Current information technology (IT) professionals who want to become network engineers or architects may consider pursuing a certificate in network engineering. Certificate programs in network engineering are usually designed for students or current IT professionals who have a solid understanding of computer systems, communications and web infrastructure. Students often learn in hands-on situations that take place within a computer laboratory. Courses and labs train on the specific types of hardware and software that are used in the networking field, teaching students the different uses for large- and small-scale devices.
Specialization options include Network+ certification and Cisco's Certified Network Associate. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, preferably in computer science or information systems. Networking or IT experience is also necessary. Some programs are available online.
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Certificate in Network Engineering
Graduate certificate programs in network engineering often contain courses that extend beyond classroom lectures on networking theory and developing technologies. Courses might cover networking security protocols, network engineering, optical networks and wireless technologies. Some other examples of course topics include:
- Network architecture and design
- Network communication hardware
- Network layer protocols
- LAN and WAN engineering
- The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model
- Advanced telecommunications
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that professionals in computer network architecture held about 146,600 jobs in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS further states that the network architect field should see faster than average employment growth, with an anticipated job increase of 9% between 2014-2024. Network architects earn a median annual salary of $100,240 as of May 2015, according to the BLS, with the top ten percent making more than $155,250 per year.
Network engineering certificate programs include computer lab sessions as well as lectures, and give students the opportunity to choose a specialization. These programs are designed for IT professionals or students with relevant knowledge and experience.