Prepare for the Networking Jobs of Tomorrow - Page 3

As networks evolve, so too do the technical skills needed by netadmins and by IT professionals looking to enter the networking field.

By Julie Knudson | Posted Jan 15, 2015
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How to decide which networking skills you’ll need

Develop skill sets enterprises want. Research released by TEKsystems has shown that for three consecutive years, IT leaders have identified programmers and developers as being the most difficult positions to fill. More than half of respondents also predicted salary increases for these two roles.

Know the trends. Containerization, integrated platforms and cloud security were among the "disruptive trends" 451 Research predicted for 2015. IT professionals may consider developing their networking skills to make an impact in these areas.

Learn a language. IEEE Spectrum compiled data on the most popular programming languages in 2014. Java and C took the number one and two spots respectively. C++, C# and Python rounded out the top five.

Certifications still matter. The Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) credential was the top-paying IT certification in 2014, according to research conducted by Global Knowledge and Penton.

Be well rounded. Aside from educational training, a study carried out by the Society for Human Resource Management and Kaplan University School of Business & Information Technology showed that technology/social and digital media skills were considered most valuable for IT job applicants, followed by critical thinking and communication skills.

Where to get training in the networking skills of the future

A number of options exist for those IT professionals who want to advance their skill sets. As the need for new and expanded expertise continues to grow, additional opportunities are sure to pop up. “I think you will find popular short courses on everything from scripting languages to how to use Chef and Puppet to automate keystrokes,” Pitt said. Conferences will certainly be held to educate network admins and others about a range of emerging needs. Pitt expects continuing education to deliver solutions fairly rapidly. “I think there’s a lot of value in going to conferences and attending the tutorials and the two- to three-day training sessions,” he said. These alone may not prepare an individual to become a particular kind of programmer, but they will enable people to understand how to position those technology components alongside others in the network.

Broad offerings are available at the Masters level in cyber security, including programs that allow students to go back to school either remotely or as a working student. “There’s always been a fairly large corpus of training out there, both individual courses from universities and such, but also places like SANS and CSSP offer various courses,” Shannon said.

The security sphere in particular continues to evolve quite rapidly, making ongoing education critical to ongoing success. “Taking courses on the latest tech and the latest threats is one way to stay cognizant of where things are headed,” Shannon said. CERT, for example, makes many courses and certificate programs available both onsite and in online format. The organization also offers leadership-level instruction through the CISO-Executive Education and Certification Program, administered jointly with Heinz College.

Another area of training that’s already growing in importance is around virtualization and automation. One example of educational opportunities that focus on network transitions is Cisco’s Learning Network. “The program offers a series of certification programs for students in formats that they want to use, including podcasts, videos, learning games, simulations and via social networks, and ensures employers that their networking professionals are equipped with the most up-to-date understanding of networking technology,” Bakan said. From Boomers to Millennials, there is now a wide range of learning styles, preferences and areas of interest active in the workforce. These different training options help to keep IT pros at every career level up to speed.

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