Are you a problem solver with robust communication skills and analytical ability? Are you comfortable committing to the constant learning that will be required in order to keep pace in a rapidly changing industry? If so, you may be interested in working in the challenging computer networking and telecommunications field.
Computer networking and telecommunications professionals support, monitor and maintain an organization's local and wide area networks. This requires significant experience or education and a willingness to work odd hours. While some professionals specialize in a single aspect of the field, such as server administration, others may choose to support a wide range of technologies.
Job titles in this field include networking support specialist, network administrator or engineer, telecommunications specialist and systems engineer. Many jobs require multitasking abilities and strong attention to detail. You may have greater success in this field if you are comfortable relaying technical concepts to nontechnical users. Typically, you're required to work both independently and in teams.
Computer networking is a growing field; the demand for network and computer systems administrators was expected to go up 23% from 2008-2018, while the need for network systems and data communications analysts may increase by 53% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Payscale.com reports that most network systems and data communication analysts earned $37,709-$80,353 in December of 2011.
Computer networking and telecommunication specialists typically pursue associate's or bachelor's degrees in information science or technology, computer science or management information systems. These programs typically include coursework covering programming, databases and computer networking. You may be qualified for some positions if you have relevant experience and one or more industry-related certifications.
Industry certifications that focus on a specific product are available from software and hardware vendors, while certifications covering a specific skill, such as networking, may be offered through computer associations. Vendors and associations offering certifications include Cisco, Microsoft and CompTIA.