Computer Tech: How to Become a Computer Tech

Published Nov 10, 2009

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Computer technicians (or computer techs) are experts in repairing, installing and maintaining computers on behalf of a company or organization. In most cases, they provide technical assistance and support to either coworkers or customers depending on the industry. An associate's degree is typically the minimum requirement to become a computer technician.

Education Needed for Computer Techs

Although those with an associate's degree in information technology or a related field may be able to obtain computer technician jobs, most employers increasingly favor applicants with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science due to keen competition for entry-level positions. Bachelor's degree programs cover programming principles, data structures, algorithms and programming paradigms. Students can prepare themselves for these classes by taking computer-related courses in high school or at a vocational school.

Internships and Job Training for Computer Techs

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most computer techs require some on-the-job training due to the technical nature of the profession. Internships are helpful ways for school graduates to obtain experience and make contacts in the field. Previous work in a customer service is also an extremely beneficial element for career technicians, due to required levels of interaction with customers. Field experience and communications skills may make up for education in some cases where a computer tech holds only an associate's degree or certificate of completion.

Certification and Licensure for Computer Techs

No certification or licensure is required to become a computer technician. However, because they demonstrate a worker's proficiency and skills, voluntary certifications can help candidates obtain competitive computer technician positions. CompTIA, a non-profit trade association, offers several certifications that demonstrate knowledge of programming languages and computer programs ( Microsoft offers the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) credential which demonstrates a computer technician's knowledge of Microsoft operating systems.

Continuing Education for Computer Tech Career Advancement

Some employers offer continuing education programs for computer technicians interested in obtaining a master's degree. Graduate students learn recent, relevant information about microprocessors, computer networks and software development. A Master of Science in Computer Engineering qualifies computer techs for positions such as computer programmer, software engineer or systems administrator.

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