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Related Occupations
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Computer, ATM, and Office Machine Repairers

Computer, ATM, and office machine repairers install, fix, and maintain many of the machines that businesses, households, and other consumers use. Show Details

Duties

Computer, ATM, and office machine repairers typically do the following:

  • Travel to customers' locations in response to service requests
  • Communicate with customers to determine the source of a problem
  • Do administrative tasks, such as completing work order forms
  • Use a variety of tools, such as a multimeter, to help diagnose the problem
  • Install large equipment, such as mainframe computers and ATMs
  • Explain the basic functions of machines and equipment to customers
  • Replace malfunctioning machine parts, such as video cards in desktop computers or keypads on ATM machines
  • Provide preventative maintenance, such as cleaning the internal parts of machines
  • Test newly installed systems to make sure they work properly

In most cases, machines do not break down entirely. Often just one broken part can keep a machine from working properly. Repairers often fix machines by replacing these parts and other defective equipment because it is often less expensive than replacing the entire machine.

Although the work of computer, ATM, and office machine repairers is very similar, the exact tasks differ depending on the type of equipment. For example, computer repairers often must replace desktop parts, such as a motherboard, because of hardware failure. ATM repairers may replace a worn magnetic head on a card reader to allow an ATM to recognize customersí bank cards. Office machine repairers replace parts of office machines that break down from general wear and tear, such as the printheads of inkjet printers.

Some repairers have assigned areas where they do preventive maintenance on a regular basis.

Computer repairers service and repair computer parts, network connections, and computer equipment, such as an external hard drive or computer monitor. Computer repairers must be familiar with various operating systems and commonly used software packages. Some work from repair shops, while others travel to customers' locations.

ATM repairers install and repair automated teller machines and, increasingly, electronic kiosks. They often work with a network of ATMs and travel to ATM locations when they are alerted to a malfunction.

Office machine repairers fix machinery at customersí workplaces because these machines are often large and stationary, such as office printers or copiers. Office machines often need preventive maintenance, such as cleaning, or replacement of commonly used parts as they break down from general wear and tear.

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Some, called technical support specialists, support information technology (IT) employees within their organization. Others, called help-desk technicians, assist non-IT users who are having computer problems. Show Details

Duties

Technical support specialists typically do the following:

  • Test and evaluate existing network systems
  • Perform regular maintenance to ensure that networks operate correctly
  • Troubleshoot local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Internet systems

Technical support specialists, also called computer network support specialists, usually work in their organizationís IT department. They help IT staff analyze, troubleshoot, and evaluate computer network problems. They play an important role in the daily upkeep of their organizationís networks by finding solutions to problems as they occur. Solving an IT problem in a timely manner is important because organizations depend on their computer systems. Technical support specialists may provide assistance to the organizationís computer users through phone, email, or in-person visits. They often work under network and computer systems administrators, who handle more complex tasks. For more information, see the profile on network and computer systems administrators.

Help-desk technicians typically do the following:

  • Pay attention to customers when they describe their computer problems
  • Ask customers questions to properly diagnose the problem
  • Walk customers through the problem-solving steps
  • Set up or repair computer equipment and related devices
  • Train users to use new computer hardware or software, including printing, installation, word processing, and email
  • Give information to others in the organization about what gives customers the most trouble and other concerns customers have

Help-desk technicians, also called computer user support specialists, usually provide technical help to non-IT computer users. They respond to phone and email requests for help. Sometimes they make site visits so that they can solve a problem in person.

Help-desk technicians may solve a range of problems that vary with the industry and the particular firm. Some technicians work for large software companies and for support service firms and must give instructions to business customers on how to use complex programs. Others work in call centers answering simpler questions from consumers. Some technicians work for organizations and help non-IT workers with their computer problems.

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