What is the role of an IT technician?
An IT technician is an information technology and business professional who serves as the primary point of contact for IT issues within an organization. This professional handles the installation, repair and maintenance of computer systems. Responsibilities for an IT technician typically include:
Troubleshooting and resolving IT-related issues for employees, customers and clients
Upgrading systems to ensure compatible software is installed on all computers and other equipment
Installing and configuring new hardware and software
Inspecting computer hardware to ensure functionality and repairing or replacing items as needed
Monitoring the performance of networking equipment and servers to ensure efficiency and prevent downtimes
Installing and testing firewalls, servers, software and hardware for functionality
IT Technician Salary
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IT technicians typically work full-time but may put in overtime hours when dealing with a major downtime, lengthy upgrade process or other pressing issues. Other elements that impact earnings include geographic location, employer type as well as their level of experience, education and relevant certifications.
Common salary in the U.S.: $74,039 per year
Some salaries range from $17,000 to $172,000 per year.
IT technician requirements
These professionals typically require a combination of the following:
IT technicians typically need an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, Computer Science, Computer Information Systems or a related field. These programs offer comprehensive coursework in programming languages and computer engineering, providing students theoretical and practical knowledge of a variety of topics and processes they’re likely to encounter on the job.
IT technicians may gain initial training while pursuing a degree, including how to use programming languages to communicate with computer systems and troubleshooting techniques. They may also receive on-the-job training for a few weeks to gain familiarity with the specific software and hardware systems used within a company. However, these technicians are typically expected to have a basic understanding of common IT products and solutions.
Certification for IT technicians is voluntary, but there are many optional certificates that can increase these professionals’ employability and expand their knowledge base.
CompTIA A+ Certification
CompTIA A+ certification is an industry-standard for technical support professionals. This certification validates a candidate’s knowledge of software, hardware and network troubleshooting, operating systems, networking, security, mobile devices and operational procedures. To earn this certification, candidates must pass two exams, each of which has a maximum of 90 questions to answer in 90 minutes. Certification is good for three years and can be maintained by completing approved training and activities.
CompTIA Network+ Certification
The CompTIA Network+ certification is ideal for IT professionals who configure, troubleshoot and manage networks. This certification verifies knowledge of infrastructure, networking concepts, network security, network operations and network troubleshooting. To obtain certification, candidates must pass one exam with a maximum of 90 questions in 90 minutes. Certification is valid for three years and can be maintained by participating in continuing education opportunities, continuing education courses and other approved activities.
CompTIA Linux+ Certification
CompTIA’s Linux+ certification validates knowledge of security, hardware and system configuration, system operation, maintenance, automation, scripting, Linux troubleshooting and diagnostics. Candidates must pass a 90-question exam in 90 minutes to earn certification, which is valid for three years. Candidates can renew the certification by participating in training programs, continuing education courses and other activities.
Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
Microsoft offers several MTA certifications that validate knowledge of core technical concepts. Candidates can earn multiple MTA certifications, including Windows Operating System Fundamentals, Software Development Fundamentals, Windows Server Administration Fundamentals and many more.
Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT)
The CCENT certification assesses candidates’ ability to install, operate and troubleshoot a small network system with basic security. This credential is ideal for entry-level IT technicians with little-to-no experience. Candidates must pass the certification exam. More advanced certifications are also available from Cisco for those who have a more accomplished skill set.
IT technicians need a specific skill set that will equip them to efficiently handle the complex tasks involved in this job.
IT technicians often handle several projects simultaneously, so it’s important for them to keep track of each task they’re managing and ensure all are completed in a timely manner. Proper time management is important as IT technicians are often responsible for handling upgrades, installations and troubleshooting, sometimes within a given day. They must schedule these appropriately to minimize downtimes for the organization as well.
These professionals use research, analysis and critical thinking to assess issues and determine the most effective solutions. They should anticipate changes as they update systems, including potential questions or concerns from organization users. They use these skills to ensure systems work properly and users are well-informed.
Project management skills, such as organization and goal-setting, can help IT technicians properly plan the execution of a project from beginning to end. IT technicians deal with a variety of projects from repairs to new installations, which require streamlined processes and clear goals and timelines for each.
Strong communication skills are essential because IT technicians often have to explain complex technical tasks in simple terms that anyone can understand. Providing support in person, via email or by phone, these professionals must convey their message clearly and succinctly.
IT technician work environment
IT technicians can work for any kind of business that utilizes computers, networks and other technology. This includes offices, hospitals, airports, universities and more. On-site IT technicians may spend part of the day working at their own desk but will likely move about the building frequently as they address issues with others’ computers and systems. This job may require lifting, reaching, bending and twisting.
IT technicians may also specialize in a particular system or solution and provide support to clients at multiple locations. These technicians may field incoming calls and offer support by phone or travel to clients’ locations and perform installations, configurations, updates and troubleshooting in person. In this job, a portion of the technician’s time is spent traveling from one location to another.
These professionals maintain standard office hours but may work weekends or evenings in businesses where IT systems are used during these times. In an environment such as a hospital where workstations must be accessible 24/7, IT technicians may be scheduled or on call at any hour.
How to become an IT technician
To become an IT technician, it’s important you build the right skill set. The following steps will help you equip yourself for an IT technician job.
1. Complete your education
An associate or bachelor’s degree is often required for IT technicians. Pursue a degree in computer science, information technology or a related field to gain a strong foundation in computer systems, programming languages and other necessary knowledge.
2. Gain relevant experience
Many employers prefer to hire IT technicians with prior experience in systems maintenance, network management and IT troubleshooting. Look for entry-level help desk or computer technician jobs to refine customer service and technical skills.
3. Earn tech-related certifications
These credentials help validate your knowledge of specific types of technology and your ability to troubleshoot and work with them. Pursue one or more certifications to strengthen your resume and possibly increase your earning potential.
4. Demonstrate your interpersonal and communication skills
Find opportunities to practice your communication skills, particularly if you don’t have a previous technical support position on your resume. Volunteering to teach basic computer classes at your library, tutoring students or offering tech support to nonprofits are all ways that you can actively demonstrate your ability to problem solve and assist others with technical issues.
5. Build your resume
Craft a resume that highlights your technical expertise. Emphasize any positions where you were responsible for troubleshooting and assisting others with technical problems. Consider using the same language used in job listings to best align your qualifications with the expectations of employers.
6. Search for local IT technician positions
Perform a job search for IT technician jobs in your intended area. You may also want to look at postings for computer technicians, help desk technicians and network technicians as these titles offer similar responsibilities.
IT technician job description example
Seeking an IT technician to handle the installation, maintenance and troubleshooting of our hardware and software systems. You must have a strong working knowledge of computer systems, internet applications and networks. You must be skilled at troubleshooting, have strong communication skills and demonstrate excellent attention to detail. The ideal candidate has CompTIA certifications and a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.
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