AAS in Network Operations or Network Administration programs train students to configure, install and maintain local and wide area computer networks (LAN/WAN) using such components as servers, workstations, switches and routers. Students can learn how to monitor and optimize network performance. Programs typically include studies in network security, troubleshooting, disaster recovery, data backup and wireless networks. Time is typically divided between the classroom and a networking lab where students gain experience administering actual networks. Programs are usually two years in length, though shorter programs may be available. Some programs require completion of math and writing prerequisites.
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Associate of Applied Science in Network Operations
Programs tend to include a mix of broad academic courses with core computer network subjects. Admission requirements for these programs typically include a high school diploma or GED, as well as passing placement exams. Topics of study typically include common network operating systems and software. Coursework typically includes the following:
- Computer architecture
- Server technology and administration
- Network security
- Database management systems
- Programming and scripting
Popular Career Options
Students acquire practical knowledge and skills necessary in organizations that use computer networks, which include businesses of all sizes and government agencies. Career titles for associate degree holders could include:
- Network administrator
- Security administrator
- Data communication analyst
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects network and computer systems administrator employment from 2014 through 2024 to increase at a rate of 12%, which is faster than the national average (www.bls.gov). Mean earnings for this profession in May 2015 were $82,200 annually. Computer network support specialists are expected to see 8% growth from 2014 to 2024. Computer network support specialists received mean annual earnings of $67,260 in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Programs typically prepare students to pass professional certification exams, such as the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT), the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) and the Network+ certification offered by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).
Related bachelor's degree programs in such subjects as network security or network administration are available. A bachelor's degree may be preferred by some employers and could be mandatory for some advanced positions, such as network architect or database administrator.
For students who are interested in occupations related to computer networking, earning an AAS in Network Operations or Network Administration is a great way to start. After finishing, graduates have the technological skills they need to get entry-level positions or to improve their employment prospects by earning professional certifications or a bachelor's degree.