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Computer networking professionals are in a great demand by most schools, private and government enterprises, as well as hospitals and businesses. The networking professionals work in maintaining, fixing, and upgrading computer networks, or help to set up a group of computer networks.

They make sure that all technical operations of a business function smoothly. Typically, computer-networking officials supervise both large-scale wide area networks (WAN) and local area networks (LAN) operations.

Previously one could obtain a degree in computer networking after undertaking a standard four-year study program from a recognized institution. However, in the recent times, since the need for computer professionals has increased, things have changed, and it does not take that long to qualify as a network engineer.

One should be aware of the fact that computer networking is a widely used term generally describing a large and diverse field associated with linking up various computers with wires and cables. So most educational institutions do not readily offer degrees in computer networking, but prefer to offer specialized degrees that teach specific parts of the computer networking field and profession. Some of the degrees offered are:

  • Computer Science
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Telecommunications or Telecommunications Management
  • Decision Information Sciences
  • Computer Information Sciences

Each of the above degrees have their own specialty, and require the students to understand and learn the basic networking skills allowing the students to choose from a wide range of career paths. Setting up and configuring routers and switches, installing wires and cables, carrying out network diagnostics, monitoring various networking activities and configuring various networking protocols as well as operating systems all are an important part of computer networking training. Having such basic skills can help the individual qualify for several types of jobs.

Computer Networking Careers Paths

Perhaps the main reason as to why people prefer to avail a degree in computer networking related fields is because of the wide variety of various career paths available. The job opportunities appear to be almost unlimited, and individuals are almost guaranteed to get a job once the required certification is obtained. The following are a few of the mainstream career paths for networkers:

  • Network Security Administrator: They maintain various security devices such as firewall, IDS, and VPN, and also play an important part in protecting digitalized information and data from illegal access and hackers.
  • Network Systems Analyst: The professionals help in designing and building specific systems and parts of computer networks. They generally specialize in areas like telecommunications, business, and financial systems.
  • Network Administrator: They provide every day support for all network users in a particular business or organization, and offer a variety of services. They ensure that all technical issues and important aspects of business operations run smoothly at all times.

Computer Networking Salaries

The pay scale is quite good for networking professionals, since their demand continues to grow rapidly. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual earnings of network and computer administrators were in the range of $61,180 in May 2006. Those working and associated with wired telecommunications enjoyed the highest earnings, while those doing jobs in public schools experienced the lowest.

Continuing Education

A great way to further enhance your career as a networking official is to obtain an IT certificate in a particular specialty. Certifications are increasingly in demand by employers working in the information technology industry. Availing a certification usually involves clearing long examination routines. There are several types of certifications for every types of computer networking. The two of the most popular and prestigious certifications are those offered by Microsoft and Cisco.

The Microsoft certification exhibits that the individual is well adept to work with Microsoft workstations, software, and servers. The same is applicable for Cisco certifications; Employers know for sure that certified job candidates who have availed certification from recognized institutions have the ability to perform all required tasks on hand. Its for this particular reason that employers generally hire certified job candidates over a non-certified job candidate. Its worth spending the time and effort to get the certification once the specialty area is chosen.

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