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

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Computer technicians and support specialists will likely always be in demand. Learn more about the field and get yourself job-ready with these 10 tips.

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

There’s hardly an industry where computers don’t play a role. That means there likely will always be a demand for computer technicians and support specialists to keep those computers and networks running.

What does a computer technician do?

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

  • Handling hardware and software installation

  • Repairing computers and various components

  • Dealing with hardware and software issues 

  • Helping with IT-related, new hire onboarding

  • Providing technical advice 

  • Updating software and systems as needed 

  • Completing troubleshooting steps for any system failures or glitches

  • Updating security and security protocols 

10 tips for getting a job as a computer technician

If you’re interested in helping others as a computer technician, here are 10 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 Google IT Support Professional Certificate, to learn the job-ready skills you need while preparing yourself to pass the CompTIA A+ exam, even with no previous experience.

Some companies will require you to be certified 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 job listings of positions you might want to apply for to see what certifications are recommended or required.

2. Pursue a formal education.

While not all computer technical support jobs require a degree, having one in computer science or a related field can help you build your computer knowledge and give you a competitive edge over other applicants. Some employers require experience as well as education.

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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 hands-on learning experience, you’ll end up with a machine customised 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 essential 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 to add your successes to your resume.

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 workplace skills can not only help you impress hiring managers but can help make you a better technician once you’re on the job.

Solid communication techniques help you to actively listen and ask the right questions when walking a co-worker through a computer setup or assisting a user in troubleshooting a software issue. Critical thinking empowers 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.

6. Volunteer your skills.

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

7. Apply for an internship.

Get hands-on experience and additional professional references 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 CV.

Your CV is often the first impression you’ll make on a recruiter or hiring manager. Invest the time to create a good CV to help you secure interviews. 

As you build or update your CV, 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 listed in the job description for the position you’re applying for. Try to be as specific as possible when describing your achievements.

9. Practise common IT interview questions.

Interviewing for a job can feel like a big step. Feeling nervous is normal. Build your confidence by rehearsing some common interview questions ahead of time. You'll look and feel more prepared when you're sitting in front of the hiring manager or recruiter Here are some questions to get you started:

  • 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? 

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

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

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

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

10. Start applying for jobs.

Set aside time to search for computer technician positions on job search sites. 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 Benoit, 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.

Get started

Build a foundation for success as a computer technician with the Google IT Support Professional Certificate on Coursera. When you complete this Professional Certificate, you can earn college credit if you apply and are accepted into an eligible degree program, like the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of London. 

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