ICT technicians look after school networks, install, order and maintain software and hardware and provide technical support to teachers and pupils.
ICT technicians work by themselves and as part of teams, depending on the size of the school and its ICT requirements. Their day-to-day work usually involves:
- maintaining the school's network
- installing new software and upgrading existing applications
- providing technical support for teachers and pupils
- running diagnostics
- maintaining and developing the school's website and intranet
- maintaining hardware peripherals (e.g. scanners, printers, external drives)
- purchasing kit
- ensuring internet systems are safe and offer full child protection
- training teachers and students
- liaising with suppliers on maintenance or licensing deals
Skills and experience you’ll need
- knowledge of operating systems, networking, hardware and software commonly used in schools
- good problem-solving skills
- good organisational skills
- the ability to explain problems and solutions clearly to non-technical users
- the ability to prioritise, work under pressure and meet deadlines
- a patient and methodical approach
- the ability to work alone or as part of a team
- an awareness of health and safety
It is up to schools and local authorities to decide what qualifications and experience applicants need to have, so it is important to check locally. Some may employ people on the basis of their experience alone. Others may require a qualification such as a degree.
The Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools is not specifically related to ICT but will give you a good understanding of what it is like to work in a school environment. This award is solely theory-based and does not require a placement in a school.
Some schools also offer IT apprenticeships, which are work-based training programmes which lead to qualifications such as the Level 2 Diploma in IT user skills (ITQ).
Training and development
IT technical support officers usually undertake a combination of on-the-job learning and short training courses. Accredited certification courses are often offered by IT specialist training companies who are approved by IT vendors such as Microsoft (for Windows), Cisco (for networking), Oracle (for databases) and IBM.
IT professional qualifications are available from major awarding bodies including BCS, City & Guilds, Edexcel, EDI, OCR and SQA. Training courses include:
- Diploma in ICT Systems Support Level 3
- Certificate and Diploma in ICT Systems and Principles Level 3
- Certificate and Diploma in ICT Professional Competence Level 3 and Diploma at Level 4.
These qualifications are available at local colleges and through apprenticeships. To gain the certificate and diploma you would be assessed at work, so your job would need to include responsibilities suited to each qualification. Many of these qualifications include units from industry certifications but you can also take a recognised certification programme as stand-alone training for professional development,
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
The IT professional qualifications are accredited within the national Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). They are based on the
National Occupational Standards (NOS) for IT users in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
There are various organisations that offer certification or professional membership, CPD and a professional network:
- The Institution of Engineering and Technology
- The Engineering Council holds the register for ICT Technicians ICTTech and can award chartered status
- The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) also offers qualifications for those working in the IT sector
For all ICT technician qualifications there are some mandatory units around aspects such as health & safety, hardware and software configuration and maintenance.
If you need more help speak to the person responsible for your career development or your union learning representative.
Have a look at the ICT support role profiles under the specialist and technical job family to find out more about different levels you could work at.
Find out more about the role of ICT technicians on the National Careers Service website
For more information in Scotland, contact Skills Development Scotland
In Northern Ireland contact Careers Service Northern Ireland
In Wales / Cymru contact Careers Wales
"I am like the person that stoked the coal in a steam train, very rarely seen but essential in keeping ICT working and improving to provide the best learning experience for the pupil. Every child's learning experience can be enhanced with use of good ICT equipment and support"