With the deployment and usage of large computer systems, networks and IT applications across sectors and fields, computer technicians are much in demand in computing-oriented environments. A computer technician tests, installs, and maintains computer and IT systems, local area networks and wide area networks, and troubleshoots hardware and network-related issues. In recent years, the responsibilities have broadened beyond addressing hardware-centric issues to include IT security problems, monitoring software programs and maintaining or repairing all peripherals and removable storage devices.
A computer technician functions like an all-in-one computer troubleshooter or an IT specialist. Due to the widespread applications of computers and IT applications in today’s computing age, a computer technician’s roles and responsibilities might vary depending on specific work settings or job environments. PC technicians carry out specialized tasks and double up as support and help-desk specialists in mega enterprises and large-workforce organizations. A computer technician in computer stores and big-box consumer electronics retail stores with servicing departments generally diagnoses PC-related issues and fixes and repairs computers, printers and other hardware. An independent technician addresses calls related to a broad range of PC-related services in homes and small- and medium-sized businesses enterprises.
Responsibilities vary from one position to another. A computer technician performs some primary responsibilities in most large organizations. She performs analysis, testing and installing of computers and large hardware systems, connects PCs in a network and sets up peripheral equipment, hardware components and allied devices. She loads software programs/packages and utility applications, installs operating systems, establishes email accounts and IP addresses, and carries out upgrades of memory and hard drive systems. She checks performance-related issues and network support problems, responds to complaints and queries, provides technical advice, and solves employees' technical problems by phone or in person.
Due to the multiple and growing IT needs of organizations and as part of larger IT teams, computer technicians also perform other key duties and nonroutine tasks. A computer technician also keeps records of maintenance work and repairs, trains users on new software packages and systems, installs and configures computer and Internet security software, and troubleshoots help-desk and Internet connectivity issues. He analyzes network performance issues and breakdowns of systems and peripheral equipment, and draws up preventive maintenance checklists in conjunction with other members of the IT team.
A computer technician is always on call in large workplace and office environments. He has to be equipped with all the requisite tools and allied software/technological aids to carry out a number of tasks and functions. While addressing calls and resolving queries of workers and professionals in office cubicles, on site or on location anywhere in an organization, he carries with him an exhaustive set of tools and other paraphernalia of the trade: hardware tools, boot CD with diagnostic programs and utility software, software-loaded USB drives or portable hard drives, Internet and PC security CDs, testers and cables.
The blurring of software, hardware and web/Internet-based troubleshooting roles in today’s all-pervasive computing environments has meant that computer technicians need to have broad-based knowledge and skill sets in order to be effective at the workplace. To solve complex IT and web/Internet-based issues and develop solid troubleshooting and technical skills, they need to have good understanding of evolving IT technologies, networks and standards and a strong knowledge of electronics, operating systems and software packages. They need to showcase good communication skills in order to explain issues and technical problems to nontechnical staff and also work with IT team members.