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Computer Networking Technician: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for a computer networking technician. Get the facts about education requirements, job duties and salary to determine if this is the right career for you.

What Is a Computer Network Technician?

Businesses and agencies today utilize data and information all on a computer network attached to the internet. These computer systems need technicians whose sole job is to maintain those systems, keep them up to date from software to security. These experts may need to be proficient in several computer areas such as coding, data entry or security. Computer network technician's main responsibility depending on the employer's needs will be installing networks and maintaining those systems.

Network technicians are responsible for managing the computer resources of businesses and government entities. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Computer science; network administration; database administration
Key Responsibilities Develop, install, and repair computer systems
Job Growth (2018-2028) 5% for network and computer systems administrators*
Median Salary (2018) $82,050 for network and computer systems administrators*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Degree Do I Need to Be a Network Administrator?

Network technicians, also called network administrators, are typically required to have a bachelor's degree; however, you could also find employment with an associate's degree or professional certificate. Bachelor's degrees specifically in network administration are rare; they're more commonly offered in computer science with concentrations in network administration. Programs at all levels can be found on-campus and online, although distance learning programs may require you to purchase computer software or equipment.

What Will I Learn?

Courses in these programs combine hands-on and didactic instruction. You could study such areas as routers, database administration, systems security and wireless security. You could also learn about network design, local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), switching and digital forensics. Bachelor's degree programs may also include business and general education courses. The following are examples of classes you might find in the curriculum:

  • Router fundamentals
  • Visual Basic
  • Hacking countermeasures
  • SQL databases
  • Programming
  • Internet protocols
  • Exchange server administration
  • Linux operating systems
  • Security fundamentals

What Are the Job Responsibilities for Network Administrators?

Network administrators develop, implement and support computer systems. They might manage intranet, Internet, LAN and WAN systems for a variety of organizations, including businesses and government organizations. They also troubleshoot problems and ensure a positive, efficient user experience. They could be responsible for all components of a network, including its software and hardware. Additionally, network administrators may be responsible for upgrading old computer systems to newer ones or integrating new technology into old systems.

Will I Be Able to Get a Job?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment rate for network administrators was expected to rise at a rate of 5% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). The demand for network administrators will increase as the need for information security and demand for new mobile technologies increases.

What Is the Pay?

As of May 2018, network administrators' median annual salary was $82,050, reports the BLS. The middle 50% of workers in this field earned between $64,010 and $104,970. Most individuals were employed in computer systems design and business management roles, but the highest-paying industries for this profession included oil and gas extraction, securities and commodity exchanges, and insurance and employee benefit funds.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Data administration, software development, and computer network architecture are all related career choices for network technicians that require the minimum education of a bachelor's degree. Due to the technological importance of these jobs, employees need an expertise in analysis, coding, reports and programming. They need to become researchers and designers of network systems, and other communication networks. Another related career is in computer hardware engineering where research and development is vital on top of the testing of various technological products such as microprocessors, motherboards, routers and various touchscreen devices. This career also requires a bachelor's degree.