Cisco Network Technician: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a Cisco network technician. Learn about education and certification requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Cisco Network Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Cisco Network Technician Do?

A Cisco network technician holds an industry-standard certification that qualifies him or her to handle computer networks for businesses. They work as part of the information technology (IT) team within a business. Typical job duties include testing and maintaining a business's network system and troubleshooting Internet systems and local area networks, or LANs. When a problem occurs, they need to be able to work quickly to solve the issue, as many business operations require a functioning computer network. The following chart gives you an overview about entering this field.

Degree RequiredNone required, but an associate's or bachelor's degree preferred by some employers
Training Required Recommended Cisco-approved training program
Certification CCENT is the entry-level certification, preceding a CCNA and/or CCDA
Key ResponsibilitiesMaintaining and repairing networks, working with switches and routers, configuring servers
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (for all computer network support specialists)*
Median Salary (2015) $62,250 (for all computer network support specialists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT)?

A CCENT certification is an entry-level certification offered by Cisco. CCENT certification precedes the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) certifications. If you earn a CCENT certification, you are qualified to design and install small networks for enterprises as well as handle any problems that might arise.

This certification has no prerequisites and shows that you a proficient in fundamental networking concepts, network security, wireless networks, wide area networks (WAN) and routing. Because this is an entry-level certification, it typically qualifies you for entry-level or support jobs. The following are job duties you might have as a network technician:

  • Maintaining and repairing basic electronics
  • Navigating and incorporating Microsoft products into networking systems
  • Solving networking problems quickly and on the fly
  • Working with specific types of switches, such as 5ESS and DMS switches
  • Configuring servers
  • Resolving infrastructure issues

Do I Need a Degree To Get a Job?

While you do not need a degree to sit for the CCENT certification exam, and while some employers do not require a degree, others may ask that you have an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer science. Associate's degrees in computer science can be completed in 1-2 years, while a bachelor's degree can commonly be finished in four. Degrees at both levels offer training in other general areas of education, and bachelor's degrees may offer training in other technical areas related to computer science.

Additionally, CCENT preparation programs are available, usually through colleges and universities. Some award a certificate upon completion. These programs usually cover the areas of the CCENT exam, including web site fundamentals, technical support, software support and network management.

How Is the Job Outlook and Pay?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment for computer network support specialists is expected to increase 8% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that computer network support specialists earned a median annual salary of $62,250 as of May 2015.

What Are Some Alternative Related Careers?

Companies that sell computer technology and devices will often hire computer user support specialists. Instead of working on an internal system, these support specialists assist customers with questions and problems. They might also perform repairs themselves.

Some businesses also hire a network and computer systems administrator. These professionals might be in charge of a team of technicians that ensure functionality of the computer networks on a daily basis. They also make decisions in relation to expanding the network's capacity or upgrading computer hardware and/or software to continue to meet the business's needs.

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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