A computer networking associate's degree can prepare individuals for entry-level jobs as networking professionals in a variety of environments. This program typically takes two years to complete, and it is offered at community colleges and technical schools across the country, in both on-campus and online formats. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.
Associate of Computer Networking
Students enrolled in this program learn how computers transfer different kinds of data between each other and how to manage those procedures. Through lecture sessions and hands-on training, students study networking fundamentals, operating systems management, computer forensics and information technology. Students typically take course topics like:
- Computer concepts
- PC operating systems
- Network technologies
- Security concepts
- Server administration
Completing an associate's degree program can provide aspiring computer networking professionals with entry-level and some administrative employment opportunities, though positions of increased responsibility require higher levels of education. Possible career options for associate's degree holders include:
- Network administrator
- Computer systems administrator
- Computer support specialist
- Security specialist
- Network designers
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, network administrators are projected to see 5% job growth from 2018-2028, which is about as fast as the national average. The BLS also reported the mean annual wage for these workers was $87,070 in May 2018.
Continuing Education Information
Although network and computer systems administrators may be hired with associate's degrees, employers typically favor bachelor's degree graduates. Associate degree holders could transfer credits toward bachelor's degree programs in subjects like information systems, computer engineering, computer science or computer programming.
Certifications can help improve employment opportunities and demonstrate knowledge and expertise in the profession. Computer hardware and software vendors often offer certifications when businesses use their products. Graduates of computer networking programs are typically prepared for professional certifications such as CompTIA Network+, Security+, CISA (Certified Information System Auditor) and CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional).
To summarize, associate's degree programs in computer networking provide a general introduction to the field of IT, providing graduates with the technical skills they need for entry-level positions in the field. To advance within the field, graduates will need to enroll in bachelor's degree programs or demonstrate their expertise through professional certifications.