How Can I Learn Computer Network Design?

If you're interested in providing a valuable technical service to businesses and organizations, you can learn to design computer networks through formal education and work experience. Read on to learn about your degree options and employment prospects in this field. Schools offering Cisco Network Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Computer Network Design Overview

Computers and devices that are connected via communication channels are considered to be a computer network. There are two types of computer networks normally used. Local area networks are directly connected to each other or a central hub to create interconnectivity. Wide area networks are normally in a larger area and have a wireless format with passwords being necessary to access them and exchange data.

If you work in computer network design, you're in charge of setting up and ensuring that computer networks are functioning properly for a business or organization. Regular maintenance and updates are a must in this field to make sure information and resources can be properly accessed and shared on the computer network. To learn these skills, you can pursue formal education and find a job that gives you the opportunity to work with computer networks.

Important Facts About Computer Network Design

Degree Prerequisites Official transcripts from previous institutions and meeting with a counselor
Key Skills Detail-oriented, analytical, interpersonal, leadership, and organizational skills
Similar Occupations Computer programmers, software developers, computer hardware engineers, and database administrators
Continuing Education Obtaining vendor-specific certification is often required

Education

Like all careers and fields, education is a good starting point to learn about computer network design. While you're enrolled in high school, participate in computer classes and perform your own independent research about the field. You can also choose a post-secondary educational route, such as a certificate or degree program.

Associate Degrees

A community college or technical school can provide an associate's degree in computer network design. These programs may cover computer hardware and applications, network operating systems, network management, network administration, network security and servers. It's common to take classes that focus on a specific technology, such as Cisco networking, Windows Server and UNIX. You might also take classes that prepare you for a networking certification, or you might do a networking internship.

Bachelor's Degrees

At the college level, students can also pursue computer network design specializations or a major in computer science. A bachelor's degree is recommended for many careers. Coursework you'll be expected to complete includes web authoring, network design, wide area networks, operating systems, project management, information system management, databases, computer programming, systems analysis and design, networking security and systems architecture.

Master's Degrees

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in information systems is an advanced education option for aspiring network architects (www.bls.gov). These programs may cover data communications, database management, electronic commerce, security management, project management and systems analysis and design. You'd also learn about accounting, leadership, economics, business strategy and finance, among other business topics.

Work Experience

You can familiarize yourself with working in a computer environment in several work study jobs, externships, internships or entry-level positions. If you end up working for a fairly large business, you are expected to regularly travel to work sites and perform your computer networking design duties.

Network architect and network engineers are the ideal careers to receive computer network design training. These positions are focused on testing and setting up networks and data communication systems. You must also understand the different types of configuration, ranging from a local network to a global one.

Job Outlook and Salary

A computer network architect's job duties are most associated with the field of network design. According to the BLS, these professionals will have favorable job prospects and experience fast job growth of 9% between 2014 and 2024. Most earnings for network architects ranged between $55,160 and $150,460 as of May 2014, and the BLS reported a median annual wage of $98,430.

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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