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What is Computer Networking?
Computer networking is the process related to information and data being exchanged within a network or between computer systems. The shared resources of a network provide ready-access to resources and information between authorized users to efficiently communicate and transact business.
Specialists in computer networking are responsible for the connectivity between computers often, though not limited to, business settings for the purposes of creating shared databases, ease of network activity, and the development of private internal systems to protect data and projects while allowing access to authorized persons. Individuals interested in this field are required to have a strong understanding of computers and network systems, including the software and hardware necessary to maintain such systems.
Online Degrees in Computer Networking
A variety of online and on-site degrees are available in computer networking from accredited colleges and universities. Programs are listed below by school or you can simply learn more about the degrees by requesting additional information from top colleges in computer networking. We have detailed out certificate programs through master’s degrees in computer networking to help you understand your options during your college decision making process.
Online Certificate Programs in Computer Networking
Certificate programs in computer networking online or in class will be found in two forms: graduate and undergraduate. The graduate certificate programs in computer networking are designed for professionals in the field to gain additional knowledge and skills to remain competitive, upskill, and/or prepare for a job transition of some nature. On the other hand, an undergraduate certificate in computer networking was created for beginners to learn about the foundational elements of the field. Online certificate programs in computer networking can last a few weeks up to two-years depending on the type of certificate and the number of courses taken at a given time.
Online Associate Degrees in Computer Networking
An online associate degree in computer networking can be conferred as an Associate of Science (AS) or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) depending on the design of the school’s program. Associate degrees are 2-year programs that combine liberal arts classes such as English, communications, and philosophy with core computer curricula to provide students with a set of holistic thinking skills. Core classes will help students understand and apply computing concepts in systems design, information flow, and network configuration.
Online Bachelor Degrees in Computer Networking
The online bachelor’s degree in computer networking can be conferred as either a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS). The bachelor’s degree is a 4-year program balancing general education courses with core computer networking classes. Core classes in computer networking may include: technical writing, information technology, computer programming, information technology security, information resource management, networking fundamentals, router & switch configuration, client/server technology, cloud computing, enterprise risk management, systems analysis, and operating systems.
Online Master’s Degrees in Computer Networking
Master’s degree programs in computer networking are 1-2 year programs designed for working professionals or graduate student’s familiar with the theories and concepts in computer networking. At the graduate level, students will typically be asked to select an area of specialization that can include: system design, system analysis, information security, network configuration, network management, network flow optimization, network configuration, or network control. The area of concentration will determine the classes you will take throughout the balance of your graduate program and help guide you through your thesis project.
Education and Schools
Individuals may pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree when considering an education in the field of computer networking. Education in other computer related fields may also be pursued, although a targeted education may prove more beneficial if individuals are specifically pursuing computer networking as a career. Individuals will be exposed to various software, hardware, computer languages, coding, as well as pertinent education in science and mathematics.
A curriculum may include:
- System Performance
- Coding and Language
- Network Hardware
- Troubleshooting and Service
- Network Software
Schools that have modern facilities are often preferable for individuals wishing to seek study in the field of computers. Schools known for their investment and upgrading of hardware and software have a vested interest in maintaining a current and relevant curriculum. Additionally, schools that offer certification in relevant software or hardware may also be desirable, particularly for those students seeking associate degrees and faster employment.
Schools Other Students Requested Information From:
Employment in this field is expected to increase over the next decade as the need for setup and maintenance of computer systems becomes more and more commonplace. Individuals will generally seek employment within a given company or as an employee for a company that specializes in networking services. Some individuals may choose to work as freelance or independent contractors, often taking on the need of smaller businesses.
What Jobs Can I Get with a Computer Networking Degree?
The type of job you will get after graduating from an accredited college or university with a computer networking degree will depend on a number of factors. Things driving your compensation will be job type, work experience, geographic location, job demand, organization type, and your effort. In an attempt to help prospective students understand the job market, we have assembled a short list of related jobs to provide a baseline of what you may be able to expect. The jobs selected are a computer network architect, computer systems administrator, database administrator, and a computer systems engineer.
Computer Network Architect
A computer network architect is responsible for designing, planning, testing, and building a variety of data communication networks including intranets, local area networks, and wide area networks. The annual median income for a computer network architect is $101,210 with the top 10% making $158,590 a year. The outlook for computer network architects is robust with a 9% growth expected in the industry translating to some 12,700 new jobs created in the coming decade. A computer network architect can be synonymous with the following job titles depending on the organization: Network Analyst, Systems Analyst, System Programmer, Telecommunications Analyst, Systems Engineer, Network Consultant, Network Engineer, Network Manager, Networking Systems & Distributed Systems Engineer, and Telecommunications Engineer.
Computer Systems Administrator
A computer systems administrator configures, installs, and maintains the network systems or segments of a network’s computing system environment. Responsibilities can include: network access for authorized users, data backups, troubleshooting, replacing devices, and overall maintenance of hardware, systems software, application software, and related configurations. The median annual income for a computer systems administrator is $79,700 with an expected job growth of 8% over the coming decade resulting in 79,400 job openings during that time.
Database Administrator (DBA)
A database administrator plies knowledge of database management systems to the testing, planning, and implementation of computer databases. In certain organizations, a database administrator may also champion the role of an information security specialist to ensure data has the proper safeguards in place. The mean annual income of a database administrator is $87,130 with a projected 11% growth rate which will add 13,400 jobs to the sector in the coming decade. A Database Administrator may also be known as: Data Architect, System Administrator, Database Administration Manager, Database Programmer, Information Systems Manager, Database Analyst, Database Coordinator, Database Developer, and Management Information Systems (MIS) Director.
Computer System Engineer
Computer systems engineers work to solve multifaceted network issues, system administration issues, and network applications that can include the operability, stability, scale, security, and portability of a system’s architecture. The annual median income for a computer system engineer is $86,510 with a steady job growth anticipated over the coming decade with an estimated 37,700 job openings during that timeframe.
Additional Resources in Computer Networking
Organizations such as the Network Professionals Association work to provide individuals in this field standards for systems and employment, noting advancements and changes in order to better serve the field as a whole. For additional information on a future in Computer Networking, check out our Guide for Computer Systems Analyst and Web Programmer Professions on our blog.