What is Computer Hardware?

The term computer hardware (abbrev. computer hw) is used to describe all physical components that make computers or information systems. There are many computer hardware components which vary in their purpose, functionality, performance characteristics, physical appearance, and price. Computer hardware can either be placed inside computer units or connected to computer systems from the outside using specific connectors.

Computer hardware in desktop computers is, most often, placed inside metal computer housing which is also a hardware component. Some of the most commonly used hardware parts include a power supply, motherboard, central processing unit (CPU), video card, Random Access Memory card (RAM), hard drive, memory card reader, optical drives, and solid-state drives. Apart from the hardware components that make up the core of every computer, users also need a monitor, mouse, keyboards, speakers, printers, flash drives and other parts that help users easily control the work of their machines. In laptop or mobile computing devices such as tablets or smartphones, all hardware components are integrated within the device.

Some of the less common hardware components include an independent sound card, analog modem, network interface card, hard drive controller card, joystick, external webcam and microphone, zip drive, scanner, tape drive, or projector.

Network hardware components include, but are not limited to, digital modems, routers, access points, bridge devices, external firewall devices, network switches, or print services. Additional hardware components, also known as auxiliary hardware, can also be integrated within computer systems and include a fan, liquid cooling systems, heat sinks, a CMOS battery, voltage controllers, power cables, chargers, internal batteries or other highly specialized peripherals such as medical equipment devices or other specialized components.

What is IT Hardware Support?

IT hardware support provides solutions for connecting hardware components into functional units. It also resolves any technical issues or issues related to the faulty functioning of hardware parts. IT hardware support optimized the work of different computer parts by pairing complement devices into functional units. IT technical support specialists facilitate repairs and help users to obtain necessary information about hardware devices. These specialists also install and maintain data networks and provide data recovery and destruction services. IT hardware support specialists set up wireless networks, security cameras, public television sets, and public computers in libraries and other institutions.  IT hardware support usually provides PC support, tablet, and other mobile devices including laptop support, printer support, and consumer electronics support.

Which Skills do IT Hardware Support Officers need to have?

IT hardware support officers are responsible for diagnosing and repairing faulty computer equipment via telephone, remote access, email or in person. Therefore, they need to have specific skill sets that would allow them to identify problems, find best solutions and communicate well with clients. To become a successful IT hardware support specialist, a person needs an ability to think logically and pay extreme attention to details. IT hardware support officers need to have exceptional problem-solving skills as well as great listening and questioning abilities. Some other skills required to successfully execute all work assignments include the ability to work independently or in a team, meet the deadlines, prioritize workload, and communicate well with clients and other technical personnel.   

What are the Benefits and Downsides of Being an IT Technical Support Officer?

Working as IT Technical Support Officer provides excellent opportunities to gain in-depth knowledge of all technical aspects that are associated with computer systems. This job allows people to meet and exchange knowledge and experiences with experts in the field. Technical support is a job in demand, so a person may easily find a job almost anywhere in the world. Technical issues can sometimes be complicated to find and fix, so technicians are not expected to find solutions right away. Therefore, they do not have to rush and can take the time to focus on finding and fixing faulty components.

Technicians also face career breaks as they need to continuously stay up-to-date with the latest technological developments. One of the lesser-known aspects of this job is related to the condition of the equipment. As technicians work with the equipment that belongs to others, they may often have to deal with dirty keyboards or dusty computer housings. IT hardware technicians may also be required to crawl underneath desks or enter freezing rooms to physically reach computer units. As computers require much power, technicians need to be careful when handling electrical wires.


Alshammari, S. H., Ali, M. B., & Rosli, M. S. (2016). The Influences of Technical Support, Self Efficacy and Instructional Design on the Usage and Acceptance of LMS: A Comprehensive Review. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology - TOJET, 15(2), 116-125.

Chen, J., McQueen, R. J., & Sun, P. Y. (2013). Knowledge Transfer and Knowledge Building at Offshored Technical Support Centers. Journal of International Management, 19(Developing Offshoring Capabilities for the Contemporary Offshoring Organization), 362-376. doi:10.1016/j.intman.2013.03.009

Mannonen, P., & Hölttä, V. (2013). Where the Knowledge Goes? Information Gathering and Managing Practices in a Global Technical Support Center. Procedia CIRP, 11(2nd International Through-life Engineering Services Conference), 412-415. doi:10.1016/j.procir.2013.07.007

Masing, E. (2009). Technical support: improving performance and reducing costs with IT risk management. Risk Management, (8). 48.


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