Computer Systems Technician Programs

tech in data center

Computer systems technicians are important tradespeople in a tech-driven society. Without these workers, things like cloud computing and computer networking would be unreliable.

Education & Training

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Every industry relies on technology in one way or another. Companies use computers to communicate, conduct business, and access important information.

Because of this, individuals that know how to fix and operate them can have long-lasting, profitable, and rewarding careers.

Education Requirements

Certifications & Degrees

Some trade or technical schools offer certificate courses in computer system maintenance. Many colleges and universities even offer associate’s or bachelor’s credentials.

Most employers prefer to interview candidates who have earned some sort of computer support specialist degree or certification. Aspiring hopefuls should take classes in electrical or computer engineering.

Important Coursework

Prospects should stay up-to-date on the latest trends in technology. When browsing a computer support specialist resume, employers look for experience in computer networking and information technology.

Students should also consider taking classes in the following subjects:

  • Local area network technology
  • Operating systems
  • Systems administration
  • Cloud computing
  • Computer science
  • Webpage design

Salary

The median computer systems technician salary is around $80k per year. While annual wages for new hires are around $50k, the most sought-after workers make upwards of $130k.

Below are some average salaries and hourly wages for each state.

State Hourly wage Annual wage
Alabama $52.18 $108,520.00
Alaska $42.41 $88,210.00
Arizona $48.32 $100,510.00
Arkansas $40.54 $84,330.00
California $62.22 $129,420.00
Colorado $56.89 $118,340.00
Connecticut $51.77 $107,670.00
Delaware $63.28 $131,620.00
District of Columbia $57.71 $120,030.00
Florida $50.99 $106,050.00
Georgia $50.88 $105,820.00
Hawaii $44.82 $93,230.00
Idaho $43.92 $91,360.00
Illinois $49.02 $101,970.00
Indiana $46.45 $96,610.00
Iowa $45.86 $95,380.00
Kansas $48.27 $100,410.00
Kentucky $39.92 $83,040.00
Louisiana $41.12 $85,530.00
Maine $42.97 $89,380.00
Maryland $56.95 $118,460.00
Massachusetts $60.04 $124,870.00
Michigan $48.80 $101,510.00
Minnesota $52.38 $108,940.00
Mississippi $42.19 $87,750.00
Missouri $46.95 $97,650.00
Montana $39.55 $82,260.00
Nebraska $43.43 $90,330.00
Nevada $51.63 $107,380.00
New Hampshire $53.59 $111,470.00
New Jersey $60.69 $126,240.00
New Mexico $46.10 $95,890.00
New York $56.04 $116,560.00
North Carolina $53.64 $111,580.00
North Dakota $48.40 $100,680.00
Ohio $47.72 $99,260.00
Oklahoma $49.74 $103,460.00
Oregon $56.93 $118,410.00
Pennsylvania $44.73 $93,040.00
Puerto Rico $29.02 $60,360.00
Rhode Island $54.56 $113,490.00
South Carolina $49.17 $102,270.00
South Dakota $47.77 $99,350.00
Tennessee $47.42 $98,630.00
Texas $55.41 $115,240.00
Utah $46.64 $97,020.00
Virgin Islands $29.96 $62,320.00
Virginia $55.68 $115,820.00
Washington $63.83 $132,760.00
West Virginia $46.84 $97,420.00
Wisconsin $46.26 $96,220.00
Wyoming $53.53 $111,340.00

Occupation: Computer Systems Analysts (SOC Code151211)
source: data.bls.gov

Career Overview

What Is a Computer Systems Technician?

Computer systems technicians, also known as information systems technicians or IT support specialists, are responsible for maintaining communications units. This involves searching for issues within networks or software. It also requires maintaining mainframe computers and their components.

What Are IT Support Specialists Job Duties?

Energy Allocation

Workers must ensure that power supplies are reliable and consistent. They watch over a facility’s power usage, being careful not to exceed specified amounts of energy.

They use fans and provide ventilation to avoid overheating of machines. Associates must prevent any downtime to their employer’s networks or mainframe computers.

Network Optimization

Other common tasks involve up-keeping computer networks in order to maintain stability and avoid downtime. Workers might optimize networks or internet connections, running tests to check speed and security.

Hardware Configuration

Setting up computer hardware is another one of the duties of an information systems technician. They may install operating systems or other software components for companies or walk clients through the process over the phone.

Some computer support specialists provide industry advice to businesses on the best hardware configurations for their needs.

Software Updates

IT support specialists also inform managers of problems encountered by users in order to implement relevant updates.

Software Analysis

Additionally, information technology team members sometimes adapt software to meet the needs of a specific organization or business. This means recommending upgrades and analyzing workflow for opportunities to improve. It often includes comparing costs if many other options are available.

