Read about careers in system networking management, including how much education you'll need to obtain a position. Find information about job growth, earnings and industry certifications for computer networking professionals here, which may help you decide if this is the right field for you.
Network managers oversee the design and installation of computer systems for a company or an organization. In this position, you'll be responsible for testing the performance of a network, evaluating the needs of its users and making the appropriate changes. The ability to troubleshoot computer problems is essential to working in the field. Communication skills can also be helpful, especially when interacting with non-technical clients.
Nationwide, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected an average growth in jobs for network and computer systems administrators from 2012-2022. Computer and information systems managers will enjoy a faster-than-average increase in opportunities through 2022. As of May 2013, the mean annual salary for network and computer systems administrators was $77,910, while computer and information systems managers earned $132,570 per year, on average (www.bls.gov).
You'll need a minimum of an associate's degree to obtain an entry-level position as a network administrator. Some employers require a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, especially for positions in system networking management. In an associate's degree program in computer networking, you'll learn how to install and troubleshoot networks and prepare for your CompTIA+ and Network+ certifications. A 4-year program in computer systems networking can show you how to create and maintain heavily used networks, plan infrastructures and work with information technology.
While a Master's of Science in Computer Science program can be helpful to system networking managers, many employers prefer candidates who have a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis on information technology. MBA degrees usually take about two years to complete and include specialized courses in business innovation and enterprise development.
Professional computer certifications can serve as proof of competency and may help you stand out as a network manager. These include the Cisco Certified Architect or Cisco Certified Network Professional credentials.