How to become a computer technician
To become a computer technician, it's important to know and understand the topics below.
Understanding of computer hardware
First, it is vital you have strong knowledge and understanding of the components that make a computer including:
- CPU (central processing unit)
- RAM (random-access memory)
- Hard drive (both IDE (integrated drive electronics) and SATA (Serial AT Attachment)).
- CD/DVD drive
- Video card
- Sound card
- Network card
These are the primary components of a computer, but there are other components, both internal and external. Having at least a general knowledge of additional components is beneficial to a computer technician.
It's also important to have strong knowledge and understanding of the following components because they are also a common cause of problems.
- Computer Monitors (both CRT (cathode ray tube) and LCD (liquid-crystal display)).
- Printers (Inkjet, laser, multifunction).
Knowing all of the above helps you with diagnosing and repairing computer problems that you are going to encounter as a computer technician.
Understanding of operating systems, software, and drivers
Of course, all that hardware by itself does nothing, which is why you must also have a strong understanding of computer operating systems. Today, most users are using some form of Microsoft Windows, which is why you should know all of the most recent versions of Windows. If you plan on supporting other computers, such as Apple computers, you need to be familiar with macOS. Also, realize that some business and companies who run websites that require support may also have a distribution of Linux or other operating systems.
Beyond understanding operating systems, knowing about popular software is good, because most users have questions about these everyday programs.
Finally, computer drivers are yet another common source of problems so understanding drivers and knowing how to install and uninstall drivers is essential.
Understanding of building, repairing, and upgrading computers
Having experience with building, repairing, and upgrading computers is highly recommended, even if the experience is gained by working on your computer, or those of friends and family. Computer repair shops often prefer to hire a technician with some experience.
While not a requirement, it helps to have an A+ Certification. This certification is more proof that you have an understanding of computer systems. It shows that you know their components and how to troubleshoot common problems that come up. The certification test is not overly expensive, and the investment made by taking the test and getting the certification helps you land that job as a computer technician.
The best way to learn anything, including becoming a computer technician, is real-world experience. Volunteer to assist friends, family, schools, churches with their computer questions. When helping others, you may encounter problems you have never experienced and by working through those problems, you learn how to fix them and learn tricks that help fix related problems. Participating in online forums and chat is also a good way to learn and watch how others fix computer problems.
If you are still in school, whether it be high school or college, try to get some experience through internships as well. An internship helps you get a job when you are out of school, showing potential employers you are interested in being a computer technician and are a go-getter.
Knowing how to use search engines
Finally, knowing how to use a search engine on popular sites, like Computer Hope and Google, can also help you with finding answers to questions you may have not encountered. You should be familiar with all of the tips and tricks of using a search engine for those times you may not know the answer.