Monday, July 25, 2011

All About Computer Network Support Technicians and How to Become One

By: Adriana Noton

The rapid growth of technology has opened a huge industry over the past couple decades. An entire generation is finding work in the internet and technology fields. With the advantages of business applications, networking is one of the fastest growing sectors in this industry. A computer network support technician is on the front-line of this exciting, constantly growing and lucrative profession.

What Is A Network? - To properly understand what a support technician is, one must understand what a network is and does. At its simplest form it is more than one computer connected together either through wires or "over-the-air" wirelessly. Larger networks include a server or multiple servers depending upon the size. A server is essentially a computer that carries out a set task. For example, a file server allows for the storage and distribution of digital data across the network.

Responsibilities Of A Support Technician - Duties usually depend upon the company for which the technician works. Many times the companies requirements are different from business to business. In one case, a technician may have to build a network from the ground up, planning and designing hardware elements such as switches and routers.

Most often the technician will be hired as part of a staff either for a business directly or for a third-party company specializing in technology services. When this is the case, the less experienced staff-member will usually do the less appealing jobs such as pulling cables and terminating ends. As the tech gains experience, they will be required to troubleshoot problems and configure and install new equipment and software. Of course, with the increase in responsibilities comes an increase in pay.

Education And Training - As with any professional skill, the more education and training an individual has the more pay they can demand. A support technician is no different but the route can be strange when compared to a traditional career education. For the most part, a bachelor's degree in computer science, electrical engineering, telecommunications or any related path of study is sufficient to work in the field. For high school students interested in this career it would be wise to study mathematics, physics and computer science.

As a technician gains more experience, they may want to earn a certificate to further their careers. There are several certificate training programs offered by numerous companies and institutions. Most require passing a series of complex written and hands-on tests to determine technical aptitude. They certify that a tech can do many things such as plan, install and maintain communication between various systems.

Finding A Job - Most computer support technicians are employed by consulting firms that are then hired by businesses to plan, install and maintain their network