How Do I Become a Computer Network Technician?

Research what it takes to become a computer network technician. Learn about the education, training and skills required to be a computer network technician, along with career outlook and salary information, 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 Is a Computer Network Technician?

In a business environment, computer network technicians maintain the computer networks that are the crucial link between company machines. This work allows employees access to company information, communications and financial data. Network technicians are primarily responsible for installing and maintaining networking hardware and software. They also help employees and customers troubleshoot network issues. More information on this career can be found in the following table:

Degree Required Associate degree (minimum), bachelor's degree may be preferred
Education Field of Study Computer networking technology, computer science
Key Skills Analytical, communication, multitasking, problem-solving
Certification CompTIA A+ & Network+ certifications
Job Growth (2014-24) 8% for computer network support specialists*
Median Salary (2015) $62,250 for computer network support specialists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Learn About What Computer Networking Entails

Computer network technicians install, troubleshoot, repair and maintain networks of computers. Computer networks consist of connections between multiple computers that allow for shared information and data access. While considering a career in this field, you may be interested about the basic types and structures of networks you could work on.

You may work for private corporations or government agencies. You'll maintain the efficient operations of computer networks, which could include local area networks and wide area networks, as well Internet and intranet connections. In addition to basic maintenance and installation duties, you'll monitor and install available system upgrades. You may also work with information-security personnel to maintain the safety of information stored on company networks, particularly those with online access.

What Kind of Degree Will I Need?

While education requirements vary by employer, you'll need a degree, on-the-job training or both to become a computer network technician. An associate's degree program in computer networking technology or a bachelor's degree program in computer science will teach you about the basic tenets of common network-operating systems and the hardware required to use them. You may also learn programming and administration skills for popular systems like Unix, Linux and Windows. Other relevant topics often covered in these programs may include technical communications, network security, data structures and wireless networking.

Will I Need Certification?

Once you've completed training, you can begin working as an entry-level computer network technician or network support technician. Nonetheless, you may want to enhance your viability in the job market by earning professional certification. For example, earning network certification from The Computing Technology Industry Association, better known as CompTIA, validates your skills in network setup, maintenance and repair. Having the CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications can demonstrate your proficiency in network configuring. Earning certification and gaining experience are especially important if you don't hold a degree.

What Will My Career Prospects Look Like?

According to the BLS, the median salary for all computer network support specialists was $62,250 as of 2015. Most of these professionals earned between $36,350 and $106,310 per year. Experience and success as a computer network technician may lead to salary increases, career advancement or both. Having job experience can also lead you to a promotion as network administrator.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Like computer network technicians, being a web developer also requires an associate's degree. As a web developer you would be responsible for the design and user interface of websites, as well as making changes and improvements to the functionality and performance of a website's bandwidth. You might also consider becoming a computer and network systems administrator. These professionals supervise other employees and manage system installations or other network operations. The position requires entry-level education of a bachelor's degree, with certifications often being valued by employers.

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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