If 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
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
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