College Advice Blog

Apr 24, 2012

Interview With A Computer Technician

I am currently employed as a computer technologist and have approximately 25 years of experience in this field of industry.

My job is to fix and install computer systems. This particular position entails correcting problems as well as providing my client with the tools they will need in order to optimize their production. A common misunderstanding that people may have about my profession is that computer technicians are all geeks who consider pocket protectors and thick-rimmed glasses as fashion accessories. Although uncommon, some of us actually have a personality (and even know how to dress).

I would rate my job satisfaction an 8.5. I would be over the moon if my clients were willing to change, adapt, and spend money on newer technology. While this job does not necessarily move my heart, I do find great satisfaction when I am able to resolve issues that are critical to a company’s function. I do my job well; however, the stress can be overwhelming at times.

I have something the new techs do not: many years of experience. I have excellent troubleshooting skills that stem from my work experience, not from a textbook. I would prefer to have someone with outstanding troubleshooting abilities work for me rather than a person who has a bunch of letters after his or her last name.

My affection for technology began when my Mom purchased an Intellivision computer that had 2K of RAM. I learned how to program in the basic language when I was a young teenager. By the time I was in junior high school, I could have taught the computer classes that I had taken. I was amazed that you could actually get a machine to do such awesome things. I took computers apart and then put them back together. I read and learned and read and learned and read and learned some more. The rest, as they say, is history.

The only thing I can think of that I regret not doing is keeping all my old computer stuff. I have learned many lessons in this industry, but I would say that one of the most important is to always back up your work. Not having a backup can be a killer. Make sure you know what you are doing before you do it, or you can plan to spend a lot of time correcting it. A data migration from one server to another went historically wrong and we worked through the night and into the next day recovering data. Eventually the issue was resolved.

The single most important thing I have learned outside of school about the working world is to know what you are doing, and to do it well. When I went to school the things I know now were not taught, and some of them did not even exist.

The reason I get up for work each day is because someone has to pay the bills. My father taught me his work ethic: You do what needs to be done. Period. He was a construction worker and eventually became foreman before he retired. My Dad was always on the job, did his work, pleased his bosses, treated his workers with respect, and with all his hard work he earned the respect of his crew. It makes me feel good to know that I can convey to everyday people computer jargon in a language they understand to show how things work, and also to show them I know what I am talking about.

I face many challenges at work each day, from PCs not turning on, to Firewall and e-mail issues, to printing and logging in, but the issue that really has me pulling my hair out is that people still get infected with viruses they know they should not open. One client had her new computer for a total of four hours before it was badly infected. It took almost two days to clean it.

My job can be very stressful. Some phone calls you just don’t want to see on a Sunday morning or in the middle of the night. I do try to maintain a healthy balance. Salary can range from 30k to 125k, depending on your experience. I think I am paid enough, however, living in my area requires more money. I take up to two weeks of vacation spread throughout the year. I believe this is enough time off.

Education helps, but I believe that experience is better. Know your stuff, keep up-to-date with technology, and you should have no problem remaining in this field for the long haul.

If a friend was considering my line of work, I would tell him or her to learn all there is to know about the particular field you want to enter, as there is a wide range of areas in which you can become specialized.

If I could write my own ticket, I would definitely like to have a few employees working for me, oversee large projects, and relax…just a little.

This is a true story as told to JustJobs Academy which houses career interviews and job search advice for professionals in any industry. Visit to read about how to search for the perfect job and get promoted once you’ve found it.

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