The most common program pursued by those interested in becoming NOC technicians is a four-year computer science bachelor's degree. The curriculum includes core classes that teach students to recognize and troubleshoot a variety of networking errors and related issues. General education requirements also allow students to develop their communications skills so they are prepared to interact with clients in a variety of customer service situations. Students need only a high school diploma or GED to enroll. Although there are no licensure requirements for NOC technicians, graduates can become certified in specific programming languages or networking systems after graduation.
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
A bachelor's degree program in computer science covers a broad spectrum of computer-based concepts. Students study programming, design, network administration, and computer security. Much of the coursework is based on computer algorithms, theories, and information technology. Programs include courses on:
- Computer programming
- Principles of data structures
- Computer and network algorithms
- Computer science research and development
- Database applications
- Network security
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of network and computer systems administrators is expected to grow 8% from 2014 to 2024. These professionals, as of May 2015, make a median wage of $77,810 per year, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
NOC technicians are not required to be licensed or certified. However, NOC technicians with voluntary certification in specific areas of computer programming or networking often have better career prospects. NOC technicians can obtain Cisco Career Certification or Microsoft SQL Server Certification to boost employment opportunities.
Cisco Systems offers five levels of information technology certification. The levels consist of entry-level, associate, professional, expert, and architect certification. NOC technicians can be certified in routing and switching, network design, network security, storage networking, and wireless systems. Microsoft offers a variety of certifications for information technology professionals, including Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certification and Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification.
To advance to higher tiers, NOC technicians must build their skill sets and relevant job experience. The Network and Systems Professional Association (NaSPA) holds yearly conferences and monthly training seminars that are occasionally recorded and posted online (www.naspa.org). Conferences and workshops feature guest speakers in network management and discuss topics such as network security, software and programming certification, network reliability, virtualization of information, and data management.
Technicians can also pursue advanced degrees in computer science and engineering in order to obtain higher-paying networking career opportunities. Additionally, NOC technicians can join NaSPA, which provides career and networking opportunities for professionals in the fields of network management and administration. NaSPA also offers members an online newsletter and two published magazines that provide industry information.
NOC technician training is usually found in the form of a bachelor's degree in computer science, a field that often teaches the fundamentals of network operations as part of its curriculum. In order to expand their skills, students will often receive several professional, voluntary certifications and/or pursue higher level degrees.