Degrees in CNST are commonly offered as an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science and are found at community colleges. Programs might have various related titles, such as information network security specialist, computer systems security or computer network specialist. Students need to earn approximately 62 credits in two years. Schools set their own admissions guidelines, but typically require students to have high school diplomas or GEDs. Alternative admissions processes may allow students without these credentials to take assessment tests in order to gain entry.
Associate's Degree in Computer Networking and Security Technology
Programs in computer networking and security technology encourage students to develop skills such as troubleshooting unique problems in Local Area Networks (LAN) and Wide Area Networks (WAN), running diagnostic tests on network equipment and setting up security systems. Students also examine the ethical and legal issues pertaining to the field and gain communication skills so they can effectively explain technical matters to an organization's staff. Course topics may include:
- Firewall management
- Operating systems
- Web development
- Network security design
Popular Career Options
Graduates of this degree program may go on to pursue careers as network systems and security professionals. They could seek employment with a variety of employers, such as computer systems firms and commercial equipment wholesalers. Although some employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree, some entry-level positions may be available for candidates with an associate's degree. Options may include:
- Operations and maintenance technician
- Computer support specialist
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings for computer support specialists were expected to increase by 12% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). More specifically, computer user support specialists should see an increase of 13% in job openings, while opportunities for computer network support specialists are projected to grow by 8%. As of May 2015, the median salary for computer user support specialists and computer network support specialists was $48,620 and $67,260, respectively.
Several bachelor's programs in relevant fields are widely available at colleges, universities and technical schools. Students take advanced coursework and acquire hands-on training that prepares them for more advanced positions in the industry.
Associate degree programs in CNST prepare students for entry-level careers such as in computer operations and maintenance or support through training in web development, network security design, and programming.