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What Does a Computer Hardware Technician Do?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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A computer hardware technician is typically responsible for physically installing, maintaining, and repairing various types of computer systems. This type of position is related to the use of hardware, which refers to the physical components of a computer system such as hard drives, monitors, networking cables, and server mainframes. The basic responsibilities of a computer hardware technician typically begin with the initial installation of hardware and other computer devices that are part of a larger system. Once these components are installed and connected, then a technician usually ensures they continue to run properly and makes repairs when necessary.

One of the most important responsibilities a computer hardware technician has is the installation and set up of computer systems. This can be anything from building a custom computer for a company using a motherboard, processor, random access memory (RAM), hard drive, and other components to setting up a network for a business. While some software installation may be required, a computer hardware technician does not necessarily have a background in software development or repair. As new components are purchased or need to be introduced to an existing system, then the technician can provide further services to install those devices into the system.

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Once a computer system has been set up for a company, then a computer hardware technician typically provides maintenance services for that company. If hardware needs to be cleaned or have maintenance software ran on it on a regular basis, then the technician may be responsible for providing those services. Such software is typically quite standard and easy to use, however, and a computer hardware technician does not tend to create custom software or run testing software for network security. As upgrades become available or necessary for the components within a system, the technician may also suggest such upgrades or provide information on upgrading an entire system.

A computer hardware technician is also typically responsible for any repairs that may be necessary due to failed hardware within a system. In the past, this would often include internal repairs for devices such as printers, hard disk drives, and other electronic devices. As technology has improved, however, it has become cheaper and easier for many devices to simply be replaced rather than repaired. A computer hardware technician may still be responsible for repairing overall systems, by replacing certain internal components, but repairs to physical devices have become less common and have created a decline in hardware technician jobs within various industries.

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everetra
Post 4

@MrMoody - I agree, and believe that's why most technicians who are worth their salt will have some sort of certification.

A common certification these days is the A+ certification for computer technicians. Most of the hardware support personnel at my company have this certification.

It shows that you know how to do basic boot operations and understand things like network security, computer components, operating systems and so forth.

I wouldn’t say it’s a must-have, since you can acquire this knowledge on your own, but it does make a difference when you want to make sure that you have the right parts for the system, as you said.

MrMoody
Post 3

@Charred - I think you raise a good point about hardware components. Just about anyone can assemble components together to put together a computer. You can buy the parts online fairly cheaply. But will they work together well?

That’s what separates a technician from an amateur. They know the compatibility and the quality ratings for these different components and can choose just the right parts to build an optimal system that will operate at peak efficiency, in my opinion.

Charred
Post 2

@nony - I usually buy a “souped up” computer from the start so I rarely need to do any hardware repairs or upgrades on it.

I did have the unfortunate experience, one time, of having an AMD computer totally overheat and virtually blow up on me. This was a system that a friend had put together. I guess he didn’t choose the right components or something so that they would work together well.

Anyway, I took it to the shop and a technician put the system through its paces. They did what they called a “burn in” on the RAM to see if the memory was working okay. It turned out it was shot, along with the CPU and the hard drive.

The optical drives were fine but that was hardly enough to salvage the system, so I had the guy – who was a pro – build me a more stable system.

nony
Post 1

I have to admit that for all my versatility with software, I am not particularly suited well for a job as a computer hardware technician.

Most of my other techie friends like to open up computers, get into their bowels so to speak, and change RAM sticks, hardware drives and so forth.

I usually just hand that off to a hardware technician if I am buying new stuff for the computer and let them install it. They will usually do it for free in most cases or for a nominal fee in other cases. That suits me fine.

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