Computer Systems Technician

The Computer Systems Technician program at Algonquin College prepares students to meet the broad range of duties and responsibilities of today’s Information Technology (IT) carriers. The program focuses on the technical aspects of commonly used components and troubleshooting techniques for computer hardware, operating systems, networking technologies, system administration, and a suite of related support and application software packages.

To see the full program course map, please download the following PDFs:
2016-2017 Program Map

Mobile DeviceBring Your Own Device (BYOD): As a student in this on-campus program, you will require a mobile computing device that meets the specifications outlined by your program at

(Please note this was previously referred to as a Mobile Learning Program)

Another Mobile Device ImageeTextbooks: As a student in a program that has adopted etextbooks, your required texts and digital resources will be provided to you at the beginning of each term (with the exception of general education electives). For more information and associated fees, go to

Related Programs:
Computer Engineering Technology – Computing Science (Ottawa Campus)
Computer Programmer (Ottawa Campus)
Computer Systems Technology – Security (Ottawa Campus)
Computer Systems Technician (Pembroke Campus)

Ontario College Diploma
2 Year(s)

Program Code: 0150X01FWO
Academic Year: 2016/2017

Our Program

This two-year Ontario College Diploma program, accredited by the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT), prepares students for an Information Technology (IT) career in either the public or private sector. The program is designed to provide students with the technical knowledge, expertise and proficiency in installing, configuring and supporting a wide variety of computer, networking and operating systems (O/S) technologies commonly used in the day-to-day operations of many businesses and corporations.

To meet this broad range of duties and responsibilities, the program focuses on the technical aspects of commonly used components and troubleshooting techniques for computer hardware, operating systems, networking technologies, system administration, and a suite of related support and application software packages. In addition, students develop their communications skills, customer support/interpersonal skills, ethics for the IT workplace, workplace health and safety knowledge and technical report writing skills.

Requirements and subject matter found in certifications, such as Cisco Academy CCENT/CCNA; Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) A+, Network+, Linux+, Security+; and Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) are explored. Students are encouraged to write relevant industry certifications once they have met the requirements.

Students have access to modern computing facilities running Windows and GNU/Linux/UNIX-based operating system (O/S) platforms and supporting a wide variety of pre-installed software applications. Specialized networking, Cisco and Aruba and hardware labs, along with several network-based O/S servers, afford students exposure to real-world technologies. Licensed versions of selected Microsoft O/S, VMWare and development tools are available to students through the department-sponsored Microsoft DreamSpark Alliance.

Graduates with a GPA of 2.7 or better, can apply to the three-year Computer Systems Technology - Security Ontario College Advanced Diploma program.

This program participates in Algonquin`s etext initiative. All required texts and digital resources are provided to students and can be accessed for life from up to four devices simultaneously.

There are two program start dates each year at the beginning of the Fall and the Winter terms. Program progression varies depending on the term in which students begin the program.

This program offers two cooperative education (Co-op) Work Term(s) option. Qualified students with a minimum GPA of 2.7, have the opportunity to apply for paid co-op employment to gain valuable work experience and networks within industry. *See Additional Information for more details.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Students are expected to have and use a laptop or mobile computing device when registered in this on-campus program. A Windows-based laptop with Intel i7 processor, 16G of RAM and minimum 500G harddrive is required. Hardware and software specifications required by your program are outlined at Mobile devices/laptops and supplies can be purchased directly from Algonquin`s New Technology Store at educational rates.


This program is well-suited for students who:

  • Enjoy the challenge of a constantly evolving field.
  • Can work independently or in a team environment.
  • Have good problem-solving and analytical skills.
  • Are interested in learning how to implement and troubleshoot computer technology, operating systems and networking technology solutions.

Your Career

Graduates may find employment in a wide variety of areas, in the government, private and public sectors, at the junior/entry-level in positions, such as network/system installation, maintenance and/or administration, and at the junior to intermediate level in positions, such as hardware/software sales and support, customer service support representative and technical support specialist.

