How to Get a Job as a Computer Technician: 10 Tips

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn how to get started as a computer technician, an in-demand information technology (IT) field.

[Featured image] A tattooed male computer technician works at a dual-screen workstation in an office with windows behind him.

There’s hardly a single industry where computers don’t play a role. That means there will likely always be a demand for computer technicians and support specialists to keep those computers and networks running. Learn more about this quickly growing field and get yourself job-ready with these ten tips.

What does a computer technician do?

Computer technicians install, maintain, and troubleshoot hardware and software for businesses and organizations. Depending on what type of company you work for, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • Setting up hardware and installing software

  • Performing repairs on computers and other peripherals

  • Providing support for technical issues with software or hardware

  • Assisting with the IT aspect of onboarding new hires

  • Answering technical questions

  • Performing regular software updates

  • Troubleshooting system failures and bugs

  • Managing security updates

10 tips for getting a job as a computer technician

If you’re interested in starting a computer technician career, here are ten tips to help you prepare for and secure a job.

1. Get certified.

One way to validate your skills to a potential employer is to earn a computer or help desk support certification. Consider starting with a foundational certificate, like the CompTIA A+ credential, to help make your resume stand out to hiring managers. With the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, you’ll learn the job-ready skills you need while preparing yourself to pass the CompTIA A+ exam, even with no previous experience.

The Google IT Support Professional Certificate has helped me get a headstart on my degree in Computer Science as I did not have to take the ‘How Computers Work’ class and my certificate was recognized as proof of knowing some of the basics. In addition, this certificate gave me the confidence I needed to apply for the degree program. -Jason N., Coursera learner

Some companies require you to get technician certifications in the specific product that the company uses. For example, a company working with Apple computers might prefer the AppleCare Mac Technician (ACMT) certification, while a company that uses Windows may want the Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification.

Check some job listings of positions you might want to apply for to see what industry certifications are recommended or required.

Learn more: 10 Essential IT Certifications

2. Gain essential skills.

Forty percent of computer technicians have a bachelor's degree, 38 percent have an associate degree, and 10 percent have a high school diploma [1]. Most commonly, computer technicians study computer science, computer information systems, information technology, or a related field. A training program or college degree can help you build your technical knowledge, provide opportunities to gain practical experience, and give you a competitive edge over other applicants.

Tip: Consider pursuing your degree online from an accredited university so you can continue working (and earning a paycheck) as you learn. 


3. Build a computer.

Get to know computer technology inside and out—literally—by building your own computer. As you gather and assemble the components of a computer, you’ll learn about its structure, what makes it work, and what hardware issues correspond to what parts. 

In addition to the real-world experience, you’ll end up with a machine customized to your needs and likely for less than what you’d pay for a comparable pre-built computer in a store.

4. Practice fixing common computer problems.

One of your biggest tasks in a computer technician job will be identifying and solving hardware and software issues. But you don’t need to get hired to start gaining experience fixing computers. 

Chances are your family members, friends, and co-workers experience computer problems from time to time. Let them know you’re willing to help. You can also search local classified ads for unwanted broken computers that you can try to diagnose and fix. Keep track of your work so you can add your successes to your resume.

My advice for someone who is interested in pursuing a career in IT is to own it. Even if you don't have the background, education, or experience needed to start a new role in IT - take the time to sit down with a laptop and learn absolutely everything you can. Anything is possible. -Sean F., Coursera learner

5. Develop your non-technical skills.

Strong technical skills and knowledge of computer systems are critical for success in the IT industry, but keep in mind that you’ll also be working with people. Developing these "soft skills" can not only help you impress hiring managers but can help make you a better technician once you’re on the job. Here are a few examples of skills you'll need for a successful career in this role:

  • Solid communication techniques help you to actively listen and ask the right questions when walking a co-worker through a computer setup or helping a user troubleshoot a software issue.

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills empower you to find solutions to complex problems that might not exist in the current documentation.

  • The ability to write clearly allows you to effectively document your actions for a company knowledge base or customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Learn more: 7 In-Demand IT Skills to Boost Your Resume

6. Volunteer your skills.

Another excellent way to improve your skill set while earning resume-ready experience is to volunteer for an organization in need of computer repair. Check with local schools, small businesses, or not-for-profit organizations to find out where you can help.

Remember to ask for a letter of recommendation outlining the type and amount of volunteer work you performed, including specific IT tasks. Keep the contact information of the people you work with. They might make excellent references when you start applying for jobs.

Read more: How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation (Template + Tips)


7. Apply for an internship.

Get hands-on experience and expand your professional network by applying for help desk internships in your area or online. With a paid or unpaid internship, you’ll get to learn from experienced IT professionals while troubleshooting hardware and software problems in the real world.

Check for intern openings on LinkedIn or other local job boards. If you’re enrolled in a degree program, the career services department of your university may be able to help you find local opportunities.

8. Update your resume.

Your resume or CV is often the first impression you’ll have on a recruiter or hiring manager. Invest the time to make it as good as it can be now, and you’ll be that much closer to securing interviews later.

As you build or update your resume, be sure to include any certifications and degrees you’ve earned, as well as volunteer or other previous experience you’ve had with working with computers. Highlight the skills you’ve developed, especially those skills listed on the job description for the position you’re applying for. Try to be as specific as possible when describing your achievements.

9. Practice common IT interview questions.

Interviewing for a job can feel like a big step, and it’s normal to feel a little nervous. Build your confidence by rehearsing some common interview questions ahead of time. When you’re sitting in front of the hiring manager or recruiter, you’ll look and feel more prepared. Here are some questions to start with:

  • How do you communicate technical information clearly to non-technical people?

  • What is your troubleshooting process?

  • How do you keep your skills and knowledge current?

  • What operating systems are you familiar with?

  • Can you tell me about a time you’ve had to deal with a difficult person? How did you handle it?

  • What do you do when you encounter an error you can’t solve?

  • What are your favorite or least favorite technology products? Why?

  • What questions do you ask when troubleshooting a user’s computer problem?

  • How do you prioritize your work when you have more than one project at a time?

Learn more: 10 Common IT Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

If you need a refresher before your interview, consider completing a short guided project through Coursera. Options include Getting Started with Linux Terminal and Introduction to Networks and Cisco Devices.


10. Start applying for jobs.

Set aside some time each day to browse job search sites for computer technician positions. Pay careful attention to any directions regarding how to apply. Some companies will have you fill out a form and upload your resume. Others might ask you to email a cover letter along with your resume. 

Don’t be afraid to apply to jobs even if you lack some of the qualifications. You might be the best candidate even if you’re not one hundred percent qualified (especially if you can demonstrate your passion and customer service skills).

Regarding job searching, don't be intimidated by the job descriptions and think you're not qualified enough for the position or any position. Apply with confidence, interview with confidence, and be prepared. - Stevenson B., Coursera learner

Remember that your first job as a computer technician is also the first step in what might be a much longer career. The experience you gain can create opportunities to advance to other, higher-paying career paths in cybersecurity, app or software development, systems administration, or cloud engineering.

Take the next step toward your computer technician career with Coursera

You can gain in-demand hardware and software skills with an industry leader in technology through IBM's IT Support Professional Certificate. In this beginner-friendly, self-paced online course, you'll practice setting up and troubleshooting hardware and software through hands-on exercises.

Article sources

  1. Zippia. "Best Colleges and Majors for Computer Technicians," Accessed July 7, 2023.

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.