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Allison Perkins

The Ins and Outs of an IT Networking Degree

Most industries depend on computers as a critical component of their operations.

For job seekers, that means there are a lot of different places you can find work in networking. How well you do, and how much you earn, however, is up to you.

Depending on the employer, the job titles and job descriptions for network and computer system administrators can be interchangeable.

The basic job titles for the industry, according to www.compnetworking.about.com are:

Network Administrator: Responsible for maintaining the company’s in-house network and troubleshooting problems.

Network (Systems) Engineer: Focuses on system upgrades.

Network (Service) Technician: May be the same or similar to an engineer job at some firms. Often travels to remote sites to perform field upgrades and service.

Network Programmer/ Analyst : Writes software programs

Network Systems Managers: Is the supervisor for all the other network jobs

The sweetest part of this career field may be that the median pay landed at $77,810, as reported by the United States Department of Labor.

But, what you earn in this field, depends on how hard you work. Technology changes not just by the day, but sometimes by the minute.

An associate’s degree may get your foot through the door, but many employers prefer their candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree, and more.

Daniel Butler, networking and security instructor at Bryant & Stratton said he recommends students earn an associate’s degree, at a minimum. And while a degree is helpful, he said, often holding a certification in the networking field is just as important as a degree.

Currently, Bryant & Stratton’s networking degree program is designed to help students prepare for, and pass, the Network+ certification test.

Network+ introduces users to many types of network technologies and is a favorite of entry-level workers. Companies like it to because, according to www.gocertify.com, it shows that the job candidate has the ability to deal with network infrastructure.

Once you win that first job, experts suggest keeping up with the technology if you want to be competitive for advancement and increases in pay.

“To move up the chain you are still going to be working on new certifications and on your next degree,” Butler said.

Butler earned a master’s in business, which has nothing to do with the IT world, but everything to do with winning a supervisor role.

“Having that degree has opened up more opportunities in my field,” he said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the highest paid network administrators, nearly 10 percent of the industry’s force, earned more than $124,000 a year. The bureau also reported that job growth in networking is expected to continue, especially as firms invest in newer, faster technology and mobile networks.

For networking professionals, Butler said there should be plenty of opportunities.

“I’ve traveled all over the world,” he said. “You could easily form a career out of many different facets of the business.”


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