Learning Outcomes

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Analyze and resolve information technology problems through the application of systematic approaches and diagnostic tools.
  2. Support the implementation and administration of computer systems.
  3. Support the implementation and administration of networking solutions.
  4. Install, configure, troubleshoot, maintain, and upgrade components of computer systems.
  5. Install, configure, troubleshoot, maintain, and upgrade components of networks.
  6. Use a variety of scripting tools and languages to automate routine tasks.
  7. Follow, monitor, and document data storage procedures designed to ensure the integrity of information.
  8. Apply knowledge of security issues to the implementation of information technology solutions.
  9. Provide efficient and effective technical support to clients in a manner that promotes safe computing practices and reduces the risk of the issue recurring.
  10. Conform to workplace expectations found in information technology (IT) environments.
  11. Contribute to the successful completion of the project applying the project management principles in use.
  12. Identify and apply discipline-specific practices that contribute to the local and global community through social responsibility, economic commitment and environmental stewardship.


Programs at Algonquin College are delivered using a variety of instruction modes. Courses may be offered in the classroom or lab, entirely online, or in a hybrid mode which combines classroom sessions with online learning activities. Upon registration, each full-time student is provided an Algonquin email account which is used to communicate important information about program or course events.
Level: 01 Hours
CST8182 Networking Fundamentals The foundational knowledge of computer networking and LAN/WAN communications is introduced. Students are also introduced to the terminology and concepts related to the implementation and operation of computer networks. Topics include basic network design, layered communications models, IP addressing and subnetting, and industry standards for network media, and protocols with an emphasis on the TCP/IP protocol suite and Ethernet. Material from the most recent version of the Cisco Network Academy Introduction to Networks curriculum and from the CompTIA Network+ certification are also included. 75.0
CST8202 Network Operating Systems I An introduction to the Windows desktop operating systems is provided. Students learn to use some of the core basic commands and perform common system setup and management tasks that are commonly carried out by computer professionals. Typical tasks covered include, but are not limited to, installing and configuring operating systems, installing device drivers, batch files and windows scripting, managing memory, command-line environment, troubleshooting the boot process, and customizing and personalizing the operating environment. 60.0
CST8207 Gnu/Linux Operating Systems I Students learn the basic concepts and features of the GNU/Linux operating system and utilities, the world's most well-known Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) project and the underlying technology supporting Google, Facebook and Android smart phones. Students examine the power of the GNU/Linux command line and the basics of shell scripting and task automation are studied. Students perform file system searches, full-text searches, and data-mine system log files to generate analyses of network attacks and intrusion attempts. Students also customize their shell programming environment to simplify repetitive tasks and support system administration functions. 75.0
CST8300 Achieving Success in Changing Environments Rapid changes in technology have created personal and employment choices that challenge each of us to find our place as contributing citizens in the emerging society. Life in the 21st century presents significant opportunities, but it also creates potential hazards and ethical problems that demand responsible solutions. Students explore the possibilities ahead, assess their own aptitudes and strengths, and apply critical thinking and decision-making tools to help resolve some of the important issues in our complex society with its competing interests. 45.0
ENL1813T Communications I Communication remains an essential skill sought by employers, regardless of discipline or field of study. Using a practical, vocation-oriented approach, students focus on meeting the requirements of effective communication. Through a combination of lectures, exercises, and independent learning, students practice writing, speaking, reading, listening, locating and documenting information and using technology to communicate professionally. Students develop and strengthen communication skills that contribute to success in both educational and workplace environments. 45.0
MAT8002 Numeracy and Logic Students acquire the knowledge to work with numerical systems and internal machine representations; binary/hex/octal/decimal math; sets, subsets and power sets; Boolean logic and truth tables; and introductory level statistical methods and basic probability rules. 45.0
Level: 02 Hours
CST8177 Gnu/Linux Operating Systems II Focus is placed on the administration of a GNU/Linux workstation, and the administrative requirements, and capabilities of GNU/Linux in a multi-user, multi-computer and networked environment. Students learn how to perform and use basic administrative tasks and tools; user and workstation account creation and management; installation and customization of a GNU/Linux operating system; management and troubleshooting of the boot process; and finally, process and services management. Scripting languages are used to accomplish administrative tasks.

