Is a Computer Networking Degree Right for You?
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Computer networking is the communication between computer systems or devices and how they are connected with one another for the purpose of exchanging data. In these degree programs, students explore how computer networks are designed and installed, learn how to work with the latest technology, and develop the skills and abilities necessary to build new networks and improve old ones. Bachelor's degrees in computer networking vary according to concentrations.
Many of the awarded degrees are basic computer science ones with concentrations in networking. As this is a fairly specific degree, the demand for graduates from computer networking programs is expected to be high.
Advice for Earning Your Computer Networking Degree Online
If you enroll in an online program, you will be able to learn course material on basic computer systems and local area networks from your own home. When choosing an online computer networking degree program, make sure the classes offered adequately teach you how to apply theoretical formulas and programs to an organization's various needs.
Do your research to make sure that the school is accredited, and that the instructors are qualified to help you learn the complex course information. These steps will ensure that your program of choice will prepare you for your future career. It is also important for the program to have contacts with companies employing computer networking majors to provide you with internship and job opportunities where you can hone your skills.
To forge a career in computer networking, will need to have a solid understanding of network design, security and interaction. 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 include DC circuit analysis, network configuration, management, security, and cabling and protocols, optical communications, server administration, wireless communications and telecommunications management. You will probably have to take an introductory class on network lingo and abbreviations as well. As in any other program, you will still need to take some core courses outside the major, such as English and science.
Common Career Paths
The job market for this field is rapidly growing. The number of careers is expected to increase between now and 2020. A bachelor's degree will be necessary to land a high paying stable job. Some common jobs for computer networking majors include (but are not limited to):
Network and Computer Systems Administrator
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. Typical job duties include installing software, maintaining hardware, monitoring networks and analyzing system problems. Work environments could include small businesses, large corporations and government offices.
Employment of computer network/systems administrators is expected to increase 28 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The demand for these types of administrators is projected to grow particularly in industries such as computer systems design, software publishing, technical consulting, and data processing and hosting. Beginning annual salaries for network and computer systems administrators were $37,553 to $81,563 as of May 2012, according to PayScale.com.
Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst
Network systems and data communications analysts evaluate and design network systems. Job duties revolve around network analysis, modeling and planning. Analysts are often responsible for implementing security measures, identifying user needs, and interfacing computer and communications equipment. Many network systems analysts work on the development or maintenance of websites and their servers. This can involve the examination and analysis of a site’s users, speed of access, Web activity, traffic patterns and user feedback.
More businesses utilizing wireless networks, integrating the newest technologies and expanding their IT capacity will lead to a rise in demand for network systems and data communications analysts. To obtain a position as this type of analyst, at least a bachelor's degree in an area related to computer networking, such as computer science, information science or management information systems is required. Network systems analysts' median annual salary was $69,160 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Computer Support Specialist
These specialists give technical support to customers and/or employees. Their main job is to analyze and resolve computer networking problems. On a daily basis these types of analysts are responsible for supervising the performance of computer systems and fixing technical problems with local area networks and wide area networks. Other job duties may include running diagnostics programs to resolve problems, training people how to use new hardware and software, and responding to any technical problems users may be having.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of computer support specialists will increase 18 percent between 2010 and 2020. To obtain a position as a computer support specialist, you are often required to have a bachelor's degree in an area related to computer networking, such as computer science, computer engineering or information systems. The starting annual salaries of computer technical support specialists ranges from $29,378 to $65,058 as of May 2012, according to PayScale.com.