need more support specialists. Computer user support specialists were paid a median wage of $47,610, according to May 2014 BLS salary figures.

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