How to Become
an IT Technician
Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications
The IT industry is an incredibly exciting place to work. If you love computers, meeting people, and solving problems, a career as an IT technician might be for you. With computer technologies and software always evolving, there will always be a need for good IT technicians.
IT technicians need qualifications before entering the job market. These can be obtained through university courses, bootcamps, online programs, and more.
If you want to learn how to become an IT technician, read on. This article will cover potential education pathways, technician salaries, and job interview questions.
What Is an IT Technician?
IT technicians are at the forefront of computer repair. They fix broken hard drives, troubleshoot software and operating systems, and perform general maintenance on home and office computers. IT technicians can work as part of big tech corporations, as freelancers, or within a large computer or tech store.
IT technicians also have basic knowledge of front end programming and coding. Technicians are expected to know how to remove computer viruses, recover lost data, and update drivers. IT technicians with more experience can be expected to run system checks and perform complex backup procedures.
What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become an IT Technician?
The first step to pursuing an IT technician education is to complete high school. Schools offer computer-related subjects, and it is important to have a high school diploma. The diploma allows you to apply to university courses, coding bootcamps, and online courses.
IT technician is a job that does not require high education. You can become an IT technician after completing a short online course or a bootcamp. If you want to pursue a lifelong career in IT, it may be worth considering getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.
A bachelor’s degree can help you perform with more versatility and offer greater career prospects.
Best IT Technician Education Tracks
There are many pathways that lead to a career in IT. Employers will want to see certifications or proof of education. Becoming an IT technician doesn’t require a college degree. However, there are some must-haves, like specific IT certifications which can only be gained through tech courses or bootcamps.
Vocational schools are a great way to start your journey into IT. Vocational schools fall within the post-secondary level of education category. Some vocational schools offer technical apprenticeships at the further education level.
There are many exciting IT vocational schools throughout the US. These include the Georgia Piedmont Technical College, the State Technical College of Missouri, or the Lake Area Technical Institute in South Dakota. If you have a clear ambition to break into IT, vocational schools are worth considering.
Community colleges in the US have the dual function of providing technical training for jobs and preparing students for a bachelor’s degree. Courses at community colleges are laser-focused, academic, and last two years. Note that community college courses are known to be much cheaper than university courses.
If you have completed high school and worry about the time and cost commitment of university, community college might be the solution for you. There are many IT-focused colleges across the US. These include Valencia College in Florida, Santa Monica College, and the City College of San Francisco.
IT Technician Degrees
IT technician degrees cover a lot of ground. Programs usually last three to four years and are designed to set students up for long and successful careers. A lot of universities offer information technology degrees merged with other subjects. These can include cyber security, front end programming, and even machine learning.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science is considered the educational must-have for IT technicians. Computer science degrees cover IT fundamentals and provide an all-rounded tech curriculum.
IT Technician Bootcamps
Bootcamps are renowned for providing students with short, straight-to-the-point courses and programs. If you would like to dive straight into your field of interest, a bootcamp is perfect. Courses can last from two to 12 months. There are many bootcamps across the US that cover IT technician subjects.
Have a look at bootcamp courses offered by the likes of Thinkful, Hackbright Academy, and DevMountain. Note that bootcamps focus on the coding and programming side of computer science. A coding-focused education for an IT technician is incredibly valuable and will allow you to cover more ground as a technician.
IT Technician Courses
Finally, IT technician courses abound across the Internet. An array of online platforms such as massive online open courses (MOOCs) provide short, but useful, training. MOOCs that offer IT technician courses include Coursera, edX, and Udacity.
Make sure you try to find courses that offer certificates upon completion. You will find that some online courses don’t offer any. Certificates are useful for your resume, and the job- search stage of your career. Short online courses are a great idea if you are still unsure about becoming an IT technician but would like to dip your toe in the water.
How to Become an IT Technician: A Step-by-Step Guide
Becoming an IT technician is quite straightforward. However, there are some crucial steps to note. To give you an idea of the traditional pathway to becoming an IT technician, we’ve compiled a brief step-by-step guide.
Complete high school, or vocational school.
It is important to start off with a high school diploma. This will make all of the next steps much easier. Alternatively, vocational schools can give you technical training. This can amount to a head start.
Practice computer repair.
If you want to become an IT technician, you can take the initiative. There are plenty of free online resources on how to repair computers, fix hardware, or replace computer screens. Look up tutorials on YouTube or on Google about how to fix or build computers.
Attend a course or college program.
Now that you’ve completed high school and have some hands-on experience with computers, look into courses. Computer science degrees provide the best full-rounded education. Bootcamps and online courses are shorter, but can also help you kickstart your career.
Build a network.
After completing a computer science course, you will need to expand your professional network. Attending an on-campus course at a university will allow you to meet like-minded tech enthusiasts and potential colleagues. It is important to make the most of your education to create professional circles.
Choose a career path.
IT technicians can work full-time in big tech firms, or part-time at their own pace as freelancers. You can also choose to work in big hardware stores if you would like financial security.
Key IT Technician Skills
Becoming an IT technician requires commitment and a curious mind. You will need to acquire in-depth computer knowledge. Your education is crucial in providing you with the tools you need for a successful career.
We’ve created a brief list of key skills you need to become a proficient IT technician.
