Computer Assembly Technician

Introduction

Computer assembly technicians build computers from their parts, such as circuit boards, disk drives, cables and switches. When they've put the parts together, they test the computer and correct any faults.

Also known as

  • Assembly Technician, Computer

Work Activities

As a Computer Assembly Technician, you will build complete computers from their parts. For an ordinary personal computer, these would include:

  • external cases
  • power supply units
  • disk drives
  • processors
  • circuit boards
  • cooling fans
  • cables and switches

Computer Assembly Technicians gather the items they need. You will fit the parts and connect them up, then test that the finished computer is working correctly. If it's not working, you will do more tests to discover where the fault lies, and correct it.

If you work for a specialist supplier or retailer, you may build each machine according to a different set of specifications, as required by the customer.

In these cases, you may also deal with customers, and perhaps service and upgrade existing machines. Some also install software onto the computer.

You will also use tools such as screwdrivers and soldering irons, and electronic testing equipment such as oscilloscopes. Some of the parts used in computers are delicate and sensitive, so you may have to wear special clothing to reduce the risk of contamination by dust or dirt.

Also, static electricity can damage some circuit boards, so you may have to avoid wearing certain items, (for example, fabrics such as nylon) which can allow static to build up. You may also have to wear anti-static wristbands and other static-reducing items.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Computer Assembly Technician, you need:

  • an interest in computers and electronics
  • good manual dexterity, as many of the parts are small and delicate
  • to be able to work reasonably quickly
  • a methodical approach and the ability to follow written instructions precisely
  • to be conscientious and careful, as mistakes made during assembly can be costly and time-consuming to put right later
  • patience and perseverance to find and fix problems
  • good communication skills, as well as a polite and helpful manner if dealing with customers
  • a reasonable level of physical fitness - you may have to carry heavy computers or parts to and from stockrooms and workshops
  • stamina to complete repetitive manual tasks such as soldering and inserting circuit boards

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £17,000 - £19,000
  • With experience: £20,500 - £23,500
  • Senior Computer Assembly Technicians earn £26,000 - £29,000

Hours of work

Computer Assembly Technicians usually work 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Shift work and early morning starts may be required. Part-time work and overtime may be available.

Where could I work?

Employers include computer manufacturers, and firms that supply electronic parts and assemblies to them, as well as companies that provide a more specialist computer-building service.

Opportunities for Computer Assembly Technicians occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.

This career could include working for an agency.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, trade industry publications, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Find a Job website.

Vacancies can also be found through specialist engineering/computing recruitment agencies, internet job boards and the websites of professional engineering bodies.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

To enter this job, you're likely to need skills, or evidence of an interest, in electronics and computers.

Apprenticeships may be available in your area. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Training

Initial training is usually on-the-job.

You may be able to work towards a relevant work-based qualification, such as performing engineering operations at levels 1 and 2.

Work Experience

Some entrants have the relevant experience as a Computer Assembly Technician. Previous experience within electronics or IT would be helpful to get into this career.

Progression

Computer Assembly Technicians can progress to Team Leader/Supervisor positions after further training and experience.

Qualifications

There are no formal entry requirements for this career. Applicants may have to perform an aptitude test to check whether they have the skills and dexterity needed for this career.

GCSEs in English, maths and a science, technology or engineering subject are useful, graded 9-4 (A*-C).

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Skills gained in other electronics/microelectronics assembly or production work are useful.

Courses

Most colleges will consider applications from older candidates who don't have the usual entry requirements. You should check the admissions policy of individual colleges.

Statistics

  • 5% of people in occupations such as computer assembly technician have flexible hours.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

Queen's University Belfast

Irish enquiries

Website: www.qub.ac.uk

The Tech Partnership

Skills for business and information technology

Address: 1 Castle Lane, London SW1E 6DR

Tel: 020 7963 8920

Email: info@e-skills.com

Website: www.e-skills.com

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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