Become a Network Technician

In 2013, the median annual salary for network technicians was $60,180. The median annual hourly wage was 29.93[vii]

Salary Potential if you become a network technician

In 2013, the median annual salary for network technicians was $60,180. The median annual hourly wage was 29.93[vii]

Have you always wondered what keeps computer networks running smoothly or how companies maintain a successful IT department?

Network technicians are responsible for evaluating, testing, and troubleshooting computer network systems, such as local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and internet systems.

With companies operating on such a sophisticated digital level, network technicians may play a particularly important role in organizations where networks must operate with as few interruptions as possible.  Do you want to become a network technician? Read on for information about duties, skill sets, and potential earnings.

Network Technician Job Description

A network technician is usually responsible for making sure that an organization’s networks are running smoothly, with minimal downtime. However, depending on the company, this job description could include a variety of additional duties.

If you decide to become a network technician a typical role might include:

  • Troubleshooting network or connectivity issues for users in an organization
  • Installing network software, like firewall or security software
  • Evaluating local network performance data for speed issues, network problems, or disaster recovery
  • Configuring security and permissions for individuals or groups of users within a network
  • Using diagnostic equipment and software to identify and resolve network problems
  • Backing up network data to ensure that critical information is protected
  • VPN connections and configurations
  • Basic support and maintenance of data networking services, including LAN, WAN, point-to-point, VPN, wireless, remote site and internet connectivity and related services. This includes firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention, malware scanning and prevention, security incident response, and systems hardening and related incidents, upgrades, patches and optimizations.

Network Technician Important Qualities and Skill Sets

The following attributes and skill sets are often necessary or helpful for network technicians to possess:

  • Software and systems such as Windows 2003/2008/2012 servers, Microsoft Exchange 2003/2007/2010/2012, Workstation support (Windows latest versions), Office 365, Mac OS X,  iPad and mobile device management and deployment,  Server Virtualization, Microsoft Office 2003-2013, anti-virus software.
  • Technical knowledge in routing/switching, wireless, firewalls and/or security.
  • Knowledge of telecommunications – technicians may need to understand the operation and installation of phone systems.
  • Understanding of network infrastructure technologies, procedures and operations as they apply to an enterprise environment.
  • Knowledge of troubleshooting – network technicians should be able to analyze operating errors and determine the solution.
  • Communication & customer service skills – it may be necessary to relay complex technical information in a way that non-IT employees can understand.

How to Become a Network Technician

Education[i]

You may find the job title ‘Network Technician’ synonymous with the job title ‘Computer Network Support Specialist,’ according to O*NET Online. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational requirements for computer network support specialists (a.k.a. network technicians) may vary according to the position. In some cases, technical knowledge of computers and networks may be the only requirement. In other cases, employers may require postsecondary education, such as an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in computer science or an applicable field.

Areas of study that may satisfy requirements for a position as a network technician include education in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines or an associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in IT or computer science.[ii]

Training and Career Enhancement[i]

People who become a network technician may start out working on simple problems and eventually move on to more complex issues as they better learn the software or equipment they are supporting. Career enhancement opportunities will vary from organization to organization and likely on how fast the employee can learn new skills. There are many different career paths that may be available, including careers as a network and computer systems administrator or software developer. 

To further your knowledge as a network technician, you may want to look into earning certificates associated with the profession. Some certificates that network technicians may earn are:

  • MCSA: Windows Server 2012, which certifies a mastery of the primary set of Windows Server 2012 skills that help businesses make the most of their IT costs and value.[iii]
  • MSCA: Windows Server 2008 certifies skills used to work with a Windows Server 2008 in a business environment.[iv]
  • CompTIA A+ certification[v], a certification that informs on the maintenance of PCs, laptops, operating systems, mobile devices, and printers. Categories of this certification include:
    • CompTIA A+
    • CompTIA Network+
    • CompTIA Security+
    • CompTIA Server+
    • CompTIA Linux+

Network Technician Salary Potential and Job Growth[vi]

Of course, salary potential and projected job growth vary depending on location and other factors. But approximately how much does a network technician make? Check out some helpful earnings and job growth stats if you decided to become a network technician.

  • In 2013, the median annual salary for network technicians was $60,180.  The median annual hourly wage was 29.93.[vii]
  • Employment for network technicians is projected to grow 17% between 2012 and 2022. That’s faster than average for all occupations.
  • The need for network technicians may grow as organizations upgrade their IT equipment and software.  

Still interested in exploring the role of a Network Technician? Great! We have additional information about degree programs in this field, including opportunities in specific states.

 

Sources: onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1152.00

[i] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm#tab-4|[ii]onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1152.00#Education | [iii]microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcsa-windows-server-certification.aspx|[iv]microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcsa-windows-server-2008-certification.aspx|[v]certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/a.aspx|[vi] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm#tab-1 | [vii] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1152.00

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