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What Makes a Good PC Technician?

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Although many people have the ability to troubleshoot a PC, making a career out of PC support is a completely different endeavor. It requires a combination of certain personality traits:

  • Technical curiosity-Support technicians always need to be one step ahead of new technologies. They need to be aware of what is coming and how to integrate the old with the new. This applies to both hardware and software.

  • Creative thinking-Computer related problems and issues are diverse. Although much of the repairs and upgrades technicians do are routine, there are times when approaching a problem requires a creative solution.

  • Communication skills-PC support often requires direct contact with clients, customers, and users. PC technicians must be able to articulate the problem or issue with the computer to the client. Effective communication also includes listening as well as talking, which is a fact that seems to escape many PC support people.

  • Ability to learn from experience-Time is of the essence when repairing systems. Many of the problems PC support technicians encounter are repetitive. Keeping a record of past repairs can reduce the time needed to research solutions.

  • Resourcefulness-Not all the problems faced by technicians are obvious. When faced with a particularly difficult problem, technicians must be resourceful in finding the answer.This may include Internet research or calling on another technician's expertise.

  • Lack of fear with new technologies-The breadth of technologies that PC support technicians must deal with means that they will often be working with a product or system that they are unfamiliar with. In these situations, a combination of a cautious approach and a willingness to investigate the problem are necessary. In many situations, withdrawing from a problem is not an option.

  • Ability to work under pressure-Many people rely on their computer systems and when the computers go down, so does their business.Technicians are required to work in situations where there is always pressure to fix systems in the shortest possible time. Almost every computer repair call that a technician undertakes will be accompanied by the question,"I can't work without my computer, how long is this going to take?"

  • Integrity-Unfortunately, there is the potential for technicians to take advantage of unknowing customers. The onus is on the technician to find the most economic and expedient fix to the customer's problem. This involves the obvious traits, such as being honest about what is wrong, but also other attributes, like making sure that all avenues have been explored before performing costly repairs.
Can all of these characteristics be found in one person? Sure they can. The people who possess all of these skills and who know how to use them in the correct proportion are the superstars of the PC support world.

Daily Tasks

Due to the diversity and range of responsibilities and jobs a PC support technician is called upon to perform, it is difficult to nail down the exact daily tasks.The following list contains some of the common daily duties of a PC support person. Even though you are employed as a technician, do not be surprised to find yourself performing tasks other than those listed here:
  • Provide computer support services-PC support technicians will find themselves pro-viding technical support for clients or customers whether in person or over the phone. Supporting users comprises a large part of a PC support technician's job.

  • Software maintenance and upgrading-Frequently, as soon as a new software package is released, it is immediately followed with a service pack or an upgrade package. These upgrades provide solutions to problems discovered in the program. Technicians have to be aware of these software patches and be able to use them to fix software related problems.

  • Keep a log of troubleshooting and fixes used-Computer related problems are largely repetitive. Technicians who have worked in the IT industry for a number of years will have a detailed history of problems and their solutions.

  • Diagnose and troubleshoot software and hardware related issues-The bottom line is, this is what a technician is trained and hired to do. Whether it is an illegal operation error, invalid boot disk, or faulty CD-ROM drive, a technician's job is to diagnose the problem, and then fix it. In many cases, the problem can be fixed while the PC is on the client's desk, but occasionally the computer needs to be removed and a replacement unit left in its place. This often necessitates the transferring of data from one PC to another.

  • Maintain inventory of software and hardware-Technicians employed by companies are often required to keep track of the computers and software being used. This is an easy but sometimes mundane task that requires accuracy and diligence. License conformance is a weighty issue with companies and software manufacturers alike.

  • Set up of new equipment and software packages-Companies spend a great deal of money purchasing new hardware and software. It is the PC support person's role to ensure that the new software and hardware is set up and configured correctly. In many cases, this may include the training of users in the use of the new systems or software.
  • Preventative maintenance schedules-The best computer repair is the one that never has to be done. Preventative maintenance, such as defragmenting hard drives and cleaning systems, can prevent the need for future repairs. In many cases, PC support staff are required to create a schedule for such maintenance as well as carry it out.

  • Provide informal training-Helping users may seem like just curing another problem, but in many cases, it becomes more than just help and develops into informal training. This requires that PC support technicians take their existing qualities of technical ability and communication skills and add patience to the mix. Helping someone with something they don't understand can be very rewarding, and many PC support people enjoy this facet of their role more than any other.

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