Although it's possible to begin a career as a telecommunications specialist without a degree, postsecondary studies are typically required to enter this field. A degree in networking and telecommunications will qualify individuals to pursue work as telecommunications specialists. Other career options for those with a degree in networking and telecommunications include being a computer network architect or a network administrator; these professionals are required to have a bachelor's degree.
There are a lot of certificate and degree options for students looking to specialize in networking and telecommunications. Certificate programs typically require 18 credit hours of study, and offer courses like local area networks and computer operating systems. Students who get their associate's or bachelor's go on to study WAN theory and design, routes and routers and data communications. The more advanced degrees require students to write a thesis and choose a specialized track of study. Whether students want to become a network administrator or computer network architect, they must have a passion for technology in order to succeed.
|Career||Computer Network Architect||Telecommunications Specialist||Network Administrator|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree||Postsecondary non-degree award||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||9%||-4%||8%|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$103,100||$54,510||$82,200|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Networking and telecommunications degrees are designed to give students in-depth knowledge on computer and technology concepts. Below are overviews and descriptions of three possible career options for networking and telecommunications graduates.
Computer Network Architect
Computer network architects design and test local area networks, the Internet and other communications systems. They may also investigate computer hardware and software programs and recommend a specific one for a company's use. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015 these professionals earned a mean annual salary of $103,100. Job opportunities for computer network architects were expected to increase 9% between 2014 and 2024, which is a faster-than-average rate.
The BLS states that telecommunications specialists coordinate the installation and repair of telephone, cable television and Internet equipment. They may also maintain these systems and provide training to other individuals on their use. The BLS also reports that these individuals earned a mean annual salary of $54,510 as of May 2015. Employment for this career is expected to decline 4% between 2014 and 2024.
Network administrators manage an organization's local network and Internet system. They also monitor the network and Internet to ensure that these systems are available when needed and working properly. Network administrators may also design, plan and coordinate network hardware and software programs and oversee computer security. The BLS stated that in 2015, these professionals earned a mean annual salary of $82,200. The employment growth between 2014 and 2024 is expected to be 8%.
A degree in networking and telecommunications covers a range of information about computers and technology, and can prepare individuals to pursue careers creating or managing communication systems. A degree in this field can also lead to a career installing and repairing hardware used for communication systems. There are strong job prospects for those pursuing work as a network administrator or computer network architect; these career fields will enjoy job growth rates of 8% and 9%, respectively, from 2014 to 2024.