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TechLeo
01-09-2001, 05:31 PM
New guy to this forum, been visiting PCGuide about a year now (dont know why I never noticed the board).
I am a Laptop Technician for a High School District by day and a ROP Information Technology Instructor by night. Our District has 7 high schools, half of which are DigitalHS. We have a pool of around 1200 laptops assigned to students, teachers, employees. This stuff comes from the technology bill passed to make high schools wired and technology ready.
I am telling everyone this because technicians are/will start being in demand. I owned my computer business at one point, was a webmaster, worked for CompUSA and eventually found this nitch. There are plenty of "software" technicians out there (techs who can swap a part in and out, restore a computer...ie...Compusa/Bestbuy techs) but the industry needs technicians who are solid. Unfortunately, there are too many techs who think they know it all when they don't, those techs who know nothing but can pass the test (papertech), and those software techs all whom make it hard on the industry to trust anyone but the retailer. One thing to consider about being a tech is that it is a dying art. Back in the days a tech would know every part of the computer from the electronics to software code, these days its about only knowing how to install a part and reinstall software. It will get to the point where techs will no longer be needed, this comes from the fact that computers are actually working the way they are supposed to, or that the retailers are making computers so that they are cheaper to replace. Computer technology will not advance greatly (the whole thing up to now has been existing technology getting faster and smaller/bigger) it will evolutionize (computers will just work, be portable, speed & compatibility will not be an issue). If you really want to be a tech, then find a specific field. Heheeh, there are barely any Apple techs out there. A good job to stay once you find someone who actually support them apples! Laptop Tech, laptops are different in design but same architecture. Some knowledge in electronics (integrated motherboards) and A+ certification is all you need to become a growing field. I myself got to be a laptop tech by mistake, while working for CompUSA they assigned me to this District to support the warranty on the 450+ laptops they purchased. I was forced to take the A+ (never heard of it at the time and passed, but because I have been playing with computers since the XT and worked professionally before that). I never touched a laptop at this point, imagine opening one up. Over time I became a master of these things and found out that I was in damand. I have been offered jobs to work on laptops with Lockheed, real estate company, ROP (which I took). I stayed with the District simply because I love working with students and teachers to implement the stuff. I am also the only qualified technician - aside from the A+, received my Compaq and Toshiba certifications, and teaching creditials for ROP (teach computer repair).

Here is low down for getting a Laptop Techncian job. You first have to remember that this title is not official (remember when no one knew what the heck a webmaster was/did or official). You have to be certified to each manufacture. You have to find a place that has enough laptops. Both Toshiba and Compaq have what they call "Self Maintainer" program. These new programs enable any company or structure to maintain their own warranty. If you remember, when the District initially bought 450 Toshiba laptops, I was the technician. Compusa like any retailer had to provide the warranty for it. I was responsible to make sure that they get fixed for the district. Over time, (long story) Compusa as you know was screwing the district and myself. When I left compusa and was hired by this District to work as a repair technician for one of the new digital high schools, I got a call back saying that they got fed up with compusa and terminated their contract to support the warranty on the laptops (they were taking too long to repair, poor service and support, software techs...etc) and wanted me to work at the District as the head of a new laptop center. We found out that we could now support our own warranty, because we had enough laptops, customers were buying more, I was certified already, and enough income was coming in to handle warranty claims. All this was new to us, but a year later I can tell you that you can run an entire business out of this. So what you do is find a place that buys laptops for business us, come in already A+ certified, certify yourself on the specific manufacture (if you can pass the A+ these are easy), let them know that you can support the laptops in house, and you get PAID by the manufacture for doing so. Of course get hired as an employee, but you will also generate money for the company off their own computers. When the manufacture authorized you as a self maintainer you are essentially them. So anyone outside if you choose to do so can come in and get their computer repaired, I repair computer that people own personally (desktops also) and charge them a good flat rate + whatever the manufacture sends for the repairs performed. This is the opposite of the retail business, you work for a normal company and do the same thing they do, saves alot of time, stress, and money.

This is just something for someone to think about, I myself said I fell into this position and love it. If you really want a good job that will stay in the future.................networking. Networking right now is where the PC was in the 486 days, networking will involve everything not just PC - its the place to be. If not this is another idea.

4thandgoal
01-11-2001, 04:45 PM
Welcome TechLeo,

Great post. I can tell the forum will benefit greatly from your experience.
I was always curious about laptop repairs (I have a Toshiba Satellite series), but I have not seen any publications address the field. Could you recommend any? Concerning networking, I am pursuing a degree in Communication Technology (Networking) at a local community college, but I am concerned about the number of people "jumping on the band wagon". I am afraid the supply will outpace the demand.

TechLeo
01-17-2001, 12:07 PM
Originally posted by 4thandgoal:
Welcome TechLeo,

Great post. I can tell the forum will benefit greatly from your experience.
I was always curious about laptop repairs (I have a Toshiba Satellite series), but I have not seen any publications address the field. Could you recommend any? Concerning networking, I am pursuing a degree in Communication Technology (Networking) at a local community college, but I am concerned about the number of people "jumping on the band wagon". I am afraid the supply will outpace the demand.

TechLeo
01-17-2001, 12:08 PM
Laptop repair is still not considered a "personal" field in such that you can't just go out and certifiy yourself to work on laptops. You have to be working for a certified retail store in order to be able to even put your hands on them. Even within the retail field thier is no "laptop specialist" simply because they work you to death on everything that comes in. Have you ever noticed why CompUSA can only fix certain computer while Best Buy can fix others, the world of retail repair is only about warranty period. The computer manufactures pays the retailers to not only sell the computers, but fix them. Any other non warranty computer comes at a steep price to repair. So how do you get involved in the laptop world? Two ways I can think of, one - work for a retailer and get yourself certified in every manufacture of laptop. The two biggest are Toshiba and Compaq. Both of them have a specific class that deals with "portables" and once you pass you become a specialist. In a retail establishment, if your a specialist in a particular area, then you have at least better than the average tech as far as necessity to keep you and higher pay (besides, my experience was that other techs HATE to work on laptops because they are so intricate). Get hired with them knowing you want to be the laptop guru and arrange for those classes and its just a matter of time before you have it hands down and can move to another company. The second way is to get your A+, sign up for these portable classes yourself (expensive) and find a company that uses laptops in their establishment and become their laptop repair depot on the spot. These are the only links I have to get you head start -
<A HREF="http://]http://www.csd.toshiba.com/cgi-bin/tais/support/supp_channel_main.jsp[/URL" TARGET=_blank>
http://www.csdsupport.toshiba.com/tais/csd/tu/ (http://http://)
[URL=http://]http://www5.compaq.com/support/PaqFax/2.html</A>

TechLeo
01-17-2001, 12:10 PM
http://www.csd.toshiba.com/cgi-bin/tais/support/supp_channel_main.jsp
http://www.csdsupport.toshiba.com/tais/csd/tu/
http://www5.compaq.com/support/PaqFax/2.html


My browser is freakin on my sorry

4thandgoal
01-24-2001, 01:47 PM
Thanks Leo for the insight.