Network technicians play a critical role in managing and troubleshooting the network systems crucial for the smooth running of businesses. As technology continues to advance, the demand for qualified network technicians is projected to increase. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a network technician, this post will guide you through the steps needed to enter this exciting field. We will also examine potential salaries, job growth, and the pros and cons of this career path.
What is a Network Technician?
A network technician, also known as a network support specialist, is responsible for the setup, management, maintenance, and repair of both the hardware and software components of an organization’s computer networks. Their tasks typically include maintaining network performance, solving problems, configuring and installing network software, and securing network systems against potential threats.
Steps to Becoming a Network Technician
- Acquire a High School Diploma: This is the initial step towards your network technician career. Classes like math, computer science, and electronics will provide you with a foundation for your future education and training.
- Pursue Post-Secondary Education: Although not always required, a degree in a field related to computer science, information technology, or networking will increase your marketability. Some employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree, but others might accept an associate’s degree or post-secondary certificate.
- Gain Practical Experience: As with many IT-related positions, hands-on experience is incredibly valuable. Internships, part-time jobs, or even volunteering can provide practical experience that potential employers appreciate.
- Obtain Certifications: Industry certifications like Cisco’s CCNA, CompTIA Network+, or Microsoft’s MCSE can help boost your career. These certifications validate your knowledge and skills in the networking field.
- Continue Learning: The IT world changes rapidly, so ongoing learning is a must. Keeping up with new technologies, systems, and protocols will help you stay competitive in the job market.
Wages and Job Growth
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for network and computer systems administrators, a category that includes network technicians, was $80,600 in May 2021. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $52,370, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $134,970.
The BLS also projects a 3% job growth for network and computer systems administrators from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations. However, given the increasing reliance on network infrastructures for virtually all businesses, demand in certain sectors or regions could outpace this projection.
Benefits and Drawbacks
- Growing Demand: As businesses increasingly depend on stable and secure network systems, the demand for network technicians continues to rise.
- Good Earnings: As we’ve seen above, network technicians often earn a solid income.
- Continuous Learning: The field provides an opportunity to continuously learn and adapt to new technologies, keeping your job interesting and engaging.
- Career Advancement: With experience and further education, network technicians can move into roles like network administrator, network engineer, or IT manager.
- On-Call Work: Network issues can occur at any time. As a result, network technicians may need to be on-call for emergencies, leading to potential work during evenings, weekends, or holidays.
- Fast-Paced Industry: The rapid evolution of technology means network technicians need to continually learn and adapt. This can be exciting, but it can also be stressful.
- Pressure: As businesses are so reliant on their networks, network technicians can face significant pressure to quickly resolve any issues that arise.
Becoming a network technician is an excellent choice for those interested in technology and problem-solving. While it does come with challenges, the career’s benefits, including good wages, job security, and an intellectually stimulating environment, make it an attractive choice. If you’re passionate about technology and ready to commit to continuous learning, a career as a network technician could be an excellent fit.