A computer information technician is a worker who supports technology and helps its users. Responsible for fixing computer problems, maintaining the system network and helping computer users understand the system, these workers can be on-site employees dedicated to one office, or they can be on-call independent contractors who may also work as IT specialists for other offices or computer users. Some companies specialize in offering IT help for hire, often to individuals with computer problems. The average full-time computer information technician makes just over $40,000 US Dollars (USD) per year. A computer information technician might also be called an information technician (IT), computer service technician and network or systems administrator.
Information systems technicians are responsible for setup and networking of office computers. They plug in computers, install peripherals, load software, and install safeguards to protect the computers, including anti-virus programs and system monitoring programs. When a problem arises, the IT worker is responsible for troubleshooting the problem, finding its source and making the changes needed to correct the problem. IT workers performing computer repair may also install, remove or repair hardware components in a computer. In addition to repair work, IT workers must also perform customer service duties by helping computer users work within the system.
The amount of education that it takes to be an IT worker varies depending on the job requirements of the employer and the hands-on experience of the worker. Some employers may require a degree or certification to qualify as an IT worker, while others may hire based on the applicant's history of work experience. Many IT workers study in technology-based college programs offering computer information technician training to learn the skills needed to get hired in information technology. Some IT workers start out as computer hobbyists and use their experience augmented with home studying to pass IT certification exams to meet the necessary requirements to work as an information technologist.
Any business that relies on computers to conduct its daily operations needs to have a reliable computer information technician available for computer emergencies. Even for a brick-and-mortar business that does not do business online, computer downtime can cause many hours of lost labor. Computers are responsible for processing sales, recording inventory, and clocking employee schedules. When a computer system is down, businesses must often rely on inconvenient paper transaction records until the computer information technician can arrive to address the problem.
In an international business world where company websites offer many services 24 hours a day, the computer information technician worker is especially vital to companies that conduct their business transactions online. Even a few minutes of computer downtime can cost a web-based company thousands of dollars in missed online orders. To prevent major computer downtime, some companies hire computer information technicians to live on-site at the business, often in an on-site camping trailer, especially during peak business seasons. Having an on-site technician stay overnight ensures that emergent problems will be fixed without the added burden of travel time from the IT worker's home.