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Generic Skills of a Computer Technician

by Mark Applegate

The Information Technologies field is loaded with certifications, degrees and specializations. In fact, many IT professionals could fill their business card with abbreviated certification labels. There are, however, some general skills that these professionals should possess to maximize their earning potential. The position of computer technician, while sometimes entry-level, requires many of the same general skills as a network or systems administrator. These general traits can be summarized in a few areas.

Operating Systems

Operating system knowledge is critical for a computer technician. Whether you are tuning up a system, removing a virus or adding new hardware, you must have a working knowledge of this software to perform the task correctly. While Windows and Mac operating systems are the most critical, a working knowledge if Linux is also helpful as some technician tools boot a system with this handy software. Mobile operating systems, once a niche technology, now fall into the important general knowledge category.

Hardware

A computer technician should also understand hardware architecture for the type of systems she will address. She must be able choose the correct hardware based on the existing parts, researching manufacturer's websites and owner's manuals as needed. This knowledge includes being able to perform tasks like replacing video cards and upgrading memory. She should thoroughly understand which devices have electrical current and how to prevent electrostatic discharge when replacing a part.

Communications

Communication skills are useful in many aspects of computer repair. In order to assist the end user, a technician must be able to discuss the problem and the solution clearly. He must also help the user understand when an upgrade is a viable solution or when replacement is a better financial option. Communication is also critical in billing. He must explain all options and secure the permission to perform the service before investing the time and money.

Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting skill allows a technician to diagnose a problem and use the most appropriate means possible to solve it. A computer technician sees a variety of problems. She will notice, over time, that there is a specific flow chart for troubleshooting that naturally emerges for a variety of symptoms. Research skills-- often through the use of search engines, tech blogs and videos-- is a critical component in troubleshooting since no technician can prepare for every scenario. She must be able to balance a working understanding of historical troubleshooting methods with being mindful of new or novel computer problems.

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