Is a Computer Networking Degree Right for You?

An online bachelor’s degree in computer networking is a good fit for students who want to learn more about how computers and computer systems are linked together and share information through networks. Prospective students should have a strong interest in both network design and security. A computer networking bachelor’s degree is a good choice for people who work in the telecommunications industry and who want to position themselves for advancement or new roles in their organization, but also works for those who want to perform networking responsibilities in other industries. Computer networking is also ideal for people who are more interested in the practical applications of computing in the workplace than in computing theory.

Advice for Earning Your Computer Networking Degree Online

Since certification in the field is so important for network administrators, we recommend choosing online programs whose curriculum allows you to earn vital certifications as you go. These certifications might include the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) credential, or various networking certifications through CISCO, and will be valuable additions to your resume, particularly if you do not have work experience in networking.

Another thing to consider when looking over the curriculum of a computer networking bachelor’s degree online is whether or not it requires an internship. Practical experience from an internship not only sharpens your hands-on networking skills, but may also lead to permanent employment opportunities.

Required Courses

Course work in a bachelor’s program in computer networking aims to build a solid understanding of network design, security, and interaction as well as computer science fundamentals. You will likely begin with an introductory class on network lingo and abbreviations. In your classes, you will learn about the different wireless technologies available, as the field is constantly being updated with new software and regulations. Required courses might include:

  • Networking Fundamentals
  • Systems Architecture
  • Networking Security
  • Server Administration
  • Routing, Switching, and Telecommunications

Common Career Paths

The job market for this field is rapidly growing. However, salaries vary greatly depending on the job candidate’s level of experience and certification, the size and type of organization they work for, and their particular roles and responsibilities. Some common jobs for computer networking majors include (but are not limited to):

Network and Computer Systems Administrator

  • Expected Growth: 28%
  • Average Annual Salary: $74,270

Network and computer systems administrators are in charge of creating, installing, and maintaining a company’s computer network. They are responsible for gathering data, identifying user needs, evaluating the performance of a system, and determining the specific requirements of a system or network.

While some people enter the field with an associate degree and certification, most network administrators have a bachelor’s degree in a computing field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The above job outlook and salary average were provided by the BLS.

Computer Network Architect

  • Expected Growth: 22%
  • Average Annual Salary: $81,670

Computer network architects, sometimes referred to as network engineers, are in charge of designing and implementing data communication networks for an organization. These networks might include Local Area Networks (LANs), Wide Area Networks (WANS), and even intranet systems. A bachelor’s degree in a relevant area of computing is typically required for positions in the field, the BLS explained. The above job growth projection and salary figure were provided by the BLS.

Information Security Analyst

  • Expected Growth: 22%
  • Average Annual Salary: $81,670

Information security analysts plan and implement strategies for ensuring an organization’s computer networks and systems are secure from cyberattacks. They identify potential security threats, take action to mitigate future risks, install protective software, and establish best practices for their organization that will minimize its exposure to security risks.

A bachelor’s degree in a relevant area of computing is usually required for such analyst positions, the BLS explained. The employment growth projections and salary average provided above were drawn from the BLS.

Computer or Information Systems Manager

  • Expected Growth: 18%
  • Average Annual Salary: $125,660

Network administrators with significant work experience may advance to managerial positions in their department. Computer and information systems managers are in charge of all of an organization’s computer systems, and work with the management team to identify areas where the company’s computer systems need improvement or upgrades. They also lead an organization’s network and database security efforts and direct the word of other information technology (IT) staff.

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a relevant area of computing is typically required, although some positions do require a graduate degree, the BLS explained. The job outlook and salary statistics provided above are available through the BLS.

Computer Systems Analyst

  • Expected Growth: 22%
  • Average Annual Salary: $82,320

Computer systems analysts examine an organization’s current computer systems and methods of computing and make recommendations on how they can be improved. They also determine how much it would cost to purchase new equipment, upgrade software, or implement new technology. Once these changes have been implemented, analysts will test the new system to ensure optimum performance and may even train management in working with the new system.

A bachelor’s degree is typical for the profession, even though an associate degree and relevant experience will suffice for some positions, the BLS explained. The above job growth projection and salary average were provided by the BLS.

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