So, you want to be a pc repair technician?

Well, lets start off by examining some of the roles and responsiblilites of the different types of pc technicians. PC support technician: These IT professionals mostly work on site, closely interacting with users and are responsible for maintaining computer systems primarily before they have problems. Some job titles that fall into this category include Enterprise technician, IT administrator, PC technician, Support technician, and PC support specialist. PC service technician: A pc service technician is the one that generally goes to a customer's site in response to a service call and attempts to repair the system on site. Service technicians usually are not responsible for maintaining systems before they malfunction. They may also have interaction with users, but not as much as the support technician would. Some job titles that fall into this category include Field technician or Field service technician. Bench technician (also known as a depot technician): I know you may be thinking that this tech might work on benches, but the answer is no (my attempt at humor...,hey don't hate the player, hate the game ok). A bench technician works in a lab environment, might or might not interact with users of the systems being repaired and they are never permanently responsible for the systems. They usually do not go to the customer's site and may or may not get to interview a customer concerning what the problem is. Help desk technician: These techs provide telephone or online support. They interact with customers over the phone or online so they never actually get to see or examine the system (which makes it a bit tougher). They must rely strictly on what the user is telling them to figure out what the problems is and attempt to guide the user through the steps to fix the problem. Some of the job titles might include Remote support technician and Call center technician. Now that we have discussed the four types of technicians, have you deceided which one you want to be when you grow up? if so, then great let us continue on with some of the things you need to be or do on a personal level before we get deeper into our discussion. As you might consider yourself a worthy candidate for entering the Professional class, there are some traits you as an individual must have. These could mean the difference between a great technician or finding a rewarding career as the local dog catcher. I am going to lable the next section of our little pow- wow as TRAITS because your customers are going to expect that you exibit these as a Professional. TRAITS OF THE TRADE #1. Be honest: It has been my experience that honsesty is expected and appreciated by customers and employers. If you do not know what the problem is, then be up front and honest with the customer and explain to them that you have done the best you can at determining what the problem is, but you are unable to find and fix it (in other words " I am sorry, I just do not know what the problem is"). Your customers know that not everyone is perfect and will respect you more if you are totally honest with them, because if you lie and feed them a line of crap the customer will probably not be coming back to you nor will they suggest to friends, family, and co-workers to use your services. #2 Have a positive and helpful attitude: I do not know how many times I have called for different services and talked to someone over the phone that was rude, indifferent, or just plain ignorant. If you do not want to be bothered with helping people with problems or answer questions, then do not go into the IT

business (or any customer related business for that matter) because helping and answering questions from customers is a big portiong of the job. No one likes talking to people that acts like you are bothering or hasseling them, even though this is part of their job. #3 Be dependable: This is really important to your employer, because he/she wants someone that will be at work on time, do their jobs, help customers, fix systems, etc. Your customers also want to be able to depend on you to help them with their problems and questions. If you promise a customer or your employer that you will do something, then by gosh do it. Back in the day, a man's word was their bond and if you are the type of person that does not keep their word, then I would suggest you choose another career field, because customers are quick to jump down your throat because you basically lied to them. #4 Be customer focused: What does being customer focused mean? hmmmm let us ponder this thought for a moment shall we? I can tell you this, it does not mean starring down a young ladies loose fitting shirt. It means this, every customer that walks through your doors or calls your support line wants and needs to feel like they are the only customer in the world that you have. They expect to be treated with respect, greeted upon entering or calling the establishment, they want fast and reliable service, and they want a technician that is competent and acts professional. You as a professional need to act accordingly to your title and that means you need to be as helpful to the customer as possible. #5 Be curtious and repectful: There will be times in your career that you may experience a very dissatisfied customer which will not be very happy with the service, customer relations, and above all the bill. They may shout, cuss, point, and in extreme cases fall onto the floor into the fetal position while kicking and screaming. What should I do in this sitituation you may be asking yourself? Well, the first and most important thing is to never engage in an arguement with a customer, this will only add fuel to the fire. The responsible thing is to remain calm, speak respectfully to the customer, offer an explination as to who, what, when, why, and how to the questions they may have been shouting at you. If all else fails offer the customer to speak with your supervisor or manager to help them better resolve their problem. TOOLS, TOOLS, AND MORE TOOLS Now that we have all that out of the way, we can continue onto answering some questions as to what kind of tools should every good IT Professional have at their disposal. Without the proper tools how can you expect to do your work properly? When I was in the military we had what we called the 6 P's which goes like this: Prior Planning Prevents Pee (had to clean that up a bit, but you get what I am saying) Poor Performance. What that basically means is that if you do not plan and take the proper equipement with you on a service call, then you are basically dooming yourself to failure. Think about how embarrasing it would be to go to a customer's establishment to work on their system and you forgot your screw driver or multi-meter and can not work on the system properly. The following is a list of tools every Professional technician should always have at their disposal. 1. Ground bracelet, ground mat, or ground gloves to use when working inside the computer case. 2. A set of screw drivers both phillip and flat head of various sizes. 3. Torx screwdriver set, particularly size T15. 4. Tweezers that are insulated, for picking out small debris in printers and system cases. 5. An extractor ( a spring loaded device that when you push the top, three wire prongs extend and can be used to pick up small objects that may have fallen where

