If you love using new and innovative technology and want to apply your passion to a new career, it might be time to consider pursuing postsecondary education at one of the many computer networking schools available in your area. Doing so could help you begin a career in any number of positions that work with computers, including a career as a computer network architect, network systems administrator, or computer support specialist. Computer networking schools can prepare you by introducing you to the complex networks that build the framework for today's highly connected world.
Computer networking specializations
Although many professionals list computer networking skills as one of the main components of their job, the following computer networking specializations are some of the most common:
- Network engineers use their expertise and readily available data to create models of future computer networks.
- Network and computer systems administrators perform a wide range of computer-related tasks for their organization including troubleshooting computer network issues or bugs, maintaining network and computer system security, and determining organizational network needs.
- Computer network support specialists test and analyze existing computer networks to ensure efficiency, perform regular maintenance, and troubleshoot existing local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs).
Computer networking certifications and degrees
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), both computer network architects and computer network administrators typically begin their careers with a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field such as information technology or computer science. Computer network support specialists may fare well with an associate's degree in a computer-related field, but a bachelor's degree is almost always preferred. In fact, the BLS asserts that with so many advances in network technology, some employers may even prefer a master's degree.
With any of these professions, courses in computer science, information technology, and engineering are always helpful. Due to the ever-evolving nature of this profession, computer networking professionals are usually required to complete additional educational requirements as their careers progress, or participate in continuing education courses. Some technology workers also pursue certificates in specific computer programs that can lead to advanced certifications or credentials. These certifications are likely to improve your job prospects because they not only show competence but also add bulk to any resume.
Computer networking salary and career outlook
Since technology in the workplace is becoming more and more prevalent, job prospects for those in all computer-related fields are expected to be good. Specifically, the BLS projects that employment for all computer occupations will increase 18 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022. Meanwhile, computer network architects are expected to see a 15 percent job growth rate during the same timeframe, network and computer systems administrators will see 12 percent growth, and computer network support specialists will see a 7 percent growth.
According to Projections Central, the following states are expected to see the most growth for each profession from 2012 to 2022:
Computer Network Architects:
- Virginia: 24.5%
- California: 23.6%
- Utah: 23.2%
- New Hampshire: 23%
- Nebraska: 22.9%
Computer Network Support Specialists:
- Louisiana: 25.5%
- Washington: 20.6%
- Wyoming: 20.2%
- Utah: 19.3%
- Florida: 17.5%
Network and Computer Systems Administrators:
- Florida: 25.9%
- Colorado: 25.7%
- Louisiana: 25.1%
- Utah: 25%
- Texas: 21.5%
In addition to bright job prospects, many computer networking careers boast higher than average pay. According to the BLS, the annual mean wage for computer network architects was $97,700 nationally in 2013. Meanwhile, the annual mean wage was $77,910 nationally for computer network and systems administrators and $64,160 for computer network support specialists.
Starting a new career in computers seems like a good idea for anyone who has a knack for technology and a desire to get ahead. Fortunately, computer networking schools can start you on the track to success. All you have to do to get started is make a commitment and forge ahead.
Computer Network Architects, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-network-architects.htm#tab-1
Computer Support Specialists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm#tab-1
May 2013 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#15-0000
Network and Computer Systems Administrators, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm#tab-1
Projections Central, Long-Term Occupational Projections, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm