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Do Programmers fix Computers? (Expectations or out-of-scope)

by | Jun 24, 2022 | programming | 0 comments

A confused programmer trying to fix his computer

No, programmers don’t fix computers. Tasks like fixing computers, changing computer parts, and loosening computer gadgets are all hardware-related issues and out of the scope of a programmer.

Although a few inquisitive programmers might possess the required skill, it’s best you consult a computer technician.

They have been multiple speculations about programmers’ inability to fix computer hardware issues.

While some tend to look down on programmers who don’t possess the required skills to troubleshoot, diagnose and repair hardware problems, others feel they should at least be able to carry out simple or common fixes since they are familiar with computers as it is their primary tool.

Are all these speculations truly the right expectations or are they completely out of scope of a programmer’s responsibilities?

Grab a cup of coffee and let’s find out in this article.

What Does a Computer Programmer Do?

1. They write and test code for new programs:

Writing and testing code for new programs. Computer programmers work closely with web and software developers to write code for computer programs or mobile apps. Writing new code often involves a lot of trial and error. 

Computer programmers write codes that a computer can read using a variety of programming languages like JavaScript, Python, Node.js, C++ and many more.

2. Update existing programs 

Programmers also create and implement updates for existing software programs. An update might include a bug fix,  improved code base, or enhanced functionality to improve the user experience. 

3. Identify and Correct errors in code

Computer programs are often bloated with code errors, even working functional programs are completely free from errors.

It’s the duty of the programmer to find and fix these errors, a process known as debugging.

Debugging is a multistep process that involves identifying a problem, isolating the source of the problem, and then either correcting the problem or determining a way to work around it.

 In information technology and engineering, the word ‘bug’ is a synonym for the word ‘error.’ 

The final step of debugging is to test the correction or workaround and make sure it works.

4. Rewrite programs for different operating systems 

Often, programmers have to rewrite code in different languages, so that programs and applications can be compatible with different operating systems.

For example, Windows and OS X programs are coded differently. Some programmers are trained to write new applications in SaaS code, which works across both operating systems.

5. Create technical guides for programs 

Programmers are often tasked with making the technical guides that explain to users, or other developers how the computer program will work.

Good examples of technical guides are technical documentation and end-user documentation.

  • Technical Documentation – Documentation of code, algorithms, interfaces, and APIs.
  • End-user Documentation – Manuals for the end-user, system administrators and support staff.

In most companies, writing technical documents is seen as a task for trained technical writers, not for programmers.

However, a programmer who writes documentation is much more valuable and helps them design better systems.

The Extent of Programmers’ Hardware Knowledge

Programmers are inquisitive creatures, their ability to write codes for different programs across different operating systems makes them cultivate a unique problem-solving approach to every computer-related issue that comes their way.

When faced with hardware issues, a Programmer’s first guess is to turn to Youtube for fixing tutorials or search on Google for any technical help or guide.

However, most programmers take this approach only for a couple of specific hardware challenges they believe are not complex and can easily be resolved.

A few examples of such less complex hardware problems include:

  • Increasing Ram size by adding more Ram
  • Changing the inbuilt laptop battery
Fixing a computer External Hard Disk Drive

An External Hard Disk Drive

I think the most common fix is increasing ram size.

A programmer with a 4 gig ram PC might wish to improve the system speed by increasing it to 6 gig ram. He then watches a couple of video lessons on his PC to see if it has an external slot.

Once confirmed, he heads down to a nearby tech shop, buys a 2 gig ram storage and completes the fixes.

Sounds cool but will I advise you to do the same?

Well, I’m not a system hardware specialist so I’m not in the best place to give you such advice.
If you’re a programmer and have colleagues that have carried out such fixes in the past for the same type and similar model of your system then you can rely on their help at owner’s risk.
But I’ll still say it’s best to consult a computer technician. 

Expectations or Out-of-Scope: A Logical Perspective

You’ve learned that fixing computers is out of the scope of programmers or you already know this before now.

Regardless, you still look down on your next-door neighbor who is a programmer but couldn’t help you rectify your motherboard issue. 

You feel his inability to make such fixes makes him less of a programmer, an unskilled one.

Well, if you fall under this category of false expectations, then ask yourself these few questions:

  • Can a Pilot fix an airplane? ✈️
  • Is it the duty of a car driver to change a knocked car engine?
  • Can industrial tailors fix faulty industrial sewing machines?

If you know the answers to the questions, you’ll understand why fixing computer hardware issues is not considered an expectation but out of scope of a programmer’s responsibilities.

Always remember it’s not the job of a programmer to fix the faulty printer or resolve network connectivity issues.

Most times, we are just as ignorant as the person seeking our help.

Who repairs computer hardware?

A computer repair technician also called a computer hardware technician or computer technician is responsible for fixing and maintaining computer systems and peripherals by installing, configuring, testing, troubleshooting, and repairing hardware. 

Well trained computer technicians fixing a computer hardware

Major Differences between programmers and computer technicians

A programmer is an individual that creates computer software and applications by giving the computer-specific programming information while computer technicians are trained IT personnel that troubleshoot, install, repair and maintain various types of computer equipment and peripherals.

How do I find a good Computer Technician?

Let’s face it, getting a good computer technician is not an easy feat.

Still, it’s worth it because you don’t want to end up paying a negligent or inexperienced technician that will end up making the matters worse.

Here are 8 elite tips to consider when looking for a good computer repair technician:

  1. Only hire a technician who has experience with your computer’s model and brand.
  2. Check for positive online reviews and good company ratings. Companies with a good reputation will likely have good reviews, testimonials or overall good ratings from customers.
  3. Check out the specialist education credentials. If the technicians have certificates of completion of in computer maintenance-related course, that’s a good sign. Ideally, the pro you choose should have certifications, training and/or a degree in a related field.
  4. Check for company license credentials. Check to make sure your PC repair company is properly licensed and that those licenses are up to date
  5. Seek local advice by asking your friends who have experienced similar hardware issues like yours in the past. Their recommendation will help go a long way.
  6. Check to see if there’s a warranty on the repair. Paying for repairs that are not backed with any sort of parts or labor warranty is a very risky move. A good computer repairman with a strong belief in his craft will back up their work with a warranty. I do refer to such a warranty as a stamp of assurance.
  7. Stage a short interview with the technician. Don’t be afraid to question their expertise. An unprofessional technician will feel uncomfortable and try to avoid some questions, see this as a red flag.
  8. Review the cost of services across the different options. Make sure you are getting your money’s worth. Don’t be fooled to pay for extra services you don’t need. Do your research and choose someone who would do a quality job on a budget.

Conclusion

A faulty laptop can cost you precious time, productivity and most importantly your peace of mind.

No doubt, some programmers might have a certain level of self-taught hardware repair expertise, but they are still not in the best place to handle such fixes unless you have your personal reasons to give them a try.

From a professional standpoint, hardware problems require the intervention of a skilled computer technician.

A computer repair technician fixing a Mac monitor

A Computer repair technician fixing a Mac monitor

Remember to use the tips above when searching for a computer repairman.

I hope you get your PC up and running just like brand new in no distance time.

If you have experienced similar tales or have certain information you wish to share with me and the audience, then go ahead and drop a comment below.

And it’s a wrap.

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Till we meet again on another article,

Happy Coding!

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