How Do I Become a Network Engineering Technician?

Research what it takes to become a network engineering technician. Learn about education requirements, job duties, median salary, 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 Is a Network Engineering Technician?

Network engineering technicians keep computer network systems running smoothly. Under a manager's direction, they perform maintenance and troubleshooting tasks for a company's computers, keeping them up to date and working with the latest upgrades. They also train users on how to use necessary technology for their jobs. These professionals need a high degree of computer knowledge and the ability to work with teams of others like them, as well as thorough analytical thinking skills to accurately diagnose computer problems. See the table below for a brief overview of some career facts for network engineering technicians.

Degree Required Associate's or bachelor's
Education Field of Study Computer network technology or information systems
Certification Varies upon software used
Key Responsibilities Configure hardware, install software, and provide troubleshooting support
Job Growth (2014-2024)*8% (computer network support specialists)
Median Salary (2015)* $62,250 (computer network support specialists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties for Network Engineering Technicians

As a network engineering technician, i.e. computer network support specialist, you'll work under the supervision of a manager, while implementing and maintaining an organization's computer networking systems and related software programs. You may configure hardware, install software, and provide troubleshooting support. You may also train users on operating systems and software applications, work with vendors to update applications, and ensure the stability of a network's infrastructure.

According to March 2011 job postings on Monster.com, network engineering technicians typically need experience with WAN and LAN technologies, TCP/IP, VOIP, firewalls, Windows operating systems, terminal servers, routers, and switches. Many of these topics are covered in certificate or degree programs in network engineering or computer science. It's also important to have excellent customer service and problem-solving skills - network engineering technicians often work with a variety of people within their organization.

What Educational Credentials Do I Need?

Most positions require a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, such as computer network technology or information systems. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that an associate's degree and professional experience, along with certification, may be sufficient for some jobs (www.bls.gov).

Common certification options include the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) credential. In order to earn the MCSE certification, you'll need to pass a series of seven exams offered by Microsoft. You can earn the CCNA credential by completing a 2-part test. While many certifications are voluntary, the BLS notes that some employers may expect job applicants to be certified.

What Is My Career Outlook?

According to the BLS, the number of employed computer network support specialists was expected to grow by 8% between 2014 and 2024. Employment growth during this time was attributed to an increase in the need for experts in the installation and repair of complex computer systems and software programs. In 2015, the BLS reported that computer network support specialists earned a median salary of $62,250.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Web developers create websites for their employers, merging functionality with visual appeal to clearly state information and draw in visitors. Professionals in this position usually have an associate's degree at minimum. Computer programmers work with code, writing and editing scripts to create applications and software. Database administrators encrypt a company's online documents to keep them safe from intruders, ensuring only authorized personnel can access them. These two careers typically mandate a bachelor's education.

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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