Career Definition for a Network Engineering Technician
Network engineering technicians work for private companies and government agencies, in education, cultural and healthcare settings and for consulting firms. Network engineering technicians configure and maintain computer networks on a variety of platforms running various software programs in order to maintain maximum security, efficiency and productivity. They troubleshoot computer networks in person, via telephone or by remote access, evaluate organizational needs versus available technologies and advise on upgrades and changes to the network. Network engineering technicians also manage system upgrades and repairs. They may work as employees or consultants, often against tight deadlines and in high-stress situations.
|Education||Associate degree in computer engineering available, bachelor's in computer science usually required|
|Job Skills||Detail orientation, problem solving, interpersonal skills|
|Median Salary (2018)||$109,020 for computer network architects|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)||6% for computer network architects|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Network engineering technicians usually earn an associate degree in computer engineering technology for entry-level jobs but most network engineering jobs require a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. In some cases, extensive on-the-job experience plus relevant certifications are sufficient. Network engineering technicians require networking and computer certifications like the A+, Linux+, MCSE, CNA, CCNA and more. Network engineering technicians study computers, operating systems, computer networks, network administration and math. A commitment to continuing education is vital because computer technology and network engineering is a rapidly evolving field. Network engineering technicians must keep up with new technologies, developments and certification opportunities.
Network engineering technicians must be detail-oriented and thorough problem-solvers. Network engineering technicians also need outstanding interpersonal skills because they usually work with fellow technicians, management and colleagues from other departments.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that computer network architects may see employment growth of 6% for 2016-2026. The BLS reported in 2018 that these architects made a median annual wage of $109,020.
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Here are some other choices for careers in computers and support:
Computer Hardware Engineer
For those interested in designing and testing computer system equipment, becoming a computer hardware engineer should be considered. Hardware engineers draft out plans for new systems, run performance tests on designs, modify and upgrade existing machines and control the manufacturing activities of new equipment.
A bachelor's degree in computer engineering is the minimum requirement for this occupation, but other related electronics or computer bachelor's degrees may be sufficient. A master's degree may be required for more complex positions. Employment growth of 5% is projected by the BLS between 2016 and 2026, and computer hardware engineers earned a median salary of $114,600, based on estimates from May of 2018.
Computer Systems Analyst
If analyzing and designing the computer equipment and processes for an organization sounds intriguing, consider a career in computer systems analysis. Analysts in this field gather information about the current computer infrastructure. Using this data, they recommend modifications or replacement of equipment, examine costs, supervise the installation and turn-up process, make technology choices, execute performance tests and create manuals and other instructional documentation.
To gain employment in this profession, a bachelor's degree in business or information technology is necessary, and some companies prefer applicants with an MBA in a related field of study. Computer systems analysts should see job opportunities increase by 9% from 2016-2026, according to BLS data. The BLS also reported that these computer professionals received $88,740 in median wages in 2018.