Learning How to Install, Configure, Maintain, and Repair a Computer

Today I am continuing the thread I started last week about breaking into information technology and cybersecurity as a career.  Let’s begin at the beginning.  No matter where you end up in your career, you can expect to start in an entry level position in a repair center, help desk, or desk side support team.  To be qualified for this position you need to know how to install, configure, maintain, and repair a computer.

My suggestion is to buy two second-hand computers, and learn how to take them apart and put them back together.  If they ran when you bought them, they should run when you are done reassembling them.  If they did not run, then maybe figure out what is broken and fix it.

Resist the urge to buy a bunch of new parts at New Egg and built your own new computer until you have some experience with the used gear.  But that can be a fun part of your learning process.

Learn what the different parts of a computer do.  Start with the motherboard,  Everything connects to the motherboard, and the motherboard provides the electrical and communication channels that all the other parts use.

The learn about your processor.  The processor does all the “thinking” or computational work.

Move on tho the random access memory, or RAM.  The RAM stores the data the processor is using next, or just finished using last.  It is temporary high speed storage that sits between the processor and the hard drive or solid state drive.

As long as we are looking at hard drives, learn about that next.  The hard drive uses magnetic media to store information in a permanent fashion.  A solid state drive stores information on flash media chips.

The the video connection.  This may be built onto the motherboard, or it may be a separate peripheral card.  This is how you connect a monitor to your computer to see what is happening.

Then there is the IO, or input/output devices.  This includes USB ports for connecting the keyboard, mouse, and just about everything else, and the network connection.

The network connection may be built onto the motherboard, or a separate card.  Your computer may have a wired Ethernet connection, or a wireless network connection, or both.  Learn about your network connections, because that is how the computer connects to and uses the local area network and the Internet.

Once you have found your way around the hardware, it is time to learn about the operating system.  You will need to become very familiar with Windows, and should gain some experience with Linux and Apple iOS.  Learn the installation process, and how to make a recovery disk.  The recovery disk will get you an installation DVD for Windows, something that is hard to come by these days.

In the Windows environment, learn how to find and use the Control Panel applets, and Administrative Tools.  Control Panel has been hidden a bit in Windows 10, but you can find it by using the search box on the task bar.

The easy way to get the technical information you need is to study for the CompTIA A+ certification.  Buy a book, and check out Professor Messer’s A+ videos.  Here are a couple links to get you there.

In addition to hardware training, you will also get introduced to networking, and even security.  This is a good place to start if you are lookiing for a career on IT or cybersecurity.


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com

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