These programs can be found under a variety of names at the certificate and associate's degree levels, including internetworking, electrical engineering technology with a concentration in internetworking, and internetworking and computer technologies. Many of these programs are designed to prepare students for the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) industry certification.
Bachelor's degrees that cover internetworking skills may have program names like network administration security or information technology with a concentration in network design. These programs offer hands-on training in network design, programming languages and system administration. Bachelor's degree programs related to internetworking engineering may prepare students for additional industry certifications, such as those by Cisco, Microsoft and CompTIA.
Certificate in Internetworking
The Internet is one of the most predominant examples of internetworking, which is the practice of connecting multiple networks. Certificates in internetworking prepare students to tackle the complexity of installing and managing a secure and reliable group of networks. Students learn about the various technologies, protocols and equipment used to integrate groups of networks; coursework addresses local area networks (LANs), intranets, implementation issues and concepts in network architecture. Learners gain skills in electrical signals, line coding and the theory of data communications for internetworking environments. Some certificate programs do not require that applicants submit educational transcripts during the admission process.
Students develop the skills required to design and install a complex body of networks through training that educates them in theoretical and practical knowledge of data communication, routing protocols and security. Programs may include the following courses:
- Network architecture and data communication
- Accessing wide area networks (WANs)
- Networking fundamentals
- LAN switching and wireless
- Applied computer networking
Associate's Degree in Computer and Internetworking Technologies
The associate's degree in computer and internetworking technologies provides a broad approach to learning the fundamentals of electronics combined with focused studies in networking. Students learn how to operate and administer web server environments and networking fundamentals specific to popular operating systems. Learners review concepts in network security, LANs and fiber optics.
The associate's degree program requires that applicants possess a high school diploma or GED. Some schools require placement testing in reading, math and writing skills.
Students gain knowledge in networking principles, WAN access and operating systems. Programs also provide elective coursework, which allows students to choose topics that meet their professional goals. Following are courses a program may offer:
- Internet telephony
- Computer maintenance and upgrading
- Local area network switching
- Linux system administration
- Network security management
- Computer or Internet forensics
Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
The Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program offers hands-on experience in networking topics and a foundation in business processes. Applicants to the program may specialize in network design or administration. Students gain knowledge of networking server administration, network design, system administration and information security. Learners gain skills in programming languages, technical writing and organizational behavior. Graduates of the program may obtain work in a number of network analyst, administrator or architect roles.
Bachelor's degree programs require that applicants possess a high school diploma. Some programs necessitate the completion of an associate's degree in network administration or related coursework. Applicants may also need upper-level networking, programming, operating system or information security courses and verification of information technology work experience.
Students acquire a breadth of knowledge in foundation, core and elective networking courses. Some programs require the completion of a capstone, which is an active-learning project. Programs may offer the following courses:
- Network design and management
- Fundamentals of security
- Configuring applications infrastructure
- Fundamentals of routers
- Hacking countermeasures
Popular Career Options
The different technologies and roles within the information technology industry make a variety of career options available. An internetworking certificate can lead to entry-level support roles in managing, designing, maintaining and troubleshooting networks. Following is a brief sample of possible job titles:
- Cabling installer
- Information systems support associate
- Hardware support technician
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates of associate's degree programs can pursue entry-level job opportunities in telecommunications, education or finance. Graduates may enter the field as computer support specialists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that demand for computer support specialists--including help-desk and technical support technicians--was estimated to be much faster than average at 8%, from 2019-2029 (www.bls.gov). In 2020, computer user support specialists reported median annual earnings of $52,690.
Continuing Education and Certification Options
The rapid advancement of networking technologies necessitates current knowledge and skills. Cisco certification, a standard networking industry credential, validates the theoretical and practical knowledge a certification applicant holds. Cisco defines the requirements to keep certification valid, which involves continuing education coursework explicitly relevant to the credential a specialist holds.
Some programs incorporate the curriculum with preparation for standard networking certifications. For example, Cisco, Microsoft and CompTIA each offer networking, security and operating system credentials, and a bachelor's degree program provides the essential knowledge required to obtain certification.
Students enrolled in internetworking engineering programs learn the skills necessary to manage computer networks, servers and systems. They may pursue their education in certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree programs.