System, Networking, and LAN/WAN Management/Manager  Program Description


Insider Info

dotIf you want to learn how to install, configure or support an organization's computer networks, consider a network administration program.

There are two pathways you can pursue for this career -- a bachelor's degree in computer science or a two-year community or technical college computer science program. Some technical colleges also offer shorter programs, but these are generally for people who already have some training in the field.

A four-year degree will give you more training in a greater variety of areas, while a two-year program is likely to focus intensively on one or two areas. A four-year degree will likely result in more employment options and higher salaries.

Most colleges and universities offer a bachelor's degree in computer science with emphasis in certain aspects of computers, such as programming, administration and networks.

Mary-Ann Neel, lead academic advisor at Purdue University, says students at a technical college receive a hands-on education, while university students receive a broad-based education with hands-on experience.

"At a small college or technical school, the student will receive a more straight-line education. They will not learn the 'science' of computing, they will learn the 'mechanics' of computing," Neel says.

Rick Gee is chair of the computer science department at a community college. He says that universities also teach physics and calculus, whereas a two-year program might bypass these subjects.

In high school, get involved in computer science, math, typing and communication courses.

Neel recommends taking both computer and math courses. "If they have some computer courses available -- and only a few high schools do -- they should take them for both programming experience and to help them decide if this is a course of action they want to pursue."

Communication skills are important. "Too many people in computing want to lock themselves away from the world, but that is not the way computing is today," Gee says.

Tuition and books are the main costs. You may want to buy a computer.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Computer Systems Analysts, Database Administrators and Computer Scientists

Computer Networking Channel on HowStuffWorks
Learn about different networking options and how they all work

Network Administration Resources
A great place to start for information

Network Administrator's Survival Handbook
Well organized and easy to use for plenty of help

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this program is about? Check out Just the Facts for a simple description.