Distance-learning master's degree programs in networking technology are designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for a career in computer networking and telecommunications. These programs, available through many public and private universities, are usually created for professionals in the field looking to advance or enhance their qualifications. They may be offered fully online or in blended formats that combine distance learning with on-campus requirements. Graduate programs typically lead to a Master of Science in Networking Technology, although some schools offer a Master of Science in Computer Science or Information Technology with a specialization in networking.
Enrollment requires a bachelor's degree in computer networking, computer science or a related field. Students who have earned a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field may be required to take preparatory classes prior to beginning the master's degree curriculum. Prior to graduation, enrollees must fulfill an internship requirement or present a master's thesis.
Students receive lectures, assignments and other materials through an online classroom managed by their school. They can interact with classmates and instructors using chat rooms, discussion boards, video conferencing or group collaboration tools. Distance learners studying networking technology can complete all coursework online, but some programs require a research project or thesis that must be presented on campus in order to graduate. In some cases, students may have the option to instead choose an internship as their culminating experience.
Online master's programs in this field, which usually take around two years to complete, tend to have the same course requirements as those on campus. These programs can be completed totally online, with the possible exception of a culminating experience that requires on-campus visits. Students can expect to learn about wireless networking, cryptography, network security and broadband networks.
Computer Network Services
Students enrolled in this networking technology class learn to analyze computer networks. They are instructed in response time, protocol delay, Internet traffic, web services and network management.
Computer Network Fundamentals
This distance-learning course focuses on the engineering side of networking technology. Students research content distribution, routing, congestion control and multimedia networking quality.
Students embarking upon this networking technology online class review such topics as interfaces, modems, local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs) and optical networks. Upon successfully completing this class, students will understand competing architectures, protocols, technologies and service issues related to broadband networks.
Cryptography and Network Security
It is imperative for networking technology master's degree students to learn encryption methods to ensure the security of their computer networks. Students learn public-key cryptography, discrete logarithms, e-mail and website security, hash functions and cryptographic protocols.
Career Information for Graduates
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the area of networking administration is anticipated to grow 8% in the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). While some networking technology professionals are self-employed consultants, others find public or private sector positions, such as the following:
- Networking technology analyst
- Data communication analyst
- Database administrator
- Computer information research scientist
Experienced professionals in the information technology field can advance their prospects for career advancement by earning a master's degree in networking technology or a related subject. Online degree programs provide the scheduling flexibility that students need to get this degree while still working in the field.