Prerequisites: CST8207
CST8206 Foundation of It Service Management An introduction to the basic understanding and concepts of IT Service Management as described in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is provided. Students gain knowledge of the ITIL terminology, structure, and best practices for service management. This knowledge is required for participation in an ITIL compliant organization as part of a service team. A basic overview of the relationship between the ITIL, COBIT and ISO2000 standards is also represented. 45.0
CST8208 Pc System Technology Focus is on recent, current and emerging PC hardware technologies for desktop and laptop PCs. Course content includes how computers work, identifying and understanding the interaction between core PC components and their relation to peripheral devices. Students learn a variety of form factors and standards of components, buses and ports to ensure compatibility within systems. Students explore PC customization, performance and optimization, system cooling and storage systems. Focus on installing, configuring, and troubleshooting internal and peripheral PC technologies is emphasized.

Prerequisites: CST8202
CST8239 Network Operating Systems II Building on previous experience with Windows Operating Systems, students explore the capabilities of Windows Server family. Topics include manual and automated installation, Microsoft DNS implementation, domain controllers using Active Directory, Group Policy, Terminal Services, Windows Server security and the Windows Distributed File System (DFS). This practical component allows students to install and configure Windows O/S with Active Directory and practise typical system administration tasks.

Prerequisites: CST8202
CST8270 Routing and Switching The architecture, components, and operations of routers and switches in a small network are described. Participants learn how to configure a router and a switch for basic functionality. Participants are able to configure and troubleshoot routers and switches and resolve common issues with dynamic routing protocols, virtual LANs, and inter-VLAN routing in both IPv4 and IPv6 networks. Material from the Cisco Network Academy Program is included.

Prerequisites: CST8182
Choose one from equivalencies: Hours
GED0150 General Education Elective Students choose one course, from a group of general education electives, which meets one of the following four theme requirements: Arts in Society, Civic Life, Social and Cultural Understanding, and Science and Technology.

Equivalencies: ARC9001 or DSN2001 or ENV0002 or FAM1218 or GED1896 or GED5002 or GED5004 or GED5005 or GED5006 or GED5009 or GED5300 or GED6022 or GEN1957 or GEN2000 or GEN2007 or HIS0001 or HIS2000 or HOS2228 or LIB1982 or MVM8800 or PSI0003 or RAD2001 or GED5003
Level: 03 Hours
CST8190 Pc Troubleshooting Emphasis is placed on problem analysis methodology and techniques for finding, identifying, and correcting hardware, operating systems and software problems. Mean time between failures (MTBF) and mean time to repair (MTTR) concepts are illustrated along with statistical analysis of historical support data in order to establish or revise preventive and corrective maintenance (PM and CM) schedules. Course content emphasizes symptoms, faults and solutions to problems found in PC-based desktop, server and laptop systems. Practical experience is gained by using common industry troubleshooting tools and utility software to resolve common problems. Labs are designed to test students troubleshooting skills using a series of computer systems with preset problems.

Prerequisites: CST8208
CST8213 Gnu/Linux Operating Systems III Students learn the concepts and skills required to set up, administer and secure essential network services on a GNU/Linux server platform. Services covered include at a minimum: DNS, email and web services. Practical experience by performing installation and configuration of these services in lab is obtained. Problem solving, research and teamwork are complementary components of this course.

Prerequisites: CST8177
CST8242 Network Operating Systems III Expanding on previous experience with the Windows Server O/S, focus is on how to install, deploy, configure, administer and integrate key network services on a Windows Server. Services covered include MS Exchange server, MS IIS web server, Active Directory/DHCP and Active DNS. Performance considerations, ensuring network services participate properly in an Active Directory environment, integrating network services to DNS/DHCP services, security issues, and practical administration issues of network services in an enterprise environment are discussed.

Prerequisites: CST8239
CST8271 Enterprise Internetworks Students examine the architecture, components, configuration and operation of routers and switches in a larger and more complex LAN. Topics include LAN design considerations plus the configuration and troubleshooting of: Redundancy in the LAN, Spanning Tree, Link Aggregation, Single and Multi-area OSPF, and EIGRP in both IPv4 and IPv6 networks. Material is included from the Cisco Network Academy Program course: Scaling Networks.

