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Is a Networking Technology Degree Worth It?

IT professional looking at a tablet while working on a network problem.

When considering your career path, it is normal to wonder if the investment in a degree is worth it. Most of the time, the answer is yes. A degree provides new opportunities and opens doors, as is the case with a computer networking technology degree. A two-year associate degree might qualify you for higher pay and potentially better career opportunities. What more should you know about getting a computer networking degree?

What is Computer Networking?

Someone who works in computer networking focuses on the delicate strand that connects various independent devices. A computer network connects your laptop to your iPad to your smartphone. It is a system of interconnected nodes that transmit and exchange information between these devices.

Someone working in this profession would have the expertise to administer, configure, repair, and improve a computer network. While you could learn these things without going to school and earning a degree, it would take longer with a lot of hits and misses. This is a fluid industry, so by the time you have that expertise, you would need to update your knowledge to stay current.

The Benefits of a Network Technology Degree

Network technology is a fast-paced industry that is always expanding, changing and innovating. Earning a degree is the first step in learning how to design, maintain and repair devices connected to the network and manage the network itself.

Flexibility

The growing need for experts in computer networking has schools offering very flexible programs. You can study online or go to in-person classes. Students, both online and in person, generally have the opportunity to work in simulation labs, as well, for hands-on experience.

Keep Up with Technology Trends

A degree program will also give you more experience with current technology. Learning on the job is somewhat limited, and if you work for the same company, you may not see new technology until they update their network. A degree provides a foundation that lets you explore all options and resources to keep learning.

Learn Technical Skills

Computer networking is a complex field that requires many technical skills. Going to school helps you develop your analytical skills as well as communication abilities. You will also learn the importance of being able to multi-task and delegate when necessary.

Ultimately, computer networking requires the ability to solve problems. You must be able to see where breaks occur in wide area networks, know how to ensure they remain secure and discover ways to put out other kinds of networking fires.

Develop Interpersonal Skills

Computer network specialists must work successfully in groups, which necessitates interpersonal skills. To be regarded as a valued team member or leader, you must be able to grasp others’ perspectives and clearly articulate your thoughts and directions. You won't gain credit for your brilliant ideas, much alone your abilities, if you can't make yourself heard and help the team as a whole.

Hands-On Practice

Earning a degree allows you to work on the latest technology in person. Anyone can read about the newest technological breakthroughs, but until you work on them, you don’t know them. This ensures you are ready to sit for industry exams and pursue entry-level positions with leading technology influencers.

Prepares You for Industry Certification Exams

In network technology, there are three primary exams you can sit for:

  • CompTIA A+
  • Security+
  • Network+

Earning your associate degree prepares you to take any one or all three of these critical industry certification exams. Many large employers will require them for even an entry-level position.

What To Expect from a Network Technology Degree?

This program will teach students how to install, set up, secure, administer, and troubleshoot network systems. A greater emphasis is on network hardware components and acquiring hands-on expertise with current voice and data networks. Students participate in simulation laboratories that follow current trends and practices in the sector.

Some basic courses include:

  • Workplace Mathematics
  • Cloud Computing
  • Networking with the Windows Network Operating System
  • Wireless Networks
  • Networking with UNIX/LINUX

An associate degree in networking technology from an accredited institution, such a Bryant & Stratton College, requires around 39 credit hours and should take a full-time student about two years to complete.

What Can You Do with a Network Technology Degree?

What career options does a networking technology degree offer? Networking Technology associate degree holders may find employment as network administrators, IT coordinators, or network technicians. They may give technical assistance to businesses in a variety of industries, including banking, medicine, and government.

What Is a Network Administrator?

A network administrator is an information technology specialist who ensures that an organization's computer networks are operational and meet the company's needs. They can manage and troubleshoot computer networks and use security concepts to keep networks safe.

They typically install, configure and maintain the network's hardware and software, including firewalls, routers and switches. They also protect the network's security by setting up barriers that keep unauthorized users out.

What Is an IT Coordinator?

An IT coordinator is the backbone of the company's IT department and computer network team. They troubleshoot hardware issues and network systems. They may handle end-user training and work with other professionals to secure the network.

They may also maintain website domains, recover damaged data and purchase new equipment, if necessary. Their job is to connect the various devices in a way that is safe, efficient and effective.

What Is a Network Technician?

A network technician is responsible for diagnosing software issues and putting in place, maintaining, diagnosing, and repairing computer and network systems. They also set up internet connections and build and link various sorts of networks.

The job duties of a network technician will vary, but they involve the day-to-day workings of the network along with problem-solving. They can work as a member of a larger team or be the sole professional resource for smaller businesses.

Who Should Get a Computer Networking Degree?

The role of a computer networking professional is perfect for someone who enjoys both technology and problem-solving. You should be interested in the latest innovations in the field and work well both in a team and on your own.

Computer networking professionals collaborate with network engineers, equipment vendors, and other members of an organization's IT team to guarantee that the network demands of customers and employees are met. They can also work on their own to fix a network problem or restructure an organization's computer and information infrastructure.

Start Your Journey Today

A degree in network technology also gives you room to grow. The Bryant & Stratton College program is a two-year course of study to earn an Associate of Applied Arts in Networking Technology. From there, you can further your studies and get a bachelor’s degree to qualify for even more technology jobs.

Find out more about the network technology program at Bryant & Stratton College by contacting us today.

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