Computer networking is the practice of setting up two or more computing devices to communicate with each other. Computer networks are based on a combination of hardware and software.
A computer network job involves installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting computer networks. Without these workstations, computers, devices, and the people who use them would have a hard time communicating remotely securely.
Beginning a career in computer networking can take you in a variety of directions. Here we will examine the top computer networking jobs.
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Top Computer Networking Jobs & Salaries
Network engineers are computer network professionals who design, build, and maintain computer networks for organizations. Network engineers are tasked with maintaining cybersecurity standards across an organization’s software, hardware, and applications by updating antivirus software, performing data backups, and more. Other responsibilities are:
- Installation and configuration of network devices
- Continuous monitoring and troubleshooting to improve network performance
- Working with third parties to ensure optimal network performance
Network Engineer Salary
The average national salary for a network engineer in the US is $82,805. Some of the highest paying cities for this role are New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles.
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Network administrators ensure the stability and security of an organization’s networks, including Internet and intranet systems, local area networks (LANs), and wide area networks (WANs). They also routinely test networks, troubleshoot using IT tools and techniques, and generate reports on how networks can be improved.
Network Administrator Salary
The average national salary for a network administrator in the US is $67,283 but can reach as high as $152,000. Some of the best paying cities for this role are Washington DC, Colorado Springs and San Diego.
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A network architect designs computer network systems, develops data communications networks, tests networks for optimal performance, and makes repairs when necessary. This is a role typically filled by those with significant work experience and can be found in a variety of industries. Other responsibilities are:
- Leading the network implementation by setting schedules and budgets
- Documentation of network descriptions and configurations
- Implementation of hardware and software upgrades
- Managing information and network security
- Network technology research
Network architect salary
The average national salary for a network architect in the US is $132,272. Some of the highest paying cities for this role are San Jose, CA, Columbia, SC, and Brooklyn, NY.
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A network engineer operates, maintains, updates, repairs, and installs software for devices that support the organization’s network.
As for the networks themselves, the network engineer monitors and maintains LANs and WANs, as well as an organization’s Internet applications, intranets, and extranets. It is the job of the network engineer to keep the network running at optimal speed and performance.
When a problem occurs, a network engineer will troubleshoot and should be able to explain technical issues to non-experts. They often work in conjunction with systems administration and IT support.
Network engineer salary
The average national salary for a network engineer in the US is $58,952. The cities that pay the highest salary to a network engineer are Irving, CA, Denver, and Phoenix.
Network analysts support the organization’s computer network and its overall computer infrastructure by installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting computer network systems. Typical network analyst responsibilities include designing, developing, and evaluating network systems, and providing technical support for system components, including hardware and software. Their duties also include:
- Coordination of system improvements between software and hardware
- document procedures
- Development of policies and procedures
- Install network software
- Train users on new applications
Network analyst salary
The average national salary for a network analyst in the US is $66,741. The cities that pay the highest salary to a network analyst are New York, Greenville, SC, and Charleston, SC.
Network specialists maintain an organization’s network by analyzing, evaluating, and troubleshooting computer network problems. They also ensure that a network and its information remain secure by properly configuring hardware and training end users. Other tasks of network specialists are:
- Installation of network devices
- Working with security specialists to develop security protocols
- Ensuring employee connectivity to the network
Network Specialist Salary
The average national salary for a network specialist in the US is $65,593. The cities that pay a maximum salary for a network analyst are San Mateo, CA, Berkeley, CA, and Daly City, CA.
Depending on the type and size of the business, some of the computer networking jobs may overlap or be combined to cover multiple roles. However, an easy way to distinguish between some of these titles is that network administrators and network specialists usually focus on day-to-day operations of network performance. Network architects and engineers, on the other hand, typically design and build LANs, WANs, and intranets.
Also read: Cloudflare vs. Akamai: Comparing Network as a Service (NaaS).
4 tips to advance in your computer networking career
Below are some tips to kickstart and grow your computer networking career.
Earn a degree
Earning a computer science or related degree is a great place to start your IT career. Short-term programs are best since the technology field changes so quickly.
Also read: 7 enterprise networking trends to watch in 2022
Strengthen your resume with an industry certification like CompTIA A+, CCNA, MCSA, as well as more advanced certifications like AWS or Cisco Security.
Specialize in an industry
These roles are in demand across a variety of industries, but there is room for specialization in a specific sector and the unique technical challenges faced by users. Find out about the latest trends, challenges and solutions for the industry you are in or want to enter.
Build a network
Build a strong professional network to support and learn from others in the field as this may lead to job or collaboration opportunities. LinkedIn is a good place to start growing your network. Industry-specific events and forums also offer more targeted networks to tap into.
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