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Computer/Computer Systems Technology/Technician

Program Description

Just the Facts

Computer/Computer Systems Technology/Technician. A program that prepares individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of professionals who use computer systems. Includes instruction in basic computer design and architecture, programming, problems of specific computer applications, component and system maintenance and inspection procedures, hardware and software problem diagnosis and repair, and report preparation.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

Technology is always improving. Computers don't crash like they used to, and people are more adept at using them than they once were. Consequently, computer repair students need to broaden their skill set to get better jobs. A good computer repair program can help them prepare for the challenge.

"Students really need to know PC maintenance as a platform, but they should pair it with other skills," says Janet MacDuff. She is the academic director of a business college. She says that those who only have repair skills will find themselves at the lower end of the pay scale.

That's because today's technical support specialists are expected to be multi-tasking problem-solvers. They might be asked to fix hardware, such as monitors, keyboards, printers and mice. They could also install, change and maintain computer hardware and software. They may be asked to train users on how to use computer hardware and software. Some might analyze the computer system and suggest ways for it to be more useful.

Because the skill set is so broad, there are many educational paths to follow.

Most computer repair programs are at the two-year college level. Few programs offer only computer repair -- it's usually coupled with another skill, since schools recognize the changing needs of employers.

People with bachelor's degrees in computer engineering may also go into computer repair.

Employers look for applicants who have a mix of certifications from vendors and manufacturers, a college education, and some hands-on experience. Some jobs will require four-year bachelor's degrees, but many hire grads from shorter college programs.

When deciding on a college, ask if they offer preparation for certification. You may also want to sit in on a class for a day to see if you like it.

"Some people think that because they can put a computer together and take it apart, that they will like the program. But there is a lot of theory and a lot of hard work and study necessary in this program," warns MacDuff.

Wesley Shelton agrees that students will work hard during the program. He instructs network technology students at Beaufort County Community College in North Carolina.

"I teach classes that run till 9 p.m., and many nights I find students sitting in rooms trying to solve problems or doing work here because the application needed to do the work is only available to them here at the school," says Shelton.

Shelton advises that high school students take, "more math, English, science and any high school-offered computer classes."

MacDuff recommends visiting colleges before your last year of high school. Ask what courses are offered. Then you can register for similar courses in your final year of high school to get a base of knowledge.

"You can learn faster and advance more quickly if you have some background going in," she says.

Look for summer jobs or volunteer opportunities at community access centers or with IT instructors at your school.

Some high schools offer co-op programs that could place you with an IT company. Some programs make applications available via the Internet.

You will need a fast connection and a good computer for the programs to work correctly.

Textbooks, software and computer accessories will be additional costs. Certifications can be costly, too.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to Computer Repair Programs, see: Computer Support Specialists and Systems Administrators

A resource for computer repair technicians

Kids and Computers
Online computer lessons for kids


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  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733