Students who are interested in bachelor's-level studies of networking can pursue a BS in Network Administration, Network Technologies, Network Security, or Computer Networking; networking can also be found as a concentration area within information technology (IT) programs. In these programs, students learn the fundamentals of computer technology, including network design, installation, analysis, and maintenance. Prior to graduation, students may be required to complete a capstone course in which they design and configure a network.
Most programs take four years to complete. In order to apply, prospective students must have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
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Bachelor's Degree Programs in Networking
Networking programs generally require a number of general IT courses, in addition to networking-specific courses and hands-on experience. Students learn to enable Internet services, design LAN or WAN systems, enable network security, and work with wireless networks. Course topics in a networking bachelor's degree program may include:
- Security convergence
- Control systems
- Network technologies
- Data structures
- Telecommunications routing
Popular Career Options
Because computer networks are increasingly used and relied upon in today's economy, workers who can manage and support these networking systems are valuable in many settings. Career opportunities may be available in computer systems design companies, business management organizations, government agencies, and insurance providers. Possible job titles for graduates include:
- Computer network administrator
- Systems administrator
- Database administrator
- Network security analysts
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected 8% job growth for network and computer systems administrators from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). In May 2015, these professionals earned a median wage of $77,810 annually. The BLS also predicts that database administrators will have 11% job growth from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations. The May 2015 median annual pay for these administrators was $81,710.
From 2014-2024, information security analysts should expect to see 18% job growth, while computer network architects are expected to see 9% job growth during that time. In May 2015, the median annual pay for information security analysts was $90,120, while computer network architects received a median annual salary of $100,240.
Continuing Education Information
The field of computer technology is constantly evolving, so professionals in this field need to stay current with software and hardware advancements. Some graduates prefer to continue their education in computer networking at the master's degree level. Master of Business Administration programs that examine database management, marketing, and systems management are also available. Software-specific certifications are also available, such as the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Server Administrator credential, which may enhance job opportunities, according to the BLS.
No matter which networking-related BS you choose to pursue, it can prepare you for administrative work in the information technology field or graduate-level studies in computer-related subjects.