Career Definition of a LAN Support Specialist
LAN support specialists, also known as computer network support specialists, are responsible for overseeing an organization's local area network (LAN). They commonly assume responsibility as well for the organization's WAN - wide area network - and web interfacing. LAN specialists work to maintain the organization's local area network infrastructure; their activities include support for firewalls, routers, switching equipment, and intrusion detection and prevention systems, known respectively as IDS and IPS. Support specialists are responsible for scheduling planned updates to hardware and software in the organization's LAN. They maintain the network's open systems connection which models how applications work over a network. LAN specialists work with network diagnostic tools such as OpenView, Cisco Works, and others to resolve any technical difficulties in the local area network.
Data security is a top concern in networks, and LAN support specialists work to minimize any possible security intrusions into the network that may compromise the network and the data it houses. Specialists work with both detection and prevention suites and tools to prevent network compromises or security breaches that can result from cyber-attacks. Support specialists analyze the local area network for data bottlenecks, as well as latency issues in data transfer. They implement solutions by replacing or upgrading hardware as well as software applications. LAN support specialists are also responsible for maintaining confidentiality issues by ensuring that HIPAA compliance is observed and maintained.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree; many organizations also require additional certification|
|Job Skills||Excellent problem-solving, expert knowledge of networks, expertise with network security tools, analytical skills|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$62,770 (computer network support specialists)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||8% (computer network support specialists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Although some LAN support specialists get hired with an associate's degree, many employers require a bachelor's degree. Typical fields of study include information science, engineering, and computer science. Additionally, they might require certifications, such as Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) or Security+CE (continuing education).
LAN support specialists should have expert knowledge of networks because they are responsible for installing necessary hardware and software upgrades to the local area network as well as installing, configuring, and maintaining firewalls, system routers, and cables. Security and confidentiality are crucial for network operation, and the LAN specialist must be well-versed in using system security tools targeted to prevent as well as detect possible outside network incursions; end-user confidentiality and how data is transmitted and used and disseminated requires that the specialist possess strong knowledge of HIPAA regulations to ensure network compliance. Because networks can experience negative effects due to latency and bottlenecks, support specialists need to have strong analytical skills to assess the network, identify these issues, and implement solutions.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the career outlook for computer network support specialists will be 8 percent. The BLS notes that this figure reflects an average growth between 2016-2026 compared to all other occupations. The median annual salary reported by the BLS in 2018 for computer network support specialists was $62,770.
The following articles explore occupations similar to that of a LAN support specialist. They include job descriptions, education requirements, median salary, and career outlook.