By Diane Turner
With so much of the world depending on computer technology today, computer technicians tend to be in high demand. Much of the salary information tied to these positions is dependent on the type of industry where these individuals work. Computer technicians are usually employed by business to keep their networks up and running at the proper efficiency levels.
There are a variety of factors within the industry that can impact a computer technician salary. The type of work these individuals are trained to perform as well as the level of experience they have in the field will directly impact the amount they may charge for their services. Technicians may also make a different salary based on whether or not they are employed to maintain a specific business network or they provide freelance service to a variety of clients.
Supportive Roles in the Computer Technician Industry
A computer technician is already a supportive role, so there is not much by way of specific supportive positions that would work beneath a full-fledged technician. In general, those with more training and a wider range of expertise can expect to see more responsibility and a higher computer technician salary than those that are new to the field.
In general, computer technicians fall into two categories, maintenance and operators. Maintenance staff will be responsible for maintaining computer software. This will usually include troubleshooting the software, making repairs to the hardware and performing frequent analysis exercises to make sure the system is running properly. In some cases, maintenance technicians will be responsible for maintaining the security system for a given network, helping people establish their login information and the appropriate security passwords for different parts of the system.
Computer operator technicians will be responsible for maintaining the physical computer equipment that is used in a given workspace. This can include managing additional devices like the printer, scanners or fax machines as well. They will set up this equipment, make sure it is running properly and connected to the network the way it should be. If any equipment is showing an error message or failing to give the proper output, the operator will be responsible for determining the problem and making any necessary repairs to correct it.
Working as a Computer Technician
The type of work you will be asked to do as a technician will vary based on your level of expertise. Those that are trained in repairs will largely focus on the physical hardware of the computer and its components rather than the software. This can include replacing old parts, fixing broken parts or recommending upgrades for a system that has become outdated. The computer technician salary for these individuals will vary because they are usually employed by an outside company like an electronics store and are called to a customer’s home on demand. Some of these individuals may work on commission.
In a similar vein, help desk or customer service technicians will work with customers on an on-demand basis. They will need to be familiar with how to repair the software and hardware components of a computer so they can diagnose a wide variety of problems. They may be called to address computer issues on-site or individuals may bring in computers for diagnosis in a shop. In a large help desk facility many individuals will specialize in one type of repairs to ensure that all issues that arise will be addressed with the highest quality care possible. In this case, individuals will earn a standard hourly wage rather than a commission-based salary.
In order to work in the computer technician field you will need to become certified. This may include a vendor-specific certification that entitles you to work on a specific type of machine like a Dell, Cisco or Apple product. A vendor-neutral certification notes a specific piece of training within the industry, such as installing, diagnosing or configuring a system. Many technicians opt to earn multiple certifications to increase their potential computer technician salary within the industry.
Salaries and Employment Compared to Other Industries
The current average computer technician salary is around $41,000 annually. The hourly rate for this type of work typically ranges from $8-17 depending on where the individual is employed and the type of specialties they have. Those that are on a career advancement track can easily earn up to $65,000 annually as a computer technicians. This is somewhat higher than many other positions in the service industry, but not as high as many professions in the hard sciences. Those that found their own business or work in an HR capacity for a business can typically expect to earn more than those that are working at a help desk or through an electronics department. Earning certifications from an accredited program can also earn computer technicians a more competitive salary than those working in the service industry without any training.