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How to I become a computer IT Technician?

With the advancement of technology and computers the need for IT's has risen greatly and I was wondering what tools I need to study to become an IT. Is there anything I can do in high school to prepare for this job? #computers #IT #technician

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4 answers

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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Omar,

I started my career in IT, so I feel extra qualified to answer this question.

First of all, I would say that while you're in high school, I would recommend that you get familiar with the following technologies by installing/learning about them via free resources like youtube videos:
* Virtual Machines
* Linux
* Containers
* Web Sites
* Start your own slack instance and get familiar with managing it by having your friends/family use it for communication

On top of the technologies listed above, here are some extra tools/skills that may help you if you happen to have additional resources:
* Build your own computer
* Build your own networking cat 5 cable
* Get familiar with MacOS
* Get familiar with Windows
* Get a part time job working in retail (when the coronavirus vaccine is available)
* Get familiar with Android/iOS, especially in managed mode
* Learn how to build your own kernel in Linux
* Build your own router using pfsense

I feel that learning about the above topics will get you ready for a broad IT career. Then, as you learn about the different topics, you can specialize based on what you feel the most interest in. If you like web development and communication, you can join an enterprise comms team. If you like Linux and virtual machines, you can specialize as a systems administrator. If you like pfsense and networking, maybe you can become a network administrator.

I'm sure a college degree will help, but I don't think it's required. I have many friends in IT who started their careers without a BS college degree. Rather most have an associate degree or a couple of certifications (CompTIA ones). I actually think the CompTIA certifications are aren't accurate for people evaluation, but a lot of managers in IT still rely on them, so I think it might be worth it if you don't want to go down the college route.

I'd also highly recommend a retail gig, to show future employers that you are a responsible person who knows the basic expectations of being able to work in a team and with customers.

Anyways, please let me know if you have any other questions and I hope this answer can help you on your career journey!

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Walt’s Answer

Hey Omar,

This is a great question. First, I want to tell you that there are different types of IT Technicians. So you should think about which technical area interests you in IT.

There are technicians that work on networks, which are made up of lots of cables and computer-like boxes called routers, switches, multiplexers, firewalls and more. A network technician is most often found working in a large data center in a major city, or sometimes in a corporate office of a business. There are even network technicians at the phone company and working at your internet provider.

There are other technicians that work on computers, servers, and other computer-like appliances. They troubleshoot and change out hard drives, memory, CPUs, whole computers and even power supplies and batteries. These technicians also work in large data centers where they manage the thousands of servers that make the cloud work. They also work on end user computers in office buildings. A few work in retail companies where they help the public with computer issues.

Lastly, there are technicians in high-tech factories, warehouses, and anywhere there are robots or smart machines doing work. These technicians work on robots, automated machines, and specialized computers called PLC's. A PLC lets a robot for instance talk to a server that is running a program that tells the robot what to do.

Each of these different types of technicians has the same basic starting point, which is a either a computer science college degree, or a specialized trade school degree. Then each type of technician has one or more certification tests that you must pass to be considered an expert in your field. So a good starting point is to figure out what type of technician you really want to be, and then to learn about the certification programs for that job. You might also want to find out which type of technicians are in demand in the area you live in if you plan to stay there. And lastly, you might think about what type of environment you want to work in, whether it is a robot-filled factory, a warehouse full of automated conveyers, an office building full of people with computer problems, or a massive data center full of high powered servers and miles of wiring.

Which ever way you go, being a technician is an exciting career and always changing. Good luck!

Walt recommends the following next steps: (search for "network technician", "ioT technician", "computer technician" and see what jobs are out there and what they pay)
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Art’s Answer

Hello Omar,

As I was skimming through the previous answers, I saw a recommendation to learn about Virtual Machines. I work for VMware which is the market leader in technologies around virtual machines. There is a lot of great free content to learn within For any subject, look for anything related to Activity Paths. Another place to learn is at vSphere is the core of Virtualization which is the foundation of Virtual Machines. Most companies are virtualizing with vSphere.
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Andrew’s Answer

Start with taking a class at your local junior college. It will be much cheaper than taking courses at a for-profit IT school. If you are still interested after graduation you can move on to a tech school or even better, go straight to work if you have enough experience.

If you have the means, I also suggest doing some projects at home. This is at least as important as taking a formal class. You have to like this stuff. Really, you need to be obsessed with it. Build a gaming rig up from individual parts from Newegg instead of buying a complete box. Create a second hard drive partition and run Linux on there. Use that Linux partition to control a local Network-Attached Storage (NAS) file server. Learn how to use a secure image of grandma's laptop so you can quickly clean it up after she clicks on all the ads and gets all the malware. Or find some other projects that sound fun. The main objective is to learn how to learn about this stuff. Find the right forums to do research and ask questions. Learn how to ask a question that actually receives useful answers. Get involved.

Finally, I will say that you should question your assumption about an ever increasing need for IT technicians. Just like we have self-checkout lanes in supermarkets, this work is always moving to self-serve or being outsourced. My friends who work in this space have had to constantly update their skills and learn how to do more in order to stay relevant. Of course that is what you need to be doing anyway to shine in any career.