Computer technicians are also called computer support specialists, IT specialists or help desk technicians. They help users with technical problems in computer hardware or software through the phone, email, online chat or in person. Although they have full-time jobs, many do not work from 9 to 5 because problems can happen at any time. Their weekly salaries depend on who employs them and where they work.
Computer technicians earned a mean $996 per week, as of May 2011, states the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Averages for the bottom and top 10 percent of earners ranged from below $557 to above $1,561. For the bottom and top quarter, ranges were under $711 to higher than $1,202. To earn this pay, technicians listen to customers describe their problems and ask questions for more information. If working remotely, they walk individuals through the steps of a solution. In person, they apply fixes themselves. They also set up and repair computers and peripherals, train users in software and hardware use, and report to managers on the type and frequency of problems that users experience.
The industry with the most jobs for computer technicians was computer system design, containing almost 20 percent of the total 632,490 workers and offering mean weekly salaries of $1,031. The businesses with the highest salaries were trusts, estates and open-end investment funds. Techs here averaged $1,397 per week. Employers generally prefer a bachelor’s degree for computer specialists working in large corporations. However, for online services or small businesses, an associate degree or post-secondary classes may be sufficient. With any educational background, techs receive on-the-job training so they can learn the peculiarities of their employers' systems and software.
Large populations rely on more computers and offer more opportunities for computer technicians. The two most populous states of California and Texas boasted employment for 67,880 and 54,370, respectively, and mean weekly salaries of $1,135 and $1,034, respectively. The highest paying employers were in the District of Columbia, which the BLS classified with states. Mean weekly slaries here ran $1,232. For cities, the most populous city, New York, showed the most jobs, with 26,270 techs averaging $1,153 per week. The best pay was in San Jose, California, at a mean annual salary of $73,350.
With a growing population hungry for more computers, computer support specialists are predicted to enjoy job increases of 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS. This is greater than the 14 percent expected for all positions in all industries, but under the 22 percent forecast for all computer occupations. The expanding healthcare industries will provide much employment as it increases its use of information technology. Unfortunately, employment may be depressed by the outsourcing of lower level support jobs overseas due to lower costs. The best opportunities will go to those with bachelor’s degrees and strong technical backgrounds.