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Computer/Computer Systems Technology/Technician


Insider Info

What to Expect

Not all computer repair programs are created alike. It's important to research schools before applying so you can make sure you're going to get quality instruction.

Computer repair students will have more job opportunities if they take a program that teaches a diverse skill set. Students must learn advanced technical skills to maintain and repair personal computers.

These skills can include upgrading, building, configuring and buying parts for personal computers. Students learn to troubleshoot hardware and software problems. They also build networking and computer setup skills to prepare for computer and networking administration and support roles.

Megan Bachini is a computer service technology student at Boise State University. Hers is a two-year associate's degree program. She wants to become a field technician.

"We will have an advantage over other technicians because we will have learned not just [about] computers but networking, printers, document imaging, as well as wiring," she says.

She already works for a local company that sets up networks, does wireless security, basic hardware repairs and more.

Getting hands-on experience is the key for students in computer repair. They must know how to apply the theories they learn in class.

Many programs offer co-op terms or practical problems to give their students experience.

"I have enjoyed the hands-on learning and the small classroom sizes. It gives us a chance to have practical experience and in some cases taught us valuable lessons on how to troubleshoot. The small class sizes have allowed our class to become friends and work together," says Bachini.A typical day at her college is a six-hour mix of classroom training and lab experience.

Eric Wang is taking a two-year computer studies diploma program. The program offers co-op work placements. Now he is doing a co-op placement in a tech support role. He hopes to become a programmer, but he's building experience now with system integration.

"System integration is a really good entrance to the computer science industry because it allows me to understand the fundamentals of networking, restoring data, hardware and administration," says Wang. He is glad his courses are really broad. That way, they can expand to different occupations within computer science.

Wang warns students to expect difficult assignments, especially when they first start the program. "After the fundamental knowledge of programming is built, the rest of the computer science courses will be comprehensible," he says. "When one is stuck on a question, don't be afraid to ask the professors, for they will not bite."

Books can get expensive. So can technology. "The major cost that I run into is making sure I have an up-to-date computer," says Bachini.

How to Prepare

"The courses that I think would have helped some of my classmates would be basic chemistry and math. A lot of the materials we use are elements, and understanding what they are helped me know why we use them," says Bachini.

In high school, Wang took IT and networking classes. They helped him build a fundamental knowledge of networking and simple programming. He recommends these classes to future IT students.


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