What Is Data Communication Systems Technology?

Much of today's computer use is predicated on the ability to transfer data quickly across both small and large distances. If you worked in data communication systems technology, you would design and execute the structures that allow information to be transfered from computer to computer or across voice and data networks. Schools offering Applied Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Data Communication Overview

Data communication happens whenever at least two computers transmit information to each other. In order for this communication to work, a system must be in place that transfers the information from point A to point B. This can be simple, as in a cable that connects one computer to another, or it can be complex, as in the apparatus that connects a wide area network (WAN). You could work in a variety of occupations within the data communications field; possible jobs include network systems analyst, data communications analyst, data architect consultant and information technology specialist.


Closely related data communications jobs are also found in the telecommunications sector. Telecommunications professionals design and implement the technologies that allow the use of wireless Internet, text messaging, digital television and more.

Typical Job Duties

When you work as a data communication professional, you'll handle planning, development, testing and troubleshooting of data transmission structures. This might include designing local area networks (LANs), installing and testing the equipment that allows computers to connect to the Internet, upgrading old systems and overseeing the purchasing of any necessary communications components. If you worked in telecommunications, you might install lines and cables, or plan the advancement of a communications infrastructure.

Education Options

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), formal education is helpful for those who wish to work in data communications (www.bls.gov). This can include certificates and associate degrees for entry-level positions, and bachelor's or master's degrees for higher-level positions, such as information technology specialist or positions in management.

Types of Programs

Degree programs for data communications specialists include information systems and technology, telecommunications, computer engineering, computer science and communications technology. Course topics in these programs might include data structures, wireless and data communications, network security and computer networks.

Career Outlook and Salary Predictions

The BLS notes that the mean annual wage for network systems and data communication analysts was $76,560 in May 2012, with most people in the industry making between $55,900 and $94,320. The BLS predicted that employment for individuals who build computer networks would be strong through 2022, especially considering the increased use of mobile and wireless networks.


You might consider joining a professional organization in order to stay current with technological developments. Both the Association for Computing Machinery and the Telecommunications Industry Association offer events covering the latest research and news in the field.

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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