Prerequisites: CST8270
CST8304 Wireless Network Administration The fundamentals of the 802.11 wireless protocols are covered. Beginning with a comprehensive view of the electromagnetic spectrum and how it relates to wireless networks, students explore, such topics as: 802.11 protocol family; features and functions of wireless LAN components; WLAN design; WLAN security and design issues; setup, installation, configuration, and troubleshooting of wireless LAN hardware peripherals; and WiFi authentication protocols.

Prerequisites: CST8270
Co-op: 01 Hours
WKT8001 Work Term I Students complete a cooperative work term, and submit a written report which documents the location of employment and the duties performed. 0.0
Co-op: 02 Hours
WKT8002 Work Term II Students complete a cooperative work term, and submit a written report which documents the location of employment and the duties performed.

Prerequisites: WKT8001
Level: 04 Hours
CST8231 Network Services Students develop the knowledge and skills required for supporting common network services in an Enterprise Network environment. Basic network management and tools, as well as the installation, configuration, and troubleshooting of typical user services, such as mail, printing, Internet access, shared resources, cloud computing, databases and file systems are also reviewed.

Prerequisites: CST8213 and CST8242

Co-requisites: ENL8720
CST8230 It Security Fundamentals Focus is placed on a basic overview of information technology security. Students are introduced to the goals of computer security, threats to security and security counter measures. Several operating systems and software tools are examined for their security features. Use of Firewalls, sniffers, Intrusion Detection/Protection Services, security, and vulnerability analysis tools and other methods of protection are explored. Strong emphasis is placed on student-initiated research of the literature and information sites related to information technology security.

Prerequisites: CST8213 and CST8242
CST8278 Wide-Area Networking Students enhance their knowledge of networking to include accessing the Wide Area Network. Topics covered include Intro to WAN technologies and standards, the Point-to-Point (PPP) protocol, Frame Relay, Network Security using Cisco devices, using Access Control Lists (ACLs) for traffic control, Teleworker (Broadband and VPN) Services, IP Addressing Services (DHCP, NAT, Into to IPv6), and Network Troubleshooting. Laboratory exercises focus on the technical aspects of the technologies discussed using Adtran simulators and routers to simulate real WAN technology setups. Material from the Cisco Networking Academy Program CCNA Exploration Accessing the WAN curriculum is included. 75.0
ENL8720 Technical Communication for Technicians Clear, concise and detailed communication is essential for technical workplaces. Students plan and execute a variety of formal and informal visual, oral and written communication tasks. Exercises and activities foster confidence and competence in workplace communication.

Prerequisites: ENL1813T
OHS4002 Workplace Health and Safety Sending workers home whole and healthy every day should be the rule not the exception for workplaces. Students are provided information regarding current health and safety issues in the workplace so that injuries and illnesses on the job can be prevented. Safety legislation and agencies, chemical hazards, fire prevention, ergonomics and workplace violence are included. 30.0
Choose one from equivalencies: Hours
GED0150 General Education Elective Students choose one course, from a group of general education electives, which meets one of the following four theme requirements: Arts in Society, Civic Life, Social and Cultural Understanding, and Science and Technology.

Equivalencies: ARC9001 or DSN2001 or ENV0002 or FAM1218 or GED1896 or GED5002 or GED5004 or GED5005 or GED5006 or GED5009 or GED5300 or GED6022 or GEN1957 or GEN2000 or GEN2007 or HIS0001 or HIS2000 or HOS2228 or LIB1982 or MVM8800 or PSI0003 or RAD2001 or GED5003

Fees & Expenses   

2016/2017 Academic Year

Total Fees for the first year of the program:

Domestic tuition/ancillary fees: $5,374.30. *

International tuition/ancillary Fees: $14,900.34. *

* Amounts include tuition fee, program specific lab and material fees, applicable eText fees, Students` Association fees and compulsory ancillary fees. Fees are subject to change. For detailed fees information please visit

Note: For further information regarding your books, please visit

Supplies can be purchased at the campus store. For more information about books, go to

For a complete list of program-related incidental fees, please visit our website at

Admission Requirements   

2017/2018 Academic Year

College Eligibility

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent. Applicants with an OSSD showing senior English and/or Mathematics courses at the Basic Level, or with Workplace or Open courses, will be tested to determine their eligibility for admission; OR
  • Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) certificate; OR
  • General Educational Development (GED) certificate; OR
  • Mature Student status (19 years of age or older and without a high school diploma at the start of the program). Eligibility may be determined by academic achievement testing for which a fee of $50 (subject to change) will be charged.

