Becoming an ICT technician

Other titles include head of ICT, ICT assistant, ICT support

The stereotype of the IT geek simply doesn’t hold good in schools. Information technology is taking centre stage as ICT - or the e-learning platform - drives learning not only for students but connects and educates staff, parents and the wider school community, too. ICT staff must be innovative on small budgets, communicate with a wide audience, and cope with pupils who may be more cutting-edge in their IT knowledge!

Salary

Depends on the duties and these can vary massively within the job title. Someone in a federated primary school may have sole and wide-ranging responsibilities, compared to a more junior person on a bigger team in a secondary school, for example.

School ICT technician: £15,000 – 25k

Hours

Depending on the size of the school and its tech needs, this can be fulltime or part time.

Duties  

  • Setting up computer servers and network
  • Running diagnostics
  • Patching and repairing systems
  • Advise on the safe use of the Internet
  • Ensuring Internet systems are safe and offer full child protection
  • Purchasing kit
  • Training teachers and students
  • Liaising with suppliers on maintenance  or licensing deals

Qualifications

There are many institutions and membership organisations that offer certification or professional membership, CPD, a professional network and above all, enhance your credibility.

For all ICT technician qualifications there are some mandatory units around aspects such as health & safety, hardware and software configuration and maintenance.

Skills and knowledge

Usually to be successful in this role, you’ll need a working or expert knowledge of:

  • Operating systems including Windows XP and 7
  • Desktop deployment technologies (Ghost or Windows Desktop Deployment, etc)
  • Network protocols: TCP/IP, DNS and DHCP.
  • Applications: Office (2003, 2007 and 2010)
  • Ability to co-ordinate the work of a small team and a flexible approach to duties and working hours
  • Freeware that is popular in education including Moodle, Linux and other Open Source

The upside

Exposure to school life and the classroom is never boring and may provide the foundation and inspiration for career development, including teaching roles.

The downside

May have to spend school holidays upgrading the network - and not be paid for your school holidays. The politics with the teachers can be tricky, especially the ICT teacher who may dump on you into giving ICT lessons.

Best route in and career progression

An ICT support job in a different industry sector is a common route but you’ll need to demonstrate your commitment to education, young people and learning. As for career progression, as well as climbing the ICT support pole, your school may pay for you to study for the Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA). This will give you the relevant experience in teaching good lessons.