A great way to learn more about this career is by watching a technician at work as he or she repairs computers and office equipment at your school or in your home. You can also ask your school counselor to arrange a presentation or information interview with a technician. Learning the basics (toner replacement, fixing paper jams, etc.) of maintaining a copier or printer will also give you a good introduction to the field.
Computer and office machine service technicians install and repair personal mainframe, and server computers; printers; and auxiliary computer equipment, as well as copy machines, fax machines, and other office equipment. There are two main types of technicians: field technicians and bench technicians.
Field technicians are employed by a specialty repair shop, machine manufacturer, or product-specific service company. They travel to the client’s workplace to perform maintenance and repairs. Their duties include following a predetermined schedule of maintenance. For example, they might change the toner, make mechanical adjustments, or clean the optic parts in photocopiers and printers. They also respond to requests for emergency service, because poorly performing equipment can cost a company money and lost productivity. Technicians must also maintain detailed records of service and repairs that they have made to address future problems more effectively.
At times, computers may require major repairs that are too complicated to be handled in the office or workplace. In this instance, a field technician takes the computer to a repair shop or company service area to be worked on by bench servicers, that is, technicians who work at their employer’s location.
Some very experienced computer and office machine servicers open their own repair shops. To remain competitive, they may have to service a wide range of equipment to be successful or sell complementary products such as paper and toner for printers, fax machines, and photocopiers. In addition to technical skills, these entrepreneurs need knowledge of the basics of running a business, including bookkeeping and advertising.