they can not be reached by other means, like screws. 6 Recovery cd, dvd, or floppy disk for any operating system you might work on. 7. AC outlet tester (this is good when determining if a power problem is in the outlet or surge protector). 8. Loop back plugs for testing ports. 9. Cans of compressed air or a small anti static vacuum cleaner. 10. Cleaning fluids and pads. 11. Needle nose pliers. 12. Multi-meter for testing voltages, amperage, resistance, etc. 13. A small but good flashlight. 14. Network cable tester. 15. Diagnostic cards (expensive, but will save you time and headaches) these you can plug directly into slots and they run diagnostics and determine what the problem is and give you a readout in a code format. 16. Antistatic bags so if you must remove a component you can place it in the bag without fear of it being damaged by ESD. 17. Utility software like virus detection and diagnostic software on a floppy or cd. 18. Pen and a note book because it is important for you as a technician to write everything you did to the system down and maintain good records. TROUBLESHOOTING STEPS Ahhhhh troubleshooting sweet troubleshooting. This is one of those areas that I believe scares the daylights out of new technicians because it makes them feel like they are not prepared or that they do not know what they are doing. The reality of troubleshooting is that no one ever stops learning, because even techs that have been doing it for 20 years still run across the occasional problem that is very difficult to solve. Do not let troubleshooting scare you, there is an easy and systematic way to approach this issue that will help even the most unexperienced tech see the light of day. The following are logical steps that will help you solve a problem. 1. Define the problem: This is where having good people skills come into play because you will need to ask the user or customer several questions to help you define what the problem may be. Can you show me the problem? This is probably one of the most important questions you can ever ask because it allows the user to show you exactly where and when they experienced the problem. How often does this happen? This can help determine if the problem is a one time deal or an ongoing situation. It can also help you determine if a possible reboot can solve it or if you may need something more dramatic like a software intallation or hardware component replacement. Has any new hardware or software been recently installed? If the answer is yes, this can give you a good starting point in your troubleshooting steps. Usually if a user installs something new they more than likely did not install or configure it properly. Has any other changes been made to the system lately? If the answer is yes, ask approximatly when this happened and if the problem started around the same time then again you have a good idea where to start looking. 2. Check the simple stuff first: This is the basis for any troubleshooting situation because you should always start with the simple stuff and work your way up. It may sound stupid, but if a customer for examle has a problem with the

monitor and states it will not turn on and you check to see if it is plugged in, you would be surprised at how many times this happens. So you should check if it is plugged in, is it turned on, is the system ready, and check to see that all cards and modules are seated properly. 3. Check to see if it is user error: A common problem is that you will have a customer complain that their computer will not let them do something or they can't run this or that. A very basic question to ask after these types of statements would be to ask if they ever could do this or that. Again, you will be surprised at how many might say "no" which indicates that they do not know how to do this or that. So when you hear key words like "I can't" you might want to consider user error first. If they answer yes, then you can move onto the next step. 4. Reboot the computer: Reboot the computer? why? A simple rebooting of the computer system can solve a lot of problems and can also be used as a tool in your diagnosis. When you reboot the system it clears memory and starts with a clean slate, not to mention that it can tell you valuable information like error codes, messages, or beeps which indicates specific problems. 5. Determine if the problem may be software or hardware: You can help determine this again by talking to the user and ask questions. For example if the user tells you that he/she was trying to load a disc in the drive but it will not open, you pretty much know that something may be wrong with the cd drive. 6. If the problem is hardware related, determine which component is failing: Agian, it is important to ask questions and do inspections. Here is where sight, sound, smell come into play. When you turn the system on, do you hear any strange sounds? Do you smell anything like something is burning or is burnt? Doing a visual inspection inside the case is also very important, you need to be looking to see if fans are working properly, is there any burnt places on the motherboard or melted wires, does it look like anything has been spilt inside the case, is everything plugged in, are the cards and modules seated properly, on the motherboard is the led (if applicable) on to indicate the motherboard is getting power, do you hear the hard drive spin up, etc. 7. If the problem is software related, boot clean: This means starting the computer with a bootable diskette that uses a CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT with no third party drivers. If the software that's experiencing the problem is incompatible with something in these clean (config.sys and autoexec.bat) files, this will indicate the problem. Rebooting in safe mode can function in a similar manner for windows 9x and 2000 as minimal drivers are loaded. 8. Check service information sources: Reading the service manuals can be a tremendous help to any pc technician. Do not get a big head and think you know it, when you don't and do not be affraid to consult these documents because they can save you valuable time. 9. One change before you do or did step at a time: When troubleshooting make one change at a time, if the does not solve the problem, restore the system back to it's orginal state making another change. It is also a great help if you document everything to the system, what happened when you did it, and what you did when it did not work.

10. Ask for help: If at long last you can not figure out what the problem is, ask for help from someone with more experience. Do not be stubborn and keep on banging your head against a brick wall, stop and ask someone for a new perspective on the matter.

TEACH YOUR CUSTOMERS THE WAYS OF THE FORCE, LUKE Ok, another part of your job is to help educate your customers about their systems and what they can do to help prevent future problems. You need to explain to the customers how to use the scan disk utilities, defrag their systems, advise them about antivirus, spyware, firewalls and security measures and why they are important to have. You need to show them how to do preventative maintenance on their systems to keep them working properly, how to clean and keep their systems free from dust and dirt, explain how to keep their printers clean and working properly, etc. Your customer will respect you more and give you repeat business if you take the time to teach them how to take care of their systems and prevent potential problems from happening. A happy customer equals a happy and well paid technician. created by bobby1234 2/11/08

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