A computer network is a collection of computers connected to a communication channel that allows users to communicate with each other and share resources such as a printer, internet connection and software. In this interconnected world, the person who can set up these networks and make sure they run smoothly is a person very much in demand at businesses, educational, governmental and health care facilities all over the country.
A computer network technician is also known as a computer network engineer, network specialist, network programmer/analyst, network administrator or network/information systems manager. The basic job duties entail analyzing the needs of the company and designing a computer network that fits those needs and the designated budget. Once approved, the computer networker installs and configures the systems as well as troubleshoots problems that may crop up.
To become a computer networker you must have a combination of technical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills. Specifically, you must have working knowledge of a variety of software applications including how different operating systems, like Windows and Unix work. You need to know the capabilities of current hardware and how best to configure it for maximum effectiveness. You also need to have knowledge of basic models of networking architecture like peer to peer and client/server.
A college degree is extremely beneficial to have in this field of work. Many colleges offer computer networking as a certificate program or an Associates of Science degree. However, if you want to achieve a bachelor or a master’s level of education, a degree in computer science, electrical and computer engineering, telecommunications, information systems, and communications science will help you with your computer networking career.
You can expect to take a lot of math, computer and physics classes. Because you will be interacting with people who may or may not understand computer technology, it is in your best interest to ensure that your class schedule includes written and verbal communications courses as well. Additionally, there are a few networking based training certifications that you may want to obtain in order to remain competitive in the job market such as the Microsoft MCSE and the Cisco CCNA.
As a computer networking technician you will enjoy working in clean, secure office buildings. Although you may be sitting for a good amount of time, you will also be traveling from office to office resolving network related problems and maintaining the servers. You will often work long hours, weekends and holidays and you may even be required to be on call to fix the system should it go down.
The average wage for people in this position is around $70,000. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that growth in this industry will be faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. As technology continues to expand and evolve, the need for skilled computer network technicians who understand how it all works will increase. If you are thinking of getting into the computer industry then a job as a computer networking technician can certainly be a fulfilling career.