Computer Information Technician Career

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Career as Computer Information Technician

Computer Information Technicians – also known as computer support specialists, customer service technicians or systems administrators – give technical assistance and advice to people and businesses who rely on computer technology. These technicians take on many roles. They install, repair and maintain computer software and hardware. They may work in-house on an organization’s computer system or network, or sit at help desks while solving computer problems online or by phone.

Computer Information Technician Education Requirements

There are many ways to enter the field of computer information technology, so educational requirements vary. Though experience is important, many employers give preference to job applicants with some college education. Many jobs require a bachelor’s degree in information systems, computer science or computer engineering.

An associate’s degree in a computer – related discipline may be all that’s necessary for other positions. Some firms will hire applicants who have a college degree in any subject as long as they have the right technical skills. For some positions, a combination of pertinent work experience and certification may be substituted for a college degree.

Computer Information Technician Career Info

Training

Most computer support specialists acquire on-the-job training once they are hired. Training for most jobs lasts about three months, but may also be as short as one month or as long as a year. Training is an ongoing process for computer information technicians who wish to keep up with the latest advances in technology.

They may choose to keep current by enrolling in professional training courses offered by their employers or software and hardware vendors. Computer information technicians may also train through programs at private technical schools, colleges and universities.

Certification

Professional certification may be used to demonstrate knowledge of a process or a product, and typically improve a computer information technician’s job prospects. Certification training may be paid for by an employer after a technician is hired. Or it may be provided by a hardware or software vendor.

Professional certification is voluntary, and offered by many organizations across the country. One well-known certifying body is Open Group. This vendor and technology – neutral consortium offers two levels of independent certification, Certified IT Specialist and Master Certified IT Specialist ( www.opengroup.org ).

Computer Information Technician Pay Scale

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( BLS ), computer support specialists – a group which includes computer information technicians – earned a median annual wage of $43,450 as of May 2008. Of the industries that employ the greatest number of computer support specialists, commercial and professional merchant wholesalers of equipment and supplies paid the highest salaries. Elementary and secondary schools paid the lowest ( www.bls.gov ).

Employment Outlook

The BLS predicted that jobs for computer support specialists is anticipated increase by 14% from 2008 – 2018, a rate that’s faster than average for most occupations. Therefore, overall job prospects for computer information technicians are considered good. Applicants with good communication and technical skills, relevant work experience and a bachelor’s degree will have an advantage in the job market over those who just have professional certification or an associate’s degree.

Advancement

Computer information technicians can advance in their professions by solving progressively more complex computer problems. They may go into management positions, or train to become computer programmers and software engineers. Strong job performance, professional certification and education credits are factors that can lead to promotion or advancement.