A computer networking professional designs, monitors, maintains and fixes computer systems networks of all types and sizes. To succeed in this industry, you need to have extensive knowledge of computer networking, computer systems and periphery systems.
Students who earn a computer networking degree will develop the information technology skills to succeed in this growing career field.
What Is Computer Networking?
Computer networking involves managing the day to day operation of computer networks. This is a rapidly-evolving industry that is about keeping information technology systems running smoothly. It can range from designing and installing new computer networks and testing security to troubleshooting and handling problems as they come up. Computer networking also involves deploying new hardware and software as it is needed, along with maintaining all vital services of the information technology infrastructure.
Some of the skills you need in computer networking are:
- Analytical skills: Be able to evaluate network and system performance to detect and monitor changes to computer systems.
- Computer skills: Work with many different technologies, such as local area networks, wide area networks, network segments, intranets, hardware and software.
- Communication skills: Provide IT support and be able to communicate problems and solutions to managers
- Problem solving: Learn to fix problems fast that arise with IT and computer networks
- Multitasking: Manage several problems and projects at once for the IT department
Job opportunities for computer and information technology occupations are seeing strong growth today. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that these jobs will increase by an impressive 13% from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than average when compared to other occupations. These jobs will add approximately 557,000 new jobs in the next several years.
One of the major career opportunities for those with a computer networking degree is computer network architect. A computer network architect designs and builds data communication networks, including local area networks, wide area networks and Intranets. These networks can range from small networks between two local offices to a complex cloud infrastructure that serves offices around the world.
It is estimated there will be 6% growth for computer network architects through 2026, which is about as fast as average compared to all occupations. Demand for computer network architects should rise as firms are continuing to expand their IT networks.
As of 2016, there were 162,700 computer network architects working in the US. The biggest employers of these workers were in these fields:
- Computer systems design and related services: 26%
- Telecommunications: 11%
- Management of companies and enterprises: 7%
- Insurance carriers and related activities: 5%
- Educational services: 5%
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for computer network architects was $104,000 in May 2017. The lowest 10% earned a wage of $58,000 and the top 10% earned more than $162,000. Top industries in terms of salary were:
- Insurance carriers and related activities: $110,000
- Management of companies and enterprises: $109,000
- Telecommunications: $107,000
- Computer systems design: $106,000
- Educational services: $66,700
Online Degree Programs
A major advantage of getting a college education today is that you can earn many technical degrees online without leaving your home. You can go to school in another city, state or country if you like and attend all of your courses online.
Arizona State University
A good option for an online bachelor’s program is the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Arizona State University offered by the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. A graduate from this information technology and computer networking degree will be able to design and create effective solutions to knowledge-based problems in a cybersecure environment. Graduates also will have to the ability to create complex network architectures in a cybersecurity infrastructure and to configure and administer complex computer and database systems.
There are three tracks available in this bachelor’s program:
- Networking and Computer System Security
- Information Systems
- Enterprise Computing
Western Governor University
To get a good start in your computer networking and information technology career, earning your bachelor’s degree is a great idea. Western Governor University offers a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology that will increase your earning potential, job security and opportunities to advance.
In addition to giving you a good foundation in computer networking and information technology, you will earn several industry-recognized certifications including CompTIA and CIW. These certifications are part of the program and will not add any more time or cost. The major areas of study in this program are systems and services, networking and security, scripting and programming, data management and business of IT.
Some of the IT-related courses you will take include:
- IT Applications
- IT Foundations
- Network and Security
- Linux Foundations
- Network and Security Applications
- Cloud Foundations
- Emerging Technologies
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University offers a Master of Science in Information Technology that covers the vital areas of computer networking. YOu will learn how to bridge the gaps between IT, communications, and business management, and increase your skills in the growing IT marketplace. Concentrations you can choose are:
- Data Analytics
- Database Design
- Healthcare Informatics
- Information Security
- IT Management
- Software Application Development
- Web Design
Some of the courses you may take include management of information technology; enterprise resource planning; cyberlaw and ethics; advanced information technology; object oriented application development; technical communications and operating systems.
All schools will have their own requirements for admission. Typical requirements for a master of science degree in computer networking are:
- Undergraduate degree in computer science
- College transcripts
- GRE scores
- 0 or higher GPA
- Three references
- Writing samples
Below are the required courses for the Master of Science in Information Technology at Northwestern University, which includes the subject of computer networking:
- Fundamentals of Telecommunication Engineering
- Wireless Technologies
- Principles of Computer and Information Technology
- Data Mining and Business Intelligence
- Probability and Statistical Methods
- Communications Networks
- Managing Technology Development and Innovation
- Law of IT
- Strategic Marketing
For those who want financial assistance to help them pay for college, there are many options in the information technology and computer networking space:
- ISC2 Graduate Cybersecurity Scholarship: $5000
- Adelante Fund Ford Motor Company Future Leaders Scholarship: $2500
- Adelante Fund MillerCoors Engineering and Science Scholarship: $3000
- HENAAC Scholars Program: $10,000
- Hertz Foundation Graduate Scholarship: $38,000
- IASA Insurance Industry Collegiate Scholarship Program: $5000
- Kris Paper Legacy Scholarship for Women in Technology: $1500
- Richard T. Gates Engineering and Technology Endowed Challenge Scholarship: $4000
To take your computer networking career to the next level, consider these certifications:
- Cisco Certified Network Associate
- CompTIA A+ Technician
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
These associations are good to join to increase your networking and career opportunities in computer networking:
- Association of Information Technology Professionals
- Association of Shareware Professionals
- Association for Computing Machinery
- Association for Women in Computing
- Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
Earning a degree in computer networking will set you up well for an outstanding career in information technology and related subjects.
- 5 IT Certifications to Get Your Foot in the Door. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/technology/blog/5-it-certifications-to-get-your-foot-in-the-door/
- What Does a Computer Network Professional Do? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.training.com.au/networking-courses/computer-network-professionals/what-does-a/
- Top 5 Skills Needed to Become a Computer Network Professional. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://potomac.edu/the-top-5-skills-needed-to-become-a-computer-network-professional/