Reduced to the narrowest definition possible, a computer repair technician is responsible for the diagnosis and correction of any hardware or software issues that may arise on a client's computer. In reality, this description is expanded to include the installation of new or replacement computer hardware and peripherals, as well as software, including upgrades, and any other actions necessary to carry out the previously listed tasks.
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First and foremost, a computer technician, or engineer, as the position is sometimes referred to, needs to be able to troubleshoot a computer failure that has incapacitated a system or reduced its performance. Once the defective component or components have been identified, the technician tells the customer what the diagnosis is and ensures that the customer approves the repair. Once approval is given, all defective components are replaced and thorough testing is done, to confirm that the issue has been resolved.
In many cases, computer-related problems are not due to a hardware failure but instead are caused by software issues, such as software corruption, incorrect installation, incompatible upgrades or malware. It is the computer repair technician’s duty to isolate and resolve these issues, often explaining in clear, non-technical terms to the end user what created the problem and how to avoid its recurrence.
Speaking specifically to the Microsoft Windows environment, malware, or malicious software, is a scourge that presents many opportunities for the computer repair technician to handle. Familiarity with antivirus software is critical, as well as the ability to deal with spyware, which is malware that collects information from the infected computer, and adware, autoloading ads that come with a software installation.
The end user may constantly provide new and different challenges to the computer repair technician, who must install and configure whatever piece of hardware the user has elected to purchase. This can range from a printer to a cell phone or PDA that needs to be synched up to a computer’s database. In order to carry out this aspect of a technician’s job responsibilities, it is necessary to be aware of the new gadgets introduced in this field.
The ability to neatly run cabling is a must for a computer repair technician, as well as being able to clearly communicate complex terms while training a customer in a newly installed device’s operation. As the technician is usually considered to be all-knowing when it comes to anything technical, part of the job will require providing advice on hardware and software purchases. In addition, a solid background in networking will be required as well as a deep familiarity with all of the commonly used operating systems.
According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, based on earnings for the calendar year 2006, a computer support specialist earns between £16,438 and £44,551, with a median average of £26,955.
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