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Career Definition for a Data Communications Analyst
Also called network architects, data communications analysts design, test and manage communications systems such as local-area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (WAN's) - from two-office links to the global email systems of multinational corporations. These computer specialists model, analyze and plan networks; plan the installation of hardware such as routers, adapters, and fiber-optic cables; install software such as network drivers; research products and recommend hardware and software purchases. They also write instructions, show employees how to use equipment, gather data on user needs and keep current by reading technical manuals and communicating with vendors.
|Job Skills||Analytical, detail oriented, problem solving, reading comprehension|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$82,050 (all network and computer systems administrators)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||6% (all network and computer systems administrators)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
There is no general consensus on the best training for computer specialists, but most employers in this field look for workers with 4-year bachelor's degrees in computer science, information science or management information systems (MIS); the last is usually a business-school program emphasizing management and business communications. Broad survey classes examine networking technologies; more advanced courses hone in areas such as wireless networking, infrastructure and routers.
Data communications analysts need to be able to determine the causes of errors and select the tools needed to fix them, make informed decisions about costs and adapt technology to user needs. They have well-developed reading comprehension, logic and reasoning skills and are committed to ongoing learning.
Career and Economic Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), network and computer systems administrator jobs (which include data communication analysts) have projected job growth of 6% for the years 2016-2026. These workers made a median annual salary of $82,050 in 2018.
Alternate Career Options
Those pursuing an education in data communications are likely to find employment opportunities in computer system analysis and database administration.
Computer Systems Analyst
Usually having a bachelor's degree in information or computer science, these analysts study organizations' computer procedures and systems to look for ways they may operate even more efficiently. The BLS predicts jobs in this field will be plentiful, with a fast as average employment growth of 9% during the 2016-2026 decade. According to that same source, these analysts earned an annual median wage of $88,270 in 2017.
With work experience in a similar field and a bachelor's degree in subjects related to computers or information, database administrators, or DBAs, use software to organize and store data, while they make that information available to approved users and secure it from unauthorized users. As of May 2017, these administrators were paid a median salary of $87,020 per year, according to the BLS, and could look forward to faster than average job growth of 11% from 2016-2026.