IT technicians are required to have outstanding communication skills, as well as time-management and organizational abilities. IT technicians work with other people, explain problems and offer guidance to solve issues.
It is important that you master the art of communication to provide a smooth and valuable service to clients and employers. IT technicians often have to simplify complex pieces of information for confused clients.
Diagnostic and Problem-Solving Skills
IT technicians are expected to have developed logical, intuitive, and practical-thinking abilities. For many, the most exciting aspect of a technician’s job is problem solving. IT technicians are expected to perform troubleshooting flawlessly, diagnosing and resolving problems.
Understanding of Diverse Computer Systems and Softwares
IT technicians set up workstations and computers, as well as printers and external routers. It is important to know how different pieces of hardware work and how they connect to each other.
Furthermore, IT technicians know how to operate using different software configurations. This requires technical versatility and is a skill set acquired and developed at the university level.
IT Technician Salary and Job Outlook
An IT technician can also be known as an IT consultant. It is a very well-paid job, and technicians are increasingly in demand across the US. According to PayScale, IT technicians earn on average $79,384 per year.
An IT technician’s entry-level salary can start at $51,000. Furthermore, senior-level IT technicians can reach a base salary of up to $125,000. The salary range between an entry-level position and a senior-level position is huge. An IT technician career offers many opportunities for career advancement.
Entry-Level IT Technician Job Requirements
There are no formal requirements or qualifications needed to become an IT technician. If you have contacts and have good IT skills, you can start work immediately in this role. If you would like to work for a firm or a tech store, qualifications or certifications are required.
What Does an IT Technician Do?
An IT technician covers a lot of ground. From repairing physically broken computers to setting up an IT workplace, an IT technician provides invaluable services. We’ve compiled a brief list of tasks an IT technician can be expected to undertake.
Answer Queries About Windows
IT technicians are expected to know a lot about Windows. Answering questions and queries about functionality, rebooting, and malware in Windows is a big part of a technician’s job.
Offer Remote Support
IT technicians are often called upon to diagnose and configure problems remotely. Technicians can help get a client’s hardware, software, and operating systems configured and fully functional.
You may be expected to work over the phone, or via screen-sharing. This is where your crystal-clear communication soft skills become invaluable.
Perform Testing Procedures
An IT technician comes equipped with a variety of tools. You may be required to carry an anti-static wrist wrap, a set of screwdrivers, cable crimping tools, and a power supply tester. While most troubleshooting is done directly through a computer monitor, some maintenance and testing procedures may require physical hardware.
An IT technician is expected to know how to handle physical computer repair tools, as well as electrical testing devices, to make sure every element is plugged in and functional.
IT Technician Certifications
If you already have a bachelor’s or a high school diploma or would simply like to switch careers into IT, certifications can be useful. Many online courses offer certifications that you can use to ramp up your resume.
CompTIA IT Fundamentals
CompTIA offers a fully remote short course for students who would like a career switch. The program covers IT fundamentals. Modules include how to diagnose computer errors and software malfunction. The program offers certification upon successful completion of an exam. The exam fee is $126.
Microsoft 365 Fundamentals
This is an exciting short course that covers the basics of Microsoft 365 products and services. If you are unfamiliar with Microsoft, this is a fantastic certification to add to your resume. The exam fee is $99.
Microsoft Technology Associate
How to Prepare for Your IT Technician Job Interview
If you’ve already landed a job interview for an IT job, congratulations. If you would like some tips as to what to expect or how to prepare, we’ve listed a few practice questions. The key to any job interview is confidence. Most IT technician interviews do not cover technical questions, but it is always a good idea to prepare just in case.
IT Technician Job Interview Practice Questions
- In your opinion, what is the most effective troubleshooting process?
- How would you handle a busy schedule and tight deadlines?
- How would you go about explaining clear technical details to a client or user?
- What do you know about our company, and why would you like to work with us?
How Long Does It Take to Become an IT Technician?
It can take as little as four months to become an IT technician. You can complete a short course if you already have knowledge of IT fundamentals. However, if you are a complete beginner, you should envisage a learning curve of up to two years.
Keep in mind that IT technologies are constantly improving. What you learn through a course or at school will probably have evolved by the time you land a job. This is the exciting thing about becoming an IT technician. You are constantly learning.
Should You Become an IT Technician in 2021?
The 2021 job market is looking good for IT technicians. In light of the pandemic, a great number of businesses and workplaces shifted online. This is good news for tech enthusiasts because it means a greater pool of potential clients.
According to Indeed, Washington, DC is the best place in America to become an IT technician. Different cities and states offer a variety of job and career prospects, so make sure you do your research.
IT Technician FAQ
Do I need to know coding to become an IT technician?
Yes. You’ll need to master the basic fundamentals of coding. IT technicians are constantly using tools like Command Prompt or PowerShell. Having a background in software engineering will also expand your job prospects.
Do I need a degree to become an IT technician?
No. A degree certainly gives you an advantage, but if you have a certification or a high school diploma, these will also add credentials to your job application. A degree is not required if you have good contacts and can easily sell yourself and your skills.
How can I know if I am paid fairly as an IT technician?
Can I be an IT technician if I only know about Macs?
No. It is important that you are versatile. A lot of people use Mac technologies in the US. However, if you would like to pursue a full-fledged career in IT, it is important that you learn about all hardware and software technologies.