Computer service technician duties

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Peter Upton is a self-employed IT specialist, whose company, Eideas Ltd, helps people set up and keep their computer equipment running smoothly and efficiently.

Can you describe your role as a Computer service technician?

I travel to different customers to help them solve any problems they have with their hardware and software. I set up new equipment for them, repair anything that breaks down and help them make sure the IT they use works for them.

What are your main responsibilities?

For my job, I have to be an all-rounder when it comes to IT. I might be repairing a printer or taking a laptop apart one day, then setting up a new server or a wireless network the next. The customers vary as much as the type of work; they include schools, businesses and sports clubs.

What is your daily routine?

My routine is different every day. During the week, I travel to different customers' offices. Some of my work is for other companies who use me as a subcontractor. Sometimes a project may take a full week and I have to work at the same site until it's completed.

What hours do you work?

Since schools and businesses run from around 8.30am to 5.30pm, I tend to work these hours as well. However, sometimes IT work needs to be carried out when people are not working on the system. This means occasional after-hours working.

What is your work environment like?

I have a small office at home, but the bulk of my work can be done anywhere using my laptop. I have worked on the rooftop of a 15-storey building, underneath an international cricket pitch, as well as in schools, colleges and plush offices!

Who do you work with?

Usually it's just me, but if a job requires another pair of hands, I will employ people I trust to help me out.

What skills do you need to be a Computer service technician?

You need a huge range of computing skills, as you have to work on many different aspects of computers from software packages to types of hardware.

You also need to be at ease meeting new people, as you will meet lots of different people in this job. The ability to explain to non-technical people what you have done, or why things are not working, is also important.

What training have you had?

After my A levels and a general business degree at university, I did a three-month sandwich placement at a computer company. Later on, my employers sent me on a couple of training courses that really boosted my knowledge.

What do you like/dislike about your job?

I like the flexibility and the variety, but being self-employed means you are responsible for how much money you make, and it isn't a steady income.

What are the main challenges?

The biggest challenge is keeping up to speed with new products and software packages so that you are not left behind.

How do you see your future?

IT is constantly changing and people will always need help with it, so I hope to be able to continue developing my business in this field.

Peter's route to his career as a Computer service technician

  • A levels.
  • Business degree.
  • Work placement with a computer company.
  • Various training courses.
  • Set up his own business.

Peter's service technician tips

  • If you like challenges and computers, then I can't recommend becoming an IT professional strongly enough.
  • There is a demand for good quality people in the industry and if you are prepared to start at the bottom and learn the ropes, you can very quickly achieve your goals.

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Salary of a Computer service technician

  • Starting salaries for trainee technicians usually range from around £10,000 to £15,000 a year.
  • Experienced technicians may earn around £20,000.
  • The most experienced and qualified technicians or specialists may earn up to £40,000 or more.
  • Self-employed technicians' earnings depend on their hourly or project rates and the amount of work they take on.

How to become a Computer service technician

  • It is possible to start as a trainee without academic qualifications, but most applicants have qualifications such as NVQs/SVQs, City & Guilds, BTEC awards or degrees.
  • Many companies offer in-house training on their own products, or may encourage technicians to take part-time courses at college or by distance learning.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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