Computer networking is the practice of setting up two or more computing devices to communicate with one another. Computer networks are built on a combination of both hardware and software.
A computer networking job entails installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting computer networks. Without these jobs, computers, devices, and the people who use them would have a tough time communicating securely from afar.
Starting a career in computer networking can take you in several different directions. Here, we’ll explore the top computer networking jobs.
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Top Computer Networking Jobs and Salary
Network engineers are computer networking professionals who design, build, and maintain computer networks for organizations. Network engineers are charged with maintaining cybersecurity standards for all of an organization’s software, hardware, and applications by updating anti-virus software, performing data backups, and more. Other responsibilities include:
- Installing and configuring network equipment
- Continuous monitoring and troubleshooting to improve network performance
- Collaborating with third-party service providers 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 top paying cities for this role include New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles.
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Network administrators maintain 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 prepare reports on how to improve networks.
Network administrator salary
The average national salary for a network administrator in the US is $67,283 but can top out at $152,000. Some of the top paying cities for this role include Washington DC, Colorado Springs, and San Diego.
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A network architect designs computer network systems, develops data communication networks, tests networks for optimal performance, and performs repairs as needed. This is a role typically held by those with significant work experience and can be found in a variety of industries. Other responsibilities include:
- Directing network implementation by setting schedules and budgets
- Documenting network descriptions and configurations
- Implementing upgrades to hardware and software
- Managing information and network security
- Researching network technologies
Network architect salary
The average national salary for a network architect in the US is $132,272. Some of the top paying cities for this role include San Jose, CA, Columbia, SC, and Brooklyn, NY.
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A network technician operates, maintains, upgrades, fixes, and installs software for devices that support the organization’s network.
As for the networks themselves, the network technician monitors and maintains LANs and WANs as well as an organization’s internet applications, intranets, and extranets. It is the network technician’s job to keep the network running at optimal speed and performance.
When an issue does arise, a network technician troubleshoots and should be able to explain technical issues to non-experts. They often work in conjunction with system administration and information technology support.
Network technician salary
The average national salary for a network technician in the US is $58,952. The cities that pay top salary for a network technician 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. As a network analyst, typical duties entail designing, developing, and evaluating network systems and providing technical support for system components, including hardware and software. Their responsibilities also include the following:
- coordinating system enhancements between software and hardware
- documenting procedures
- drafting policies and procedures
- installing network software
- training users in new applications
Network analyst salary
The average national salary for a network analyst in the US is $66,741. The cities that pay top salary for a network analyst are New York, Greenville, SC, and Charleston, SC.
Network specialists maintain an organization’s network by analyzing, evaluating, and troubleshooting computer networking issues. They also make sure that a network and its information remains secure by properly configuring hardware and training end users. Other network specialist tasks include:
- installing network equipment
- collaborating 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 top salary for a network analyst are San Mateo, CA, Berkeley, CA, and Daly City, CA.
Depending on the company type and size, some of the computer networking jobs might overlap or be combined to cover multiple functions. However, a simple way to differentiate among some of these titles is that network administrators and network specialists typically focus on day-to-day network performance operations. Network architects and engineers, on the other hand, usually design and build LANs, WANs, and Intranets.
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4 Tips to Advance In Your Computer Networking Career
Below are some tips to kickstart and grow your computer networking career.
Earn a degree
Acquiring a computer sciences or related degree is a great place to start your IT career. Short-term programs are best, since the tech field changes so rapidly.
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Bolster your resume with an industry certification, such as CompTIA A+, CCNA, MCSA as well as more advanced certifications like AWS or Cisco Security.
Specialize in an industry sector
These roles are in demand in a variety of industries, yet there is room for specialization in a particular sector and the unique tech challenges that users confront. Research the latest trends, challenges, and solutions that pertain to the industry you’re in or want to break into.
Build a network
Cultivate a strong professional network to support and learn from others in the field, as this can lead to job or collaboration opportunities. LinkedIn is a good place to start growing your network. Industry-specific events and forums also provide more targeted networks to tap into.