Career & Education

Computer engineer or technician?

Career Advisor

Carolyn Marie Smith

Sunday, September 03, 2017

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My name is Elizabeth and I am seeking help with my career path. I really love fixing computers and everything related to that, but I am not sure about the terminology. Is that a computer engineer or a computer technician. What is the difference between the two?

Yours truly,

Dear Elizabeth:

Thank you for your question. It is our delight to provide you with suggestions as to possible career paths.

Based on your expressed interest, it appears that you are more favourably disposed to the career path of a computer hardware technician, also known as a computer repairs technician, rather than a computer engineer. The two disciplines are often confused, therefore it is important to make the distinction at the outset.

A computer hardware technician assembles, repairs and maintains computers and servers. A computer engineer, on the other hand, is more involved in the developmental aspects of hardware and software through the integration of electrical engineering and computer science. It is not unusual, however, for many computer hardware technicians to later develop greater interest in computer engineering and computer information science.

To become a successful computer hardware technician, you will need formal training with experience. Typically, the minimum qualification for jobs in the field is post-secondary technical vocational certification such as A+, Testout Corporation PC Repairs, or the associate of science degree in information technology. The bachelor's degree in information technology provides a strong platform for people with inclination towards hardware-related projects and who are desirous of landing jobs in large corporations.

You will readily find relevant, affordable and accredited programmes at local universities, community colleges, and technical vocational centres. Do your research to ensure that you choose the one that is best suited to your needs.

All the best.


Career Advisor

Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president of student services at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at




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