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The technology industry is booming and a promising avenue for students planning their careers. This guide highlights network administration, the types of skills a program provides graduates, and what careers a graduate can obtain after graduation.
Using this guide, you can identify the school and program that best matches your interests. You will also find potential career options, which can help you chart your educational path.
What Is Network Administration?
Network administration deals with the operations of interconnected computers, ensuring and maintaining the speed, safety, and security of all network communications. Though an overlap between network administration programs and information technology programs exists, a network administrator's in-depth knowledge of local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), and global area networks provides them with specialized skills.
Along with core courses in network architecture, security, and maintenance, network administration coursework includes web development, innovative technologies, and web communications. Most programs include courses in internet law, ethics, and policy, ensuring graduates understand industry limitations and allowances. Additionally, many network administration programs offer students the opportunity to specialize their degrees, offering concentrations and/or certifications in specific network and security technologies.
Analysts project jobs to grow as fast as the average career through 2026. As cloud computing improves network capacities and capabilities, analysts project a slowdown in traditional network administration positions. This change will increase the demand for network administrators trained in new network solutions. The pervasiveness of cloud services and networking will allow smaller organizations to explore networking options, creating favorable career conditions for network administrators.
What Can I Do with a Network Administration Online Bachelor's Degree?
A bachelor's degree in network administration opens many doors. Along with providing core skills and competencies, many network administration programs allow students to customize their training, which offers additional career options. The overlap in network administration programming with other information technology programs provides students with a broad and diverse education. The following list highlights several of the skills gained from network administration programs, plus some career options available to graduates.
Skills and Knowledge Gained
Though network administration programs focus primarily on network architecture, installation, and management skills, the best programs provide graduates with a diverse set of skills. Since administrators must secure and protect networks from internal and external breaches, programs provide skills in advanced security and detection. Within the technology industry, analysts project cybersecurity careers will grow at rates nearly four times faster than the average career.
Students also gain skills in analysis, which enable them to assess network efficiencies and anticipate potential network problems. Graduates learn to better understand organizational needs and apply their learning to a variety of industries. Most importantly, graduates learn the skills necessary to work with emerging technologies, putting them in high demand.
Additionally, many network administration programs offer degree concentrations or specializations, and concurrent or post-graduate certifications. For example, a security concentration might make government network administration positions more accessible, or a specific Cisco certification might make network administration positions more attainable. These optional specializations allow graduates to enter fields or professions the average network administration graduate cannot access. Internships or postgraduate work experience may also provide the same results for graduates looking to explore specialized career options.
While most network administration program graduates seek careers as network administrators, their career options expand beyond the technology industry. In fact, the business skills and advanced technical training received from network administration programs make graduates strong candidates for several non-technology fields and industries.
Careers and Salary Potential
Since traditional network administration programs focus on information technology training, graduates typically seek careers in the tech industry; however, other career options exist. The broad training in these programs prepares graduates for careers in business, market research, and manufacturing. This list includes some of the career opportunities available to network administration graduates outside of information technology. Please note some positions may require additional training and/or qualifications.
- Business: The business world seeks candidates who understand organizational needs and mechanics. Network administration programs provide graduates with core business training that allows them to work efficiently within this environment.
- Market Research: Market research occurs in every field, including the tech industry. Analysts and researchers examine the potential market need for a product or service. Network administration graduates have skills in analysis and network implementation, which prepares them to identify potential opportunities and pitfalls of products and services.
- Manufacturing: Manufacturing organizations require skilled technicians, and the advanced technical skills gained in a network administration program make graduates strong candidates for this industry. Network administration graduates see a product through from design to installation.
- Telecommunications: Most telecommunications organizations seek highly qualified professionals to design, install, and repair networks. Network administration degrees prepare graduates for these positions, providing them with technical training and technological expertise.
- Web Development: Though web development and network administration share the same industry, the fields differ dramatically. Still, the technical and computer skills acquired by network administration graduates prepare them for careers in web development. In fact, some network administration programs provide web development courses and programming as part of the curriculum or as concentration options.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators
Annual Median Salary : $81,100
Network administrators oversee an organization's network by maintaining, protecting, and repairing it. Network administrators also improve upon existing networks by determining opportunities for improvement and identifying elements to supplement them.
Computer Network Architects
Annual Median Salary : $104,650
Computer network architects design networks to improve the speed, safety, and security of an organization's communications. Architects first identify a business's needs and then design and build a network to satisfy those requirements.
Computer Systems Analysts
Annual Median Salary : $88,270
Computer systems analysts determine which computer or network systems an organization requires through research and testing. Analysts also assess how an organization can achieve optimal efficiency and may help integrate the system.
Information Security Analysts
Annual Median Salary : $95,510
Information security analysts ensure the protection, safety, and security of an organization's stored information. Analysts must plan for problems, creating alternate data storage and recovery options, and defending against potential infiltrations.
Computer Hardware Engineers
Annual Median Salary : $115,120
Computer hardware engineers design and create computer hardware to meet the needs of an organization. Engineers build hardware and components to work effectively with all other interconnected elements. Many engineers handle the complete process of hardware creation, first identifying the need, then building the hardware, and finally, testing the product.
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