An IT technician often requires either a certification or a degree to begin work within the field. Some formal education and training is often necessary due to the way that the industry can dramatically change year-over-year; without some form of recent, formalized training, an employer cannot know whether an IT technician is well-versed in the technology that they are using now. Conversely, some businesses may be using outdated technologies or technologies that are no longer experienced generally in the field. Due to this, an employer may seek out an IT technician who has a specific certification.
There are numerous certifications provided by CompTIA that provide evidence that an IT technician not only has the basic skills to perform IT professional work but that they are also current on modern techniques. CompTIA certifications can range from associate certifications, which show that the individual is competent with end users and applications, to Network Technician certifications, which show that the individual understands the basics of networking architecture.
IT technicians may also pursue more formalized training in the form of vocational training. Vocational training is valuable as it pares down to the knowledge that an IT technician needs in the modern IT marketplace. Vocational training is both faster and more affordable than a traditional 2-year or 4-year degree, and it allows the IT technician to get into the workforce faster. Once certifications and vocational training have been achieved, it is experience that will determine how much the IT technician is able to make and how many opportunities are available to them.
What Skills Does an IT Technician Need?
In terms of soft skills, IT technicians need to be extremely self-motivated, diligent, and detail-oriented. An IT technician must be a problem solver who is able to work well with people; many IT technicians are at the front lines, between IT administrators and end users. IT technicians will have to be agile and able to adapt and must be able to deal with rapid, fast-paced environments. Of course, IT technicians are needed in every industry, and an IT technician can choose their environment, from non-profits to healthcare clinics. Social skills are important for IT technicians; they need to be able to explain extremely complex concepts to end users and they must be patient when dealing with otherwise frustrating events, such as system disruptions and rollouts.
Hard skills required of an IT technician include the ability to manage, deploy, configure, and support IT environments. IT technicians will be called upon to maintain end-user devices, network configurations, and system applications. Some IT technicians will gain these skills through a degree program, while others will gain them on the job. Certifications show that an IT technician has mastered a specific skill set.