If you enjoy figuring out computer problems and have a knack for explaining technical jargon to non-technical people, there are a few places online that you can call home. There is no shortage of people on the web looking for help with computer troubles. I’ve taken the liberty of gathering four of my favorite websites where you can practice helping other people with their computer problems. This is by no means an exhaustive list, it’s merely a personal gathering of the places I’ve found most helpful to not only myself, but to the people seeking help who visit them. Most of these websites will also allow you to link to your own personal website, thus increasing traffic to your computer support business.
Cnet, in my opinion, is the best independent consumer tech news and review site on the internet. Any new gadget ranging from computers to TVs, phones to cars, and everything in between, is previewed and reviewed on this website. As such, it gets a lot of traffic from the general masses. That’s where you come in, my tech savvy friends. Folks post all kinds of questions on the forums at Cnet and they’re hungry for answers. This is a great place to see a lot of the same problems you’ll come into contact with as a computer tech. You can then test your people skills as you try to explain the solution.
Yahoo answers takes the forum experience a step further by allowing users to post specific questions which can then be answered by other members. The asker is then able to pick the most helpful answer and mark it as the “best answer”. This is helpful to you, the computer consultant, by giving you an idea as to what kind of answers other people perceive as helpful. It can be a bit sobering when you realize sometimes the most correct answer is not always rated the best. Being helpful and going the extra mile with explanations and links will really seem to be what people crave. The problem here is that it turns into the wild west sometimes, and people either forget to rate an answer or pick a totally outlandish unhelpful answer as the winner. There also seems to be an abundance of younger folks on Yahoo Answers. If you can overlook these things, then Yahoo Answers is a vast resource for practicing your troubleshooting.
That’s all well and good, you say, but if I’m going to be spending all my precious time answering questions online, I should be compensated! Well look no further than Fixya. This website works much like Yahoo Answers, but is specifically geared toward tech support. Even better, it rewards the answer givers with monetary compensation once they build a decent reputation on the website. You gotta keep on the ball though. You have to have answered 30 questions successfully in the last 30 days in order to start getting paid. Once you get to that level, then you can earn various amounts of money for your answers, from $4 to $10 each depending on how fast you are and how good an answer rating you get from the question ask-er. Though this one requires a little more commitment, the rewards are better than nothing.
This site takes the same premise of Yahoo Answers and Fixya to the expert level. Experts Exchange is where tech guys like me go to get answers. You have to be a member of this website to ask or answer, but it’s well worth it for the working tech. I have a membership to this website through my “day job” and I’ve found alot of valuable info here. If you really know your stuff, especially if you’re an expert in a specific computer niche, then you can be an ‘expert’ on Experts Exchange also. I’m not sure if they reward the experts with money, but experts do get promoted to different levels of the website depending on how many correct questions they answer.
Between those four websites you should have enough food for any sized appetite for fixing. Jump right in and see if you have the knowledge and skills to troubleshoot common computer issues.
Are there any websites that I missed that offer similar services? How do you keep your troubleshooting skills sharp?
Updates to Resources Page:
- New heading: “Practice Troubleshooting”.
- Linked to Cnet Forums.
- Linked to Yahoo Answers.
- Linked to Fixya.
- Linked to Experts Exchange.