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.

Do I Want to Be 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 work hours seated in front of computers.

Job Requirements

The amount of education required to become an internet specialist may vary by employer. Some positions require a bachelor's degree, while others accept applicants who have completed an associate's degree. Regardless of education, most jobs require specialists to have solid knowledge of scripting languages. Optional certifications are available. The following table describes the core requirements for a career as an internet specialist.

Common Requirements
Degree Level Associate's or bachelor's degree *
Degree Field(s) Computer science, information science, graphic design**
Licensure and/or Certification Optional certification available through professional associations, such as CompTIA**
Experience 2 or more years of experience **
Key Skills Interpersonal skills, listening skills, problem-solving skills, speaking skills, writing skills, analytical skills*
Computer Skills Scripting languages, such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS, PHP, Coldfusion, SQL and AJAX, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office Suite**
Additional Requirements Some positions may require knowledge of a foreign language, such as Spanish**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Survey of job postings in October 2012

Step 1: Earn a Formal Education

According to October 2012 job postings, most employers prefer to hire internet specialists with a bachelor's degree; however, 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 code, develop workable web pages, perform web maintenance and design user interfaces.

Success Tip:

  • 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.
  • 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+.
  • 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 for a wide variety of different industries, including computer systems design, education, information, insurance, finance and communications. Regardless of educational levels, internet specialists typically receive some on-the-job training which may vary according to the employer. Typical duties may include web content management, data collection and web traffic analysis.

While training, 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: Gain Certification

Though not all employers require it, internet specialists may want to consider earning voluntary certification in the field. 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. Web design certification was also listed by employers in October 2012 job postings.

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