Name: Mike Petry
Job Title: Computer Technician
Where: Southern California
Employer: Pacific Boat Trailers/Self
Years of Experience: 23
Education: Some College / Self Taught (A+ Cert)
Salary: See PayScale's Research Center for the average salary for a computer technician
Computer Technician Career
For those interested in a computer technician career, the job outlook for computer technicians (and other techies) seems bright. A computer technician's starting salary will vary depending on many factors, including location, experience, and certifications earned. However, regardless of starting salary, a computer technician career offers high growth potential. With that in mind, we recently spoke to computer technician Mike Petry about the average salary for a computer technician, the job description of a computer technician, a computer technician starting salary, and computer technician qualifications.
In addition to all his "teching," Mike also writes a blog about his computer technician career called "CRS-Caffeinated and Requiring Sugar" at fine12.blogspot.com. If you're wondering about computer technician starting salaries, the average salary for computer technician professionals, or how to embark on a computer technician career, don't miss this interview with a self-made pro.
Job Description of a Computer Technician:
As a computer technician, I deal with all manner of computer problems: software installations and removal, hardware upgrades and initial computer set-up. I also deal with network set-up, configuration and security. I am a bit like a mobile help desk or part-time tech support for many different clients, both home users and small businesses.
What were your steps toward a computer technician career?
I did not follow a typical path to a computer technician career. I first began working with computers in school in 1984. Once out of school, my first career found me working in the aviation industry as a painter for vintage aircraft restorations. I then wanted to move into the computer industry, but found no openings for a self-taught, non-certified technician.
I went and bought a study guide for the Comptia A+ certification, learned the correct terms for all the parts and procedures that I had worked with for years, and passed the test easily. It was then that I found out that A+ certified technicians make less then aircraft painters. I continued to work on computers for friends and family, as well as my own, but a career change was not looking likely.
I was then fired from my last job as an aircraft painter, and found a job at a small manufacturing company as a production painter. In the slow season, I requested that the General Manager allow me to type up the paint formulas in an Excel spreadsheet I made at home. He accepted my proposal and I had the formulas done in a day. As I was working, I noticed that their computers were not well taken care of and I offered to clean them up.
The General Manager was surprised that I knew how, but quickly gave me the green light. Before the week was out, I was no longer a painter, I was the IT Manager. After more varied experience, I decided to try my own business, hopefully with my current employer as my biggest client.
What do you like or dislike about being a computer technician?
I enjoy the variety of things that I get to work on and the thrill of solving issues that others are unable to solve. It is amazing how grateful a person can be for 5 mouse clicks, especially when it’s 5 clicks that they didn’t know how to make. I sometimes get frustrated with trying to find the right examples to get a client to understand what I need or want them to do, especially when trying to work over the phone.
Can you recall any amusing moments from your computer technician career?
The best by far was the poor woman who had tried 5 times to send a fax and was almost in tears because it was not going through. A quick phone call revealed that it had been received 5 times, when I went to return the document to her, she said “you can’t get it to go either?” Not sure how to reply, I explained that she sent it five times. She then got angry and demanded to know why they kept sending it back; it seems she was not aware that she was not sending them the original.
Do you have any advice for those interested in a computer technician career?
I would pay forward the best advice I every received: “It is far more important to have the right thought process than to know everything that might happen.” That advice helped me to have the confidence to handle most computer issues, even if I have not dealt with that particular problem before.
What is the average salary for a computer technician?
I am not sure what the average salary for a computer technician is, but I made a $40K computer technician salary with a small manufacturer. I am hopeful to double that in my first year on my own, but only time will tell. 😉
How does your salary compare to the average salary for a computer technician? Learn the answer with our salary survey.