Network Technician Jobs: Career and Salary Facts
Network technicians install and maintain computer networks for various kinds of businesses or organizations. Read on to learn what the job duties are. See the education requirements, certification options and potential salary for this career.
What Is a Network Technician?
Network technicians may be the I.T. guys who show up to check on network security, back up data or train new users on the network. Network technicians set up user access for groups or individuals. They are also in charge of reporting any security breaches of the network. Of course, they will use diagnostic tools to monitor the network for any problems and figure out the cause. Finally, they will keep good records documenting any support activity.
The chart below provides information on what you may need to get started in this field.
|Degree Required||Varies; ranges from an associate's to a bachelor's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Computer science; computer network technology|
|Key Responsibilities||Install, update and repair computer network systems|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||6% for computer network support specialists*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$62,770 for computer network support specialists*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Will My Job Duties be as a Network Technician?
As a computer network technician, you will be responsible for installing, configuring and repairing computer network systems. These systems include local area networks (LANs), and wide area networks (WANs). You might be responsible for connecting modems, computers, printers and other business office systems to the Internet.
When you start out to install a network system for a business, you will test out all current equipment and make suggestions for hardware and software updates. You will also update equipment such as fiber optic cables and routers. You will then install the equipment, test it for accuracy and monitor its performance.
What Education Will I Need?
A few different academic programs might prepare you to gain an entry-level position as a network technician. Some technical and community colleges offer certificate and associate's degree programs in computer network technology. Such programs will provide you with a basic understanding of electronic theory, operating systems, network administration, network infrastructure, wireless networking, network security and network technology.
You might consider earning a bachelor's degree in network technology if you are interested in advancing to a position as a network engineer or network architect. Such a 4-year program includes core courses related to networking technology while also covering basic business and general education concepts.
What Certifications are Available?
Different software and hardware vendors offer certifications for network technicians. For example, you might earn the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician designation from Cisco. To gain the certification, you must pass an examination proving that you know how to operate, install and troubleshoot a network. CompTIA is another company that offers certification for networking professionals.
What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?
The BLS reports that the median salary for all computer network support specialists was $62,770 as of May 2018.
According to PayScale.com, network technicians earned median salaries of around $47,000 per year as of November 2019. Network technicians with 5-9 years of experience earned about $21.39 per hour and professionals with more than 20 years of experience earned approximately $26.27 per hour.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Computer network architecture, database administration and computer hardware development can be considered alternative career choices that require a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Computer network architects design network systems, such as local area networks, for businesses, schools and government agencies. Database administrators must have the skills necessary to work with software programs designed to store data and maintain its security. Computer hardware engineers work in the research and development of technology products like routers, microprocessors and motherboards.