Other important job duties include:

  • Design data communication networks based on a company’s unique needs
  • Assist architects in designing network models
  • Oversee junior computer support specialists
  • Ensure function of email and other messaging services
  • Help system administrators with project management issues
  • Optimize system or network function
  • Run diagnostics on colleague computers to ensure optimal performance

What Types of Skills Should Computer Systems Technicians Possess?

Continuous Learning

Those in information technology careers should have a willingness to learn. Technology changes, so it is crucial that candidates stay up-to-date about the most recent developments in their field.

Having a natural sense of curiosity is helpful.

Ability to Teach

Computer systems technicians teach users how to operate software, taking special care to pay attention to the needs of non-IT employees. They also provide guidance on new features after a system upgrade.

It is vital that they know how to communicate with customers and colleagues at various levels of experience.

Following Protocols

To avoid electrocution, cuts, or product damage, workers must know how to properly handle computer components. They may need to replace fans or swap out disk drives while making hardware repairs.

Following directions and procedures is especially important in this role.

Why Do Computer Systems Technicians Need the Ability To Listen?

Being able to give full attention to what others are saying is vital for someone with an information technology degree. It’s crucial that these professionals understand requests and issues in order to come up with a valid solution.

The ideal candidate practices active listening and engages in the conversation by asking relevant, thoughtful questions.

Other Useful Skills

  • The ability to work with tools and handle small parts like screws and fasteners
  • Patience during high-stress customer interactions
  • Knowledge of IT systems to avoid conflict when replacing or upgrading hardware
  • The know-how to prioritize tasks in order to identify and solve urgent issues
  • Analytical ability to evaluate networks and run diagnostics
  • Electrical experience to avoid physical injury during installations and repairs
  • Capable of explaining technical terms to those unfamiliar with IT
  • Troubleshooting issues with networks, hardware, and software

Work Environment

Office Space

Computer support technicians usually work with several colleagues. Depending on the company, these employees either sit in private rooms or share cubicles within one large space.

Computers, laptops, and other electronic devises are needed for them to properly do their jobs. Additionally, some associates use standard office supplies like printers, fax machines, and desk telephones.

Hours

A standard computer support specialist job description typically states that employees must work at least 40 hours per week. However, they may have to work overtime when servers go down or other problems arise.

Overtime Shifts

Most information technology companies offer around-the-clock support, meaning technicians may work evenings and weekends. They also remain on call when their shift ends, as workers must respond immediately when issues arise. This often leads to unscheduled and unexpected overtime work.

Places Can They Work

Since most American companies need at least one information tech on hand, employment is available in numerous sectors.

Prospects can find computer support specialist jobs with the following organizations:

  • Government offices
  • Financial institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Hospitals
  • Cloud computing entities
  • Technology companies
  • Video game and software design teams
  • Internet service providers
  • Educational services
  • Information brokers
  • Computer systems design companies
  • Enterprise management groups

How Can IT Support Specialists Promote Themselves?

Social media is a great way for freelance IT support specialists to advertise their services and resumes. Along with the internet, interested individuals can inquire about creating and running local television or radio commercials. Some might even purchase ad space on billboards, benches, or in community flyers.

Can You Work Remotely?

It is possible for computer systems technicians to work from home. These associates diagnose computer issues over the internet using instant messaging, voice chats, and video conferencing software.

They also remotely access client computers to fix problems.

Associates must possess vast IT knowledge, including common and advanced virus removal techniques. Remote employees need strong work ethics, reliable internet connections, and VoIP/SIP phone systems.

Typical salaries fall between $40k to $50k per year, meaning remote work can be just as lucrative as on-site labor.

Other Career Options for Computer Systems Technicians

Tech Desk

Potential employees with computer support specialist skills are good help desk technicians as well. These associates provide assistance with technical problems over the phone or internet.

Technicians gain remote access of a user’s computer for purposes of instruction or diagnostics. Folks in this industry must exercise patience when dealing with upset customers.

While they usually make a little less compared to an information systems technician salary, they still earn livable wages around $37k per year. Experienced workers can earn upwards of $50k annually.

Web Developer

People who study information technology could also try positions as web developers. These individuals design websites and maintain the function of the site.

They may help write content for web pages or create visuals. Employees perform their jobs in an office, although some are off-site.

Other Options

There are many other options in different fields for someone with the skill set of an information technologist.

Customer service roles also involve assisting customers and resolving issues. Some information technologists repair and sell machines to users in a retail environment.

Career Outlook

Job growth is at six percent, meaning there should be a steady amount of work in the coming years. Small businesses and medium-sized companies increasingly depend on information technology. The healthcare industry expands their use of IT every day. As companies continue to upgrade their computer networks and hardware systems, technicians will remain in demand.