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How to Become an Internet Specialist: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become an internet specialist. Research the education requirements, training and experience you will need to start a career as an internet specialist.

Should I Become An Internet Specialist?

Internet specialists provide technical support for clients using web services. Job responsibilities may include setting up and maintaining websites, assisting in web design, creating code and selecting delivery formats. Internet specialists typically spend many hours seated, working in front of computers.

Career Requirements

To get started in this career, an associate's or bachelor's degree is typically required in a field like computer science, information science or graphic design. The experience that you might need varies by position and optional certification available through professional associations, like CompTIA. The key skills that internet specialists need include creativity and imagination; knowledge of scripting languages, such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS and PHP; interpersonal skills; listening skills; problem-solving skills; speaking skills; writing skills; and analytical skills. Foreign language is desirable for some positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 the median annual wages for web developers were $64,970.

Career Steps

So what are the steps to becoming an internet specialist?

Step 1: Earn a Formal Degree

Most employers prefer to hire internet specialists with a bachelor's degree although an associate's degree and experience may also be accepted. Coursework examines concepts in programming, computer organization, web design, web graphics, scripting technologies and web animation. Students learn to create scripts or code, evaluate or debug code, develop actual working web pages, perform web maintenance and design user interfaces.

To improve your chances for success, consider an internship. Since most employers require on-the-job experience, students can gain training in the field by taking advantage of internship opportunities. Many companies offer college students internship opportunities that may provide increased technical skills and an opportunity to build a professional portfolio.

You might also want to explore several different scripting languages. Employers require web specialists to have extensive knowledge of several different scripting languages. Students may want to use elective courses to gain knowledge in several different scripting languages, such as PHP and C+.

Another tip that can help you succeed in this field is to develop your communication skills. Since internet specialists may be required to coordinate with employers or companies about web design, aspiring specialists need to have strong verbal and written communication skills. Take advantage of communication classes that may be offered as part of general education.

Step 2: Find an Entry-Level Position

Entry-level internet specialists may work in a wide variety of industries. Today, almost every successful company, and many individuals, have a professional web presence. The internet specialist may be employed in education, information, insurance, finance or numerous other fields. Regardless of educational levels, internet specialists typically receive some on-the-job training which will vary according to employer needs. Typical duties may include web content management, data collection, and web traffic analysis.

New hires may assist with designing, building and troubleshooting web pages and user interfaces. Entry-level employees may also perform some administrative, clerical and customer service functions, such as fielding technical inquiries, assisting customers over the phone and recording information in databases.

Step 3: Advance Your Career With Certification

It is not always required, but certification can help establish your expertise in web design, web security, search engine optimization or many other specialized fields. Look for established, recognized certifications that employers value.

Internet specialists working in security or support can consider CompTIA certifications, such as Security +, which tests an internet specialists' skill in system security, cryptography and network infrastructure. Internet specialists can also earn certification in specific web languages, such as Java Script. The Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) credential demonstrates your competence in server administration and website construction.

To recap, with an undergrad degree, on-the-job training and possibly certifications, internet specialists can earn about $65,000 a year to provide technical support to clients using web services, including setting up and maintaining websites and design web pages.

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