Students pursuing a 4-year undergraduate networking and telecommunications degree gain an in-depth understanding of both the theoretical side of the equation and the technical side for local area networks (LANs), wide-area networks (WANs) and metropolitan area networks (MANs). Graduates will know how to design and implement systems as well as how to manage and support established systems. They may be versed in security, flow optimization, systems design or analysis or project design. To qualify for admission to a bachelor's degree program, students need a high school diploma or GED.
Master's degree programs in telecommunications management should be able to adapt the curriculum to the rapid changes and advancements that are taking place in the telecommunications field. By focusing on management practices, this program readies students to plan, design, operate and manage different types of networks, mobile communications and wireless networks. Master's degree graduates step into managerial positions and work as computer consultants, network specialists and analysts, senior programmers and database administrators. These programs typically take two years to complete and are commonly available online. Students should already have their bachelor's degree to qualify for admission.
Network and Telecommunications-Related Bachelor's Degrees
An undergraduate degree in this field will teach students everything from operating systems to networking theories and configurations. Some programs may also teach students to look at technology through a business lens, including business fundamentals, project management, communications or organizational theory. Some technical prerequisites may be required in addition to the standard application steps for admission; this degree can also be earned online.
In addition to some general education credits, core courses might include:
- Information security management
- Operating systems
- Software configurations
- Switching and wireless
- Routing fundamentals
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Master of Science in Information Technology - Telecommunications
The student who walks away with this master's degree will have both the technical training and knowledge of the policy, management and regulatory side of the industry, including networks, telecommunications and wireless communications. Strategic planning and financial management will also be covered.
A bachelor's degree is necessary for admission to a master's degree program. A technical undergraduate degree is most likely needed, but there is room within those parameters for several focus areas.
The core concentrates on information technology foundations, infrastructure, and project management, as well as systems analysis and financial analysis. Courses aimed at the telecommunications specialization address topics such as these:
- Structure and environment - networks
- Switching methods
- Internet security
- Fiber optics
- Telecommunications - wireless
- Securing information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that most computer and information systems managers progressively advance through leadership positions, starting out as lower level leaders and then working their way toward more responsibility within the IT department (www.bls.gov). Information technology workers' largest employers are business management companies, insurance and financial firms and government agencies. Wages of computer and information systems managers vary by specialty and level of responsibility. The median annual salary of these managers, as of May 2015, was $131,600.
A bachelor's may meet the requirements to sit for the CISCO Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) exam or pursue other advanced certifications. A related master's degree is another option. Some business training may also be helpful for individuals who hope to advance to a managerial role.
A master's degree could lead to a doctorate in a networking or telecommunications specialization. Examples would include a Ph.D. in Telecommunications and Networking. This degree will open doors to research and teaching opportunities.
Students interested in studying network communications management have many degree options at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. While degree names may vary by school, all of these programs typically include studies in networking, telecommunications and wireless communications, and business management.