Program Eligibility

  • English, Grade 12 (ENG4C or equivalent).
  • Mathematics, Grade 12 (MAP4C or equivalent).
  • Applicants with International transcripts must provide proof of the subject specific requirements noted above along with proof of either:
    • IELTS-International English Language Testing Service-Overall band of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band. OR
    • TOEFL-Internet-based (iBT)-overall 80, with the minimum of 20 in each component: Reading 20; Listening: 20 Speaking: 20, Writing: 20

Should the number of qualified applicants exceed the number of available places, applicants will be selected on the basis of their proficiency in English and mathematics.

Note: Applicants should have basic computer skills such as keyboard proficiency, Internet browsing and searching, and the use of an office software suite (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) prior to the start of the program. The Mobile Learning Center Coach (C102) offers training in these skills if needed.

Note: New students who wish to apply to the Computer Systems Technology - Security (0156X01FWO) programs must first apply to the Computer Systems Technician (0150X01FWO) program through

Application Information

Applications to full-time day programs must be submitted with official transcripts showing completion of the academic admission requirements through:
60 Corporate Court
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 5J3

Students currently enrolled in an Ontario secondary school should notify their Guidance Office prior to their online application at

Applications for Fall Term and Winter Term admission received by February 1 will be given equal consideration. Applications received after February 1 will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis as long as places are available.

International applicants applying from out-of-country can obtain the International Student Application Form at or by contacting the Registrar`s Office.

For further information on the admissions process, contact:

Registrar`s Office
Algonquin College
1385 Woodroffe Ave, Room C150
Ottawa, ON K2G 1V8
Telephone: 613-727-0002
Toll-free: 1-800-565-4723
TTY: 613-727-7766
Fax: 613-727-7632

Additional Information

Co-op is a real-world job search process requiring students to apply, interview, and earn jobs rather than being placed by the College. In the term prior to the cooperative education (Co-op) Work Term, students are required to independently complete online modules that assist with resume and cover letter writing, and interview technique preparation. Students must actively conduct a self-directed job search and are responsible to secure approved program related paid co-op employment. Students compete for co-op positions alongside students from Algonquin and other Canadian and international colleges and universities. Algonquin College`s Co-op Office provides assistance in developing co-op opportunities and facilitates the overall process but does not guarantee that a student will obtain employment in a cooperative education (Co-op) Work Term. Co-op employment opportunities requiring relocation may be considered, and are subject to departmental approval with the understanding that all associated expenses are incurred by students e.g., travel, work permits/visa applications, accommodation, etc.

Cooperative education (Co-op) Work Terms are typically four months in duration and are completed during a term when students are currently not studying on campus. For details on study-work progressions for specific programs, please visit

This program is also offered at the Pembroke Campus. While the overall learning outcomes at the Woodroffe and Pembroke Campuses may be the same, the curriculum order and subject delivery are reflective of local circumstances which affect program delivery. Students wishing to transfer between Campuses should consult with their coordinator before making any decisions as there may be some impact on credit transfers.

The curriculum is reviewed annually to reflect evolving industry standards in the information technology field.

As of June 2006, the Computer Systems Technician program has met the national technology accreditation requirements as mandated by the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists (CCTT) and has received national accreditation status by the Canadian Technology Accreditation Board (CTAB) and the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) which is reviewed and renewed tri-annually.

OACETT recognizes the Computer Systems Technician program as meeting all the academic requirements for certification in the Technician category. Graduate and current students in their second year having met certain additional requirements (i.e. work experience and qualifying professional practice exam, etc.), can apply to become certified from OACETT. Visit or for more information.

For program information, please email or visit

Every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication. The College reserves the right to modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable, or campus location at any time