Career Advancement Options for Computer Technicians
A computer technician troubleshoots and repairs computers, printers, servers, and other computer devices. The educational background of computer technicians can range from a high school diploma up to a bachelor's degree, but a clear understanding of both the hardware and software side of technology is a consistent and vital requirement for this job. A computer technician's knowledge and training can lead to several opportunities in the technology field. Core requirements and responsibilities for each of these career options are detailed below.
|Job Title||Mean Annual Salary (2018)*||Job Growth (2016-26)*||Qualifications|
|Electro-mechanical technician||$60,240||4%||Associate's degree or postsecondary certificate|
|Computer Hardware Engineer||$117,840||5%||Bachelor's or master's degree in computer engineering|
|Software Developer||$108,080 (applications)
$111,780 (systems software)
|24% (all software developers)||Bachelor's degree in computer science or related field; proficiency in multiple coding languages|
|Network Systems Administrator||$87,070 (network and computer systems administrators)||6% (network and computer systems administrators)||Bachelor's degree in computer science or related field; network system certificate|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
A computer technician with a passion for getting hands-on with computer hardware may choose to pursue a career as an electro-mechanical technician. Electro-mechanical technicians work with automated and robotic equipment, their responsibilities ranging from installation to maintenance and repair. An understanding of circuits and mechanical technology, as well as experience in photonics, are essential for this role. An associate's degree or postsecondary certificate is a minimum requirement for this job. As noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for electro-mechanical technicians is likely to increase as automation increases.
Computer Hardware Engineer
A love for the hardware side of technology may also lead to a career in computer hardware engineering. Computer hardware engineers design computer system components, including circuit boards, routers, and more. They often work with software developers to make sure their components function well with the newest software. A bachelor's or a master's degree in computer engineering, as well as familiarity with computer programming, are common requirements for entering the computer hardware engineering field.
A computer technician with an interest in the software side of computer technology may choose to continue their education to become a software developer. Software developers are responsible for every step of the software development process, from original concept design to development, testing, and maintenance upgrades. Requirements for this role include a bachelor's degree in computer science or similar area of study, as well as experience with coding and software development. A master's degree in computer science and knowledge in multiple coding languages can set an applicant apart in this high-demand career field.
Network Systems Administrator
Computer technicians may choose to expand on their network experience and move into the role of a network systems administrator. The daily maintenance and operations of an organization's network are dependent on these administrators; they are in charge of determining the organization's infrastructure needs, installing necessary hardware and software, managing users, handling network security, and troubleshooting issues. Most employers seek an administrator with a bachelor's degree in computer science or some related field, though a master's degree may prove an advantage in this competitive field. A certification in the organization's network system, such as Cisco or Microsoft, may also be a requirement for employment.