Read about careers in computer networking and telecommunications, including employment outlook and salaries for professionals working in the field. Find information about the technical degree programs and industry certifications that can help you prepare for a position here.
Computer networking and telecommunications professionals install, support and monitor an organization's local and wide area networks, working both independently and in teams. While some professionals specialize in a single aspect of the field, such as server administration, others may choose to support a wide range of technologies. For example, you may be employed as a network administrator or engineer, telecommunications specialist or systems engineer. An attention to detail and the ability to multitask are key to working in the field; communication skills are important, especially when conveying technical concepts to nontechnical users.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected an average growth of 12% in jobs nationwide for computer networking and computer systems administrators from 2012-2022. A 35% growth in jobs was expected for network administrators employed in computer systems design during the same period. As of May 2013, network and computer systems administrators earned an annual mean salary of $77,910. At that same time, the mean annual salary for administrators who worked for wired telecommunications carriers was $86,330 (www.bls.gov).
Computer networking and telecommunication specialists typically pursue associate's or bachelor's degrees in information science or technology, computer science or management information systems. These programs typically include courses in programming, database administration and computer networking.
Industry certifications that focus on a specific product are available from software and hardware vendors, while certifications covering a specific skill, such as networking, may be offered through computer associations. Vendors and associations that offer certifications include Cisco, Microsoft and CompTIA.