IT apprenticeship - need your advice

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Wolfdale75, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. Wolfdale75

    Wolfdale75 Limp Gawd

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    Hey guys,

    I just landed an IT apprenticeship at a local computer and electronic gadget repair shop. They do PCs, laptops, Macs, tablets, even TVs. I can't wait.

    I know my way around a PC in terms of components (though I have a less clear idea of how the whole thing works as a discrete unit). But the other stuff I'm pretty green on. The furthest I've got with a laptop, for example, is upgrading the RAM and taking the HDD out. Both are accessible from underneath my device, so they were simple to do.

    If anyone has any general advice to give about how best to go about this apprenticeship and how best to learn the ropes, I would be very interested to hear.

    Thanks and have a nice evening - cheers!
     
  2. crimsonyoshi

    crimsonyoshi Limp Gawd

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    The best experience is always hands on experience which as an apprentice - you're going to get lots of.

    There are tons of manuals online for how to take apart PC's, Macs, and laptops. PC's are all pretty similar, every component fits in one place (or one bank - thinking about RAM there), Macs are just a glorified laptop (they use laptop components in their iMac line). Laptops all contain the same components they just have a different amount of screws and different positioning of screws to get at everything. (Those online manuals will help with that).

    Tablets can be more of a pain, iFixit rates some at a 1 on a 1-10 scale for fixability. and TV repair is more of an art these days. Typically it's cheaper to buy a new TV than it is to repair it. There are still places that repair TV's (though way fewer than what they used to be). I can't give you any advice on that as I've never personally repaired a TV, but a lot of them use similar circuit boards to a typical computer these days, so it's usually a swap board x out, put new board x in.

    Your best bet to learn is to get as much hands on experience as you can. Everything follows a generic repair "thread" but every model and certainly the different makes have different components. Even the exact same make and model can have different problems, so every case is different - but it doesn't deviate much from the standard repair path. Keep your eyes open, and be prepared to do a lot of logical troubleshooting. Try fixes you learn about and can do on the spot prior to ordering new components. If a computer comes in with all sorts of random colours appearing on the user's screen, plug it in to your screen and replicate it. If not fixed, swap for a different graphics card and see if that fixes it, if not go further... Bottom line, it's all logical thinking and doing!
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  3. Wolfdale75

    Wolfdale75 Limp Gawd

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    Hi Crimsonyoshi,

    Many thanks for your long and well-conceived reply. It contains quite a lot of useful info and is certainly food for thought for me.

    I take it you work - or have worked - as a bench technician and you learnt simply by doing?

    Does anyone else want to weigh in with any advice too? :)
     
  4. schizrade

    schizrade [H]ardness Supreme

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    Soldering, live it, love it.
     
  5. jnex26

    jnex26 2[H]4U

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    That's how I started 20 Years ago ! Sheesh has it been that long.

    As for hints.

    The first jobs are gonna be S**T jobs that other more experienced staff don't want to do, Virus cleanups, O/S reinstalls mostly boring stuff, but understand these jobs are when most people start learning I learnt more about Windows doing A/V cleanups going wrong that any course has taught me.

    Get moisturiser for your hands because after a day of cleaning cpus and heatsyncs isopropy alcohol + constant washing of hands can lead to really dry hands.

    Get a face mask and canned air for the 5 year old machine that needs cleaning out.

    Get a vomit bag for the smokers machine seriously I would recommend using something like latex gloves ( NOT ESD SENSIBLE) but that's the worst getting a smokers machine !

    Label your screwdrivers. Some techs like to borrow your equipment and not return it.

    Keep a clean desk, and tape the agenda for the machine your working on right in front of you.

    Always backup the HDD if your wiping the HDD and give the customer the copy.

    don't bother looking for the cap that's failed or the resistor that's gone O/C you will be wasting your time it's going to be cheaper in time to just replace the entire faulty part.

    Build a software toolkit a bootable CD/USB stick that you can put into a machine and run A/V scan memtest 86 has loads of drivers on it and keeps whole windows install files and ISOs on it, this used to be a book of Floppy/cds in my day

    Have fun
     
  6. crimsonyoshi

    crimsonyoshi Limp Gawd

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    I actually am a computer scientist by degree, but in the company I work for - I do both coding and pretty well nearly all the I.T. work.

    For me it started as something interesting when I was young. I took my first computer apart and put it back together again when I was 4. Really though if I can't figure something out off the hop, Google is your friend. In our profession, information is everywhere and for the most part free. Networking is key in terms of getting to know other people who have experience in the field and ask questions. Maybe someone has seen whatever problem you're working on before. Once you know how to fix it, you don't forget about it!

    jnex also brings up a good list. Lots of light, lots of workspace, and lots of creating shortcuts to speed up future repairs (bootable USB sticks for example).

    Now, depending on what all exactly you're going to be doing, taking some online courses isn't a bad idea either. This is more for the software side of things and connecting of networks + machines. If all you're going to be is a bench tech, none of this applies. But if you're trying to move into the I.T. world more as a whole, look for the MSCE certification package http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-ca/mcse-certification.aspx Yes, courses cost money but there's many ways to get discounts on the courses (Groupon of all places). This though is totally up to you, but a lot of I.T. places (as in more than just a bench tech) are starting to require this certification.