Computer hardware test technicians conduct testing of computer hardware such as circuit boards, computer chips, computer systems, and other electronic and electrical components. They analyse the hardware configuration and test the hardware reliability and conformance to specifications.
The following job titles also refer to computer hardware test technician:
computer hardware testing technician
computer hardware inspector
inspection technician in computer hardware
computer hardware inspection technician
computer hardware tester
inspector of computer hardware
tester of computer hardware
An associate’s degree in electronics, computer science, or a related area is generally the minimum required to work as a computer hardware test technician.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Computer hardware test technician is a Skill level 3 occupation.
Computer hardware test technician career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to computer hardware test technician.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of computer hardware test technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of computer hardware test technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of computer hardware test technician.
- Circuit diagrams: Read and comprehend circuit diagrams showing the connections between the devices, such as power and signal connections.
- Hardware platforms: The characteristics of the hardware configuration required to process the applications software product.
- Quality assurance procedures: The procedures to inspect a product or system to ensure that it is according to specifications and requirements.
- Electronic equipment standards: The national and international quality and safety standards and regulations with regard to the use and manufacture of electronic equipment and its components, such as semiconductors and printed circuit boards.
- Hardware components: The essential components that make up a hardware system, such as liquid-crystal displays (LCD), camera sensors, microprocessors, memories, modems, batteries and their interconnections.
- Hardware testing methods: Those processes in which hardware components or systems are tested, such as the system test (ST), the ongoing reliability test (ORT), and the in-circuit test (ICT).
- Electrical discharge: The qualities and applications of electrical discharge, including voltage and electrodes.
- Hardware materials: The characteristics, applications and environmental effects of materials used to develop hardware.
- Instrument performance elements: Elements that indicate or influence instrument performance. A first indication of the instrument’s performance is its accuracy or precision, such as its response time, resolution, and range. A second indication of performance is the technical performance of the instrument, such as its power level, the electromagnetic interference, and transient voltages. A third indication of performance are environmental factors that can influence instrument performance, such as humidity, operating temperatures, or dust.
- Quality standards: The national and international requirements, specifications and guidelines to ensure that products, services and processes are of good quality and fit for purpose.
- Hardware architectures: The designs laying out the physical hardware components and their interconnections.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of computer hardware test technician.
- Inspect quality of products: Use various techniques to ensure the product quality respects the quality standards and specifications. Oversee defects, packaging and sendbacks of products to different production departments.
- Measure electrical characteristics: Measure voltage, current, resistance or other electrical characteristics by using electrical measuring equipment such as multimeters, voltmeters, and ammeters.
- Read assembly drawings: Read and interpret drawings listing all the parts and subassemblies of a certain product. The drawing identifies the different components and materials and provides instructions on how to assemble a product.
- Conduct quality control analysis: Conduct inspections and tests of services, processes, or products to evaluate quality.
- Test hardware: Test computer hardware systems and components using appropriate equipment and testing methods, such as the system test (ST), the ongoing reliability test (ORT), and the in-circuit test (ICT). Monitor and evaluate system performance and take action if needed.
- Read standard blueprints: Read and comprehend standard blueprints, machine, and process drawings.
- Use testing equipment: Use equipment to test performance and operation of machinery.
- Analyse test data: Interpret and analyse data collected during testing in order to formulate conclusions, new insights or solutions.
- Communicate test results to other departments: Communicate testing information such as testing schedules, samples testing statistics and test results, to the relevant departments.
- Meet deadlines: Ensure operative processes are finished at a previously agreed-upon time.
- Read engineering drawings: Read the technical drawings of a product made by the engineer in order to suggest improvements, make models of the product or operate it.
- Use measurement instruments: Use different measurement instruments depending on the property to be measured. Utilise various instruments to measure length, area, volume, speed, energy, force, and others.
- Ensure conformity to specifications: Ensure that the assembled products are conform to the specifications given.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of computer hardware test technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Printed circuit boards testing methods: Printed circuit board (PCB) testing methods consist of those processes in which PCB components or systems are tested, such as the in-circuit test (ICT), joint test action group (JTAG) test, and automated optical inspection (AOI).
- Microelectronics: Microelectronics is a subdiscipline of electronics and relates the study, design, and manufacture of small electronic components, such as microchips.
- Consumer electronics: The functioning of electronic consumer goods such as TVs, radios, cameras and other audio and video equipment.
- Waste removal regulations: Know and understand the regulations and legal agreements governing the performance of waste removal activities.
- Electronics: The functioning of electronic circuit boards, processors, chips, and computer hardware and software, including programming and applications. Apply this knowledge to ensure electronic equipment runs smoothly.
- Mechanics: Theoretical and practical applications of the science studying the action of displacements and forces on physical bodies to the development of machinery and mechanical devices.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of computer hardware test technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Resolve equipment malfunctions: Identify, report and repair equipment damage and malfunctions; communicate with field representatives and manufacturers to obtain repair and replacement components.
- Perform in-circuit test: Conduct in-circuit test (ICT) to assess whether the printed circuit boards (PCB) were correctly manufactured. The ICT tests for shorts, resistance, and capacitance, and can be performed with a “bed of nails” tester or with a fixtureless in-circuit test (FICT).
- Remove defective products: Remove defective materials from the production line.
- Operate precision measuring equipment: Measure the size of a processed part when checking and marking it to check if it is up to standard by use of two and three dimensional precision measuring equipment such as a caliper, a micrometer, and a measuring gauge.
- Perform test run: Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.
- Test wireless devices: Analyse and test wireless devices and digital platforms that use power management integrated circuits (PMIC), radio frequency integrated circuits (RFIC) or wireless chipsets.
- Calibrate electronic instruments: Correct and adjust the reliability of an electronic instrument by measuring output and comparing results with the data of a reference device or a set of standardised results. This is done in regular intervals which are set by the manufacturer and using calibration devices.
- Research equipment needs: Research equipment or required machine parts; compare sources, prices and delivery times.
- Maintain test equipment: Maintain equipment used for testing the quality of systems and products.
- Check system parameters against reference values: Make sure that the measurable factors which define the operation of a system correspond to the predetermined norms.
- Liaise with engineers: Collaborate with engineers to ensure common understanding and discuss product design, development and improvement.
- Send faulty equipment back to assembly line: Send equipment that didn’t pass inspection back to the assembly line for re-assembly.
- Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
- Write inspection reports: Write the results and conclusions of the inspection in a clear and intelligible way. Log the inspection’s processes such as contact, outcome, and steps taken.
- Test printed circuit boards: Test the printed circuit board with special testing adapters to ensure optimal efficiency, functionality, and that everything works according to design. Adapt the testing devices to the type of circuit board.
ISCO group and title
3114 – Electronics engineering technicians