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Retail & Sales careers

Retail: Computers & Technology

The rise of the computer and technology retail sector…

Computers, gadgets, mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices are taking over the world. Everywhere you go you will constantly see people listening to iPods, playing around on their iPads, or talking on mobile phones.

Nowadays, people are using computers and technological devices everywhere: at work, at home, in the street, on the toilet, on aeroplanes and at the beach. Computers and technology are massive business. Just ask Bill Gates or Steve Jobs!

Millions of people want the latest gadgets. So, where do they go to buy these things? Well, computer and technology stores of course.

Some people are obsessed with going to computer and technology shops. I’m sure we’ve all seen the insanely long queues outside the Apple stores when a new iPhone is released.

These establishments are the kind of exciting, futuristic place where you can get lost for hours, exploring a new laptop’s different applications, pushing buttons on mobile phones, and playing with video game consoles and audio devices. If you’re one of these people, then why not consider a career working in one of these retail establishments?

Could I work in a computer and technology shop?

If you’ve watched the film The 40 Year Old Virgin, you’re probably thinking that people who work in computer and technology stores are stereotypical technology geeks. Similarly, if you’ve ever seen the sitcom PhoneShop, then you’ll probably think that the people who work in mobile phone stores are a bizarre, ragtag bunch of salesmen.

Alternatively, you might think that everyone who works in computer game stores are computer nerds that spend their entire lives playing on Football Manager (perhaps even donning a suit when their team gets to the Champions League final).

Well, if you’re under that impression, then you’re very much mistaken. The people who work in these careers tend to be dynamic and highly-knowledgeable people. They need to know their products and their market inside out. They are selling the products of the future and their enthusiasm for them should really shine through.

What would I be doing if I worked in a computer and technology shop?

Your career options can be pretty varied when working in this area of retail. For instance, you could work in an independent store, a specific technology company’s store (e.g. the Apple Store), or in a megastore, which sells a broad range of products from many different technology companies (e.g. PC World).

Understandably, loads of shop floor staff and sales assistants are required to actively sell products, organise displays and help customers make the right choices. Sales assistants that work in mobile phone or computer stores may earn commission for selling extra computer peripherals and accessories, or by convincing people to get more expensive phone contracts.

People who work in these careers need to have a detailed knowledge of their chosen field, so that they can help to make recommendations to customers. This level of knowledge might not stop at just generally knowing lots about computers and technology. Indeed, staff might be assigned a certain section of the store and be expected to become an expert in that specific area. These staff members have the potential to progress into supervisor and store manager positions.

What other roles are available in the computer and technology retail sector?

Not everyone who works in this subsector always works actively on the shop floor. A great career choice in this area of retail is to be a buyer. These guys are in charge of deciding what computers, laptops, accessories and mobile phones are going to be sold in the shops.

They assess market trends, get to know their industry inside out, and always need to stay on the ball to make sure that the new exciting products are available when they first come out.

Careers in this area are so much more than weekend and holiday jobs. People can have long, rewarding careers within computer and technology retail establishments, and some might eventually open and manage their own store.

Do you like being the first of your friends to get your hands on the newest technology, be it a phone, iPad or games console? Are you the type to subscribe to Wired magazine, or active on the technology subreddit? If so, try your hand at any open retail roles that you find interesting. This might just be the place for you!