Careers in Computer Technology and Networking

If you are a self-proclaimed computer buff and seriously considering a career in information technology, you’ll be happy to learn that there are several choices in front of you. No industry remains impervious to technology in this day and age. From banking to media, healthcare to manufacturing, all sectors use computer technology for most of their day-to day-functions-so it seems like the need for qualified and trained IT professionals is here to stay.

However, there is intense competition for IT jobs. Given the competitive landscape of this industry, the sooner you start planning your career, the better your chances of landing the job that suits your interests and skills. Following are a few careers in computer technology and networking to consider.

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists, also known as technical support specialists, are the “fix-it” people of an organization. They are the warriors on call who figure out the cause of and then fix any hardware or software breakdowns in an employee’s computer system.

Their role may require them to perform day-to-day maintenance of employee machines to ensure their optimal functioning, as well as provide support via email, chat, phone, or face-to-face. Computer support specialists are also called on to install computer systems, peripherals like printers and scanners, software programs, and applications for employees, as well as instruct the staff on how to use them.

The qualifications required for a support specialist career may differ among organizations. While some employers may be open to employing individuals with professional certifications and relevant experience, many only hire candidates who have a college education.

Having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a computer field may make it easier for candidates to get hired. A computer technology degree or other relevant program could help you enter this exciting career.

Network Administrators

Computer networking is defined as the communication between computer systems or devices that are connected to each other and capable of exchanging data. All organizations have a computer network, and all organizations need information to flow seamlessly through their system.

Network administrators are responsible for installing and providing ongoing support for an organization’s computer network, making sure the flow of information remains continuous.

The core job responsibilities include installing and maintaining Local Area Networks (LANs), Wide Area Networks (WANs), network hardware, and software; monitoring network performance; analyzing and troubleshooting problems; and ensuring the upkeep of an organization’s network security.

A computer networking degree may be the most suitable academic program to help candidates qualify for a network administration career. A bachelor’s degree is usually required, but you may be able to get your foot in the door with an associate’s degree and relevant certifications.

Network Architects or Engineers

While the titles may sometimes be used interchangeably, the job responsibilities of network engineers and network administrators differ in the level of responsibility and skills necessary, as well as in the educational requirements.

While network administrators are in charge of the day-to-day maintenance of an organization’s computer network, network engineers or architects are responsible for its overall design, management, and upgrades to speed and efficiency. Network engineers need a higher level of expertise than network administrators in order to meet their major responsibilities in analyzing, planning, and redesigning their organization’s networks, to keep pace with the company’s changing needs.

Typically a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as computer science, is required to land a role as a network architect, though some organizations may insist on a master’s degree as well.