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Computer Technician
Computer technicians or computer service technicians are workers who install, diagnose problems, repair, maintain and upgrade a wide variety of computer and peripheral equipment.

Being a computer technician involves having the knowledge on how to build a PC from scratch, develop problem-solving techniques, running tests and diagnostics, technical support and installations. There are basically two types of technicians:

In-house technicians, work for a particular company, repairing and maintaining the computers and the network for the company.

Contract technicians, work for different companies on a contractual basis and check all their hardware or technical requirements; they may set-up and repair PCs and give technical support.

Tasks of computer technicians are complex and demanding. Technicians are responsible for the effective functioning of a wide range of computer equipment that can vary from personal computers (PCs), tele-processing and network equipment, small systems, to large and complex mainframe systems.

They are responsible for carrying out high quality repair and maintenance on the equipment for which they are responsible. They need a thorough knowledge of both theoretical and practical electronics and how to effectively use all the diagnostic tools and techniques available to minimize disruption to the customer and to improve productivity. Computer technicians also need the necessary software skills required by the type of equipment that they maintain, i.e. DOS, Windows, Unix, Novell, etc.

The work requires that computer technicians must keep abreast of the latest technological developments. Even after qualification, they must regularly attend training courses to update their knowledge and skills. Since technology is always changing and improving, technicians' training will continue throughout their career.

Technicians are responsible for keeping customers satisfied. They need to be able to understand and be responsive to customers' needs and requirements. They need to communicate effectively with customers regarding the repairs done and keep them fully informed of any unresolved or outstanding problems. They also attend meetings that monitor customer performance and develop solutions for existing problems. They would be well advised to adhere strictly to any commitments they have made, especially to customers.

Technicians work indoors in computer rooms and departments of customers. They often need to travel between jobs or customers, although distances are usually short.

Satisfying Aspects
- variety and challenge of work
- travelling
- solving problems
- good employment opportunities

Demanding aspects
- shift work
- having to be on call
- working long hours
- mental fatigue caused by the complexity and pressures of the job

- accurate, logical mind
- mechanical ability
- manual dexterity and good hand-eye coordination
- patient and enjoy working with people
- good hearing and communication skills
- initiative and problem solving skills
- good eyesight and normal colour vision

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate for a diploma course

Compulsory school subjects: Mathematics
Recommended school subjects: Physical Sciences, Information Technology, Computer Applications

Diploma: Relevant diplomas are offered by most universities of technology and colleges - eg. TUT, VUT, CUT, CPUT

Certificate: Relevant certificates are offered by most FET colleges - False Bay, Elangeni, Boland, Northlink, SW Gauteng, Cape Town

A N.Dip: Computer Systems takes four years to complete, of which two years are full-time at a university of technology. The rest of the time is devoted to in-service training with an approved employer.

Most computer companies provide product-orientated training for technicians. The duration of this training is normally dependent on the complexity of the equipment and whether it is basic or advanced training.

- computer companies
- public institutions like Eskom, Denel, Mittal Steel, Transnet
- educational institutions such as universities of technology
- government departments
- local authorities
- self employment - computer technicians, with enough experience and capital, may start their own businesses

Computer Society of SA   
P O Box 1714
Halfway House, 1685
ICT House
546 16th Road
Constantia Park [Unit No.3]
Tel: (011) 315-1319 Fax: (011) 315-2276

The Director
Computer Users’ Council of South Africa
P O Box 1688
Halfway House, 1685
Tel: (011) 805-3151/2

ISETT (Information Systems Electronics & Telecommunication Technologies)
P O Box 5585 Halfway House 1685
Tel: (011) 805 5115
Fax: (011) 805 6833