Internetworking Technician: Career and Salary Facts

Internetworking technicians manage communications among the multiple networks that may be used by businesses and organizations. Keep reading to see what internetworking technicians do. See about education and training programs and get the career and salary outlook. Schools offering Computer Networking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Internetworking Technician?

Internetworking professionals work with different types of networks with a variety of protocols (the format of data transmission between devices). As an internetworking technician, some types of networks you might implement or maintain include local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), metropolitan area networks, virtual private networks, storage area networks, and content area networks. You'd likely work with switching technologies, routing protocols, wireless technologies, and optical networking. Essentially, your job would be to connect data communications networks, ensuring that they communicate with each other, using the appropriate devices and software.

In addition to implementing and maintaining internetworking technology, you might be involved with design and troubleshooting issues. Performing upgrades and monitoring security issues will likely be involved in your job duties. Providing documentation of network procedures and ensuring that all users have access to services are typical responsibilities as well.

The job title of 'network technician' is more common than 'internetworking technician,' and many skills overlap between the two job categories. However, more advanced positions, such as that of network administrator or network engineer, tend to have a greater focus on internetworking than do technician positions. Still, educational programs exist, primarily at the community college level, to prepare graduates for entry-level positions as internetworking technicians, who have some specific skills that differ from network technicians.

Explore the table below to find out more about this career.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree or apprenticeship
Education Field of Study Computer engineering or information technology
Key Responsibilities Implementing and maintaining computer networks, troubleshooting network issues, upgrading and monitoring security protocols, adding users to networks, providing documentation of procedures
Certification Requirements Cisco certification is recommended, if not required, by many employers
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (for all computer network support specialists)*
Median Salary (2017) $46,903 (for all network technicians)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Kind of Education is Available?

Knowledge of internetworking technology can be gained at the community college and university levels to initiate or advance the careers of network technicians, network administrators, and other IT professionals. Apprenticeships are an alternative option.

Internetworking programs offered by community colleges begin with the nuts and bolts of computer hardware and the major elements of network systems. Programs are typically designed to prepare you for professional vendor-specific certifications, such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) credential. Achieving this credential requires training in the installation, configuration, and troubleshooting of LANs and WANs that use switches and routers, in addition to security issues and wireless networks. Telecommunications, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), and several other protocols are internetworking topics that are commonly interwoven into the curricula.

Bachelor's degree programs that allow for a specialization in internetworking include computer engineering and information technology. Information technology programs commonly incorporate internetworking courses within the core or elective curricula. Advanced internetworking topics you may encounter include extensive treatment of the TCP/IP protocol suite, subnetting, and internetworking design.

The U.S. Department of Labor has recognized the job category 'internetworking technician' as eligible for apprenticeship training through state governments. States may enable large or small companies and organizations to sponsor paid apprenticeships in internetworking. Apprenticeships are recommended to consist of 5,000 hours of training, covering many previously discussed topics. This type of training combines classroom and on-the-job learning under the supervision of experienced workers.

Do I Need Certification?

Vendor-specific certifications are often requested by employers to ensure that you possess up-to-date knowledge of industry hardware and software. Cisco certifications, in particular, are commonly requested by employers. The CCNA credential discussed previously, for example, is essential to enter many internetworking positions. Additional certifications may be highly desired, such as the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). It's considered one of the most advanced networking credentials; according to Cisco, less than three percent of its certification holders are CCIEs (www.cisco.com).

What Are the Salary Possibilities?

According to PayScale.com, CCIEs working as network engineers made a median gross hourly wage of $55.00 as of February 2017; network architects with this certification had median earnings of $85.00 per hour. PayScale.com also reported salary data for network technicians in the 10th-90th percentile ranges by experience as of that year. According to the website, earnings per hour ranged from $13.86 for technicians with less than one year of experience to a top hourly wage of $46.90 for technicians with 20 years or more in the field.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Computer network architects create the computer networks organizations use to connect their users, from small scale intra-office connections to worldwide cloud storage. Computer systems analysts observe the procedures and technology in use for the computer systems of an organization, suggesting changes and fixes to problems in order to increase efficiency. Computer programmers work with code, directing how software and applications function when given commands. These jobs typically hire bachelor's graduates.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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