Field of Study: Computer Systems Technology
Computer systems technology programs prepare students to help people who use computer systems. Students learn to design, program, and install computer systems. They also learn to solve computer hardware and software problems.
When your computer keeps crashing, or you can't get on the Internet, or you can't print anything - "Who you gonna call?" Forget Ghostbusters. You need someone who really understands computer systems. If you're lucky, you have a friend you can always call when you have computer trouble.
Most businesses deal with these problems by keeping one or several experts on staff: computer systems technicians. And remember that these business computer systems don't work alone. They're networked, so an administrator is needed to run the network. Together, these are expected to be among the fastest-growing jobs over the next decade.
One way to enter these jobs is to major in computer systems technology. Two years of full-time study beyond high school should earn you the associate degree. About 65 community and technical colleges offer this program.
You learn how to troubleshoot computer problems. Sometimes this means running diagnostic programs. Sometimes you need to find the answer in a manual or online help system. You may even have to turn to someone with more expertise than you, such as a technician who works for the software publisher or hardware manufacturer.
You also learn how to run a network. You study how the software and hardware components work together. You learn how to monitor the performance of the network and detect signs that it is not running right. You learn about security measures you must take to keep out viruses and hackers.
It's possible to get into one of these jobs by taking a few weeks of course work. Some manufacturers - for example, network software companies - offer such certification programs. But what you learn quickly can go out of date quickly. In a degree program you'll learn more about the theory behind the software. That way, in the future you'll find it easier to learn each new technology that comes along. And you'd better be sure you do just that. The way to stay employed in this field is to keep taking classes at regular intervals. Employers often will pay and sometimes will even give you time away from work to attend classes.
You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.
- Introduction to Business
- Business Computer Applications
- Computer Science and Programming
- English Composition
Typical course work
An associate degree program in this field typically includes courses in the following subjects:
- College Algebra
- Customer Service Fundamentals
- English Composition
- Installing and Administering Windows
- Introduction to Computer Science
- Microcomputer Hardware Maintenance
- Network Cabling and Routing
- Network Security and Troubleshooting
Things to know
You need good communications skills to succeed in this field. A writing course, and probably a public speaking course, should be part of your program even if they are not required.
Consider taking some business courses. In this field you will work with all parts of a business. You can be more successful helping people with their computers if you understand the kinds of problems they are using the computers for.
Similar fields of study
- Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
- Computer Engineering
- Computer Engineering Technology
- Computer Installation and Repair
- Computer Programming
- Computer Science
- Computer Systems Analysis
- Computer Systems Networking and Administration
- Electrical & Electronics Engineering Technology
- Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering
- Engineering Technology, General
Careers you may qualify for
The Advanced Computing Systems Association
Select "Students" from the top menu bar.
Association for Computing Machinery
IEEE Computer Society
Schools that offer program
Click on the school name to see a list of their programs related to this field of study.
Anoka Technical College
, Located in Metro
Benchmark Learning - Edina , Located in Metro
Capella University - Minneapolis , Located in Metro
Central Lakes College - Brainerd , Located in Northwest
Central Lakes College - Staples , Located in Northwest
Century College - White Bear Lake , Located in Metro
DeVry University - Edina , Located in Metro
Herzing University - Minneapolis , Located in Metro
Lake Superior College - Duluth , Located in Northeast
Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Detroit Lakes , Located in Northwest
Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Fergus Falls , Located in Northwest
Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Moorhead , Located in Northwest
Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Online - Perham , Located in Northwest
Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Wadena , Located in Northwest
Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Canby , Located in Southwest
Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Granite Falls , Located in Southwest
Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Jackson , Located in Southwest
Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Online - Worthington , Located in Southwest
Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Pipestone , Located in Southwest
Minnesota West Community and Technical College - Worthington , Located in Southwest
National American University - Bloomington , Located in Metro
National American University - Brooklyn Center , Located in Metro
National American University - Burnsville , Located in Metro
National American University - Minnetonka , Located in Metro
National American University - Rochester , Located in Southeast
National American University - Roseville , Located in Metro
Normandale Community College - Bloomington , Located in Metro
Ridgewater College - Hutchinson , Located in Central
Ridgewater College - Willmar , Located in Central
Riverland Community College - Albert Lea , Located in Southeast
Riverland Community College - Austin , Located in Southeast
Riverland Community College - Owatonna , Located in Southeast
University of Phoenix Minneapolis/St.Paul Campus - St. Louis Park , Located in Metro
University of St. Thomas - St. Paul , Located in Metro
Walden University - Minneapolis , Located in Metro