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 computer technician works at a dual-screen workstation in an office with windows behind them.

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 10 tips.

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:

  • Setting up hardware and installing software

  • Performing repairs on computers and other peripherals

  • Providing support for software or hardware issues

  • 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 helping others through a role 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 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 whilst 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 recognised as proof of knowing some of the basics. In addition, this certificate gave me the confidence I needed to apply for the degree programme. - Jason Niro, Coursera learner

Some companies require you to get certified in the specific technology the company uses. Check job listings of positions you might want to apply for to see what certifications they recommend or require.

2. Pursue a formal education.

Whilst not all computer technical support jobs require a degree, having formal training can help build your computer knowledge and give you a competitive edge over other applicants. Education requirements vary. Some companies require a diploma in computer hardware maintenance and networking or desktop repair, whilst others look for at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. 

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 a 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. Practise fixing common computer problems.

One of your biggest tasks as a computer technician 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 coworkers 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 you can try to diagnose and fix. Keep track of your work to 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 Flanagan, 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 you’ll also be working with people. Developing workplace skills can help impress hiring managers and make you a better technician once you’re on the job. Here are some helpful skills to have:

  • Solid communication techniques help you to actively listen and ask the right questions when walking a coworker through a computer setup or assisting a user in troubleshooting a software issue. 

  • Critical thinking empowers you to find solutions to 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 whilst earning resume-ready experience is volunteering for an organisation needing computer repair. Check with local schools, small businesses, or not-for-profit organisations 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.


7. Apply for an internship.

Get hands-on experience and additional professional references by applying for help desk internships in your area or online. One way to find internship openings is by checking postings on Naukri or other local job boards. With a paid or unpaid internship, you’ll learn from experienced IT professionals whilst troubleshooting hardware and software problems in the real world.

8. Update your CV.

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

As you build or update your resume, 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 to. 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, and it’s normal to feel nervous. Build your confidence by rehearsing some common interview questions. You'll look and feel more prepared when you’re sitting in front of the hiring manager or recruiter. Be prepared to talk about your skills, interests, and goals, as well as your familiarity with operating systems, programming languages, and troubleshooting methods.

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


10. Apply for jobs.

Set aside time each day to browse job search sites for computer technician positions. Pay careful attention to any directions regarding how to apply.

Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs, even if you lack some of the qualifications. You might be the best candidate even if you’re not 100 per cent 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.

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