What Does a Computer Networker Do?

A computer network is essential to every office, business, or institution in the modern, technology-driven world. A computer networker uses his or her knowledge and understanding of these systems to fill an important role in the function of any institution. Schools offering Cisco Network Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


A computer network exists whenever two or more computers are linked together to share data. The actual sharing of this information can require the management of a wide variety of both computer hardware and software. Local area networks (LANs) may be wireless or wired; likewise, wide area networks (WANs). The wireless application is becoming increasingly popular; however, a computer networker should be knowledgeable about all types of systems. The networks themselves can be extremely complex, but a rough classification might be as follows:

  • Local Area Network (LAN) - operates within restricted area.
  • Wide Area Network (WAN) - operates across cities, countries, or the world.
  • Wired - uses cables for communication between computers.
  • Wireless - uses radio waves or microwaves to communicate.

Important Facts About Computer Networkers

Professional Certification Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), JNCIE-ENT, Network+, Wireshark Certified Network Analyst (WCNA), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)
Key Skills Systems evaluation and analysis, critical thinking, problem solving, reading comprehension, time management, clear communication
Work Environment Computer systems design firms, educational services, finance and insurance companies, information and manufacturing firms
Similar Occupations Computer programmers, computer systems analysts, computer support specialists, database administrators, software developers, web developers

Job Description

Jobs in computer networking may vary widely in the responsibilities they carry and the salaries they yield. A network administrator may be in charge of installation, configuration, and maintenance of an entire wide area network. A network technician may focus only on the setup and repair of specific types of hardware or software. Computer networking jobs appear under many titles. Examples include:

  • Network Administrator
  • Network Analyst
  • Systems Engineer
  • Network Manager
  • Information Systems Technician

Training and Education

Training in computer networking can begin in high school. Students at that level can start to learn the basics of configuring routers, installing wires and working with a variety of operating systems and protocols. Following that, there are focused two-year programs that offer not only basic networking skills but on-the-job experience. Then there are four-year degree programs that require a greater investment of time and money, but also offer greater long-term prospects.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) publishes data pertinent to both network and computer systems administrators, as well as computer network support specialists. The BLS predicts that the employment of network and computer systems administrators will likely grow by about 12% between 2012 and 2022, while job opportunities afforded to computer network support specialists will grow by about 7% during the same time frame.

Network and computer systems administrators were reported to have earned median salaries of $75,790 in May 2014 by the BLS. The same source indicated that computer network support specialists earned a median of $61,830 per year.

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