Hardware configuration refers to the various system settings that allow pieces of hardware, such as computers or other electronic devices, to work. Those interested in studying the subject may want to seek out certificate or associate's degree programs in information technology, computer science or computer information systems. These programs often provide courses in both computer hardware and software configuration. They can lead to jobs in IT support, computer sales or help desk assisting.
Certificate in Information Technology
These two-to-three-semester programs can serve as preparation for further study in the computer science field or as preparation for entry-level positions in the computer support industry. Applicants need to have have a high school diploma or GED. Graduates from these types of programs work for the computer systems design and company management industries as well as schools and universities.
Students prepare to provide technical support to computer users via e-mail, telephone or in person. Programs include training in:
- Networking fundamentals
- Project management
- Programming concepts
- Systems software
- Web publishing
Associate's Degrees Covering Hardware Configuration
These two-year programs are found as computer information systems programs and information technology programs. Both require incoming students to have a high school diploma or GED. Because effective communication is an essential part of helping end-users with information technology concerns, students are required to take general education classes. Graduates are prepared to find solutions to issues with hardware, like local area network configuration.
Support professionals can work on the configuration, installation, maintenance and documentation of networks, databases and computer applications. Students can learn to troubleshoot programming and hardware problems, and can take courses in:
- Network administration
- Programming language
- Website publishing
Popular Career Options
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 863,100 computer support specialists employed as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). Certificate program graduates may be able to secure positions as:
- Computer sales specialists
- Data processing managers
- Help desk assistants
- Technical service managers
- Information processing specialists
The forecast for 2018-2028 from the BLS showed an expected 10% increase in job opportunities for computer support specialists. Computer network support specialists earned a median annual salary of $62,770, while computer user support specialists earned $50,980 according to BLS reports from May 2018.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
Certification for entry-level professionals is offered through independent organizations like CompTIA. Their A+ certification is designed for working field service technicians, IT administrators and support personnel who are recommended to have at least 500 hours of field or lab experience. Qualified professionals test their understanding of technical issues in security and networking with two 100-question examinations. Certification lasts for three years and recertification requires the completion of a certain number of continuing education credits.
Programs covering a wide variety of information technology-related concerns - including hardware configuration - are available at the bachelor's, master's, graduate certificate and doctoral levels. Relevant fields of study include computer engineering, information technology, information systems and computer science, among others.
In addition to preparing students for entry-level employment in the hardware configuration field, a certificate in information technology can prepare students for higher degree programs in computer sciences. An associate's degree in the field covers many of the same skills in addition to courses intended to improve vital communication skills and provide training in solutions like local area network configuration.