Become a Computer Networking Administrator in 5 Steps
Do you enjoy working with computers and technology? Do you have a good mind for solving technical problems? Network administration is a growing, well-compensated career that might be to your liking. For more information on becoming a computer networking administrator continue reading. Schools offering Cisco Network Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is a Computer Networking Administrator?
A computer networking administrator is a technical specialist who sets up and maintains computer networks for businesses and other organizations. In this career, you're responsible for making sure that servers and PCs are functional and connected securely, the network operating system and applications are working together properly, users have adequate resources and the system is protected from intrusion. Other duties include monitoring and adjusting network performance; conferring with users about network problems and their computing needs; troubleshooting, locating and resolving problems; testing network hardware and software; and performing system backups.
Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma
You will need a high school diploma or a G.E.D. to enroll in any postsecondary program, but high school courses can also prepare you to study networking. Classes in algebra, physics and computer programming provide a base of general scientific and technical knowledge. Business courses may be helpful for understanding the information needs of organizations. In addition, some high schools offer networking courses.
Step 2: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Although educational requirements vary, most employers will prefer to hire you if you have a bachelor's degree. Degree program titles may refer to network administration, network security or information technology with a networking emphasis. Programs expand your specific knowledge of technology and develop your analytical, decision-making and problem solving skills. Courses cover such topics as network design, security, switches and routers, operating systems and enterprise services.
Step 3: Take Part in an Internship
An internship provides you the opportunity to observe and participate in the day-to-day work of computer network administrators and also establish future contacts. Network administration bachelor's degree programs may include an internship in their curriculum. If not, most schools maintain a list of organizations that hire interns through which you could arrange your own. If possible, you may want to work for an organization that is willing to hire you after graduation.
Step 4: Obtain Certification
Employers view certification very favorably and some require it. You have multiple certification options, but the CompTIA Network+, Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) and Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) are four of the most prominent.
As of July 2011, the CompTIA Network+ exam consisted of 100 multiple-choice questions. It tests your knowledge of network devices, topologies, tools, media and security. The CCNA exam tests your ability to install and manage medium-sized networks, including those with remote connections in a WAN. CCNA certification is valid for three years.
The MCSA consists of four separate exams and is intended for administrators of Windows Server 2003 and earlier operating systems. It covers network implementation, configuration, maintenance and management. The MCITP credential is available for Windows Server, Exchange Server, SQL Server, Project Server, SharePoint Server, Lync Server and their various iterations.
Step 5: Obtain a Job
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 333,210 people worked as computer networking administrators in 2010 (www.bls.gov). The BLS projected employment will increase to 418,400 by 2018. Ongoing adoption of information technology, especially mobile technology, by businesses will drive growth.
You have job prospects in nearly every sector of the economy, particularly with those that provide services. Any type of organization that maintains a computer network is a potential employer. Computer systems design firms, business management firms, government agencies, schools, telecommunications companies, insurance companies and financial firms are among the largest employers. As of May 2010, the median salary you could have expected to earn was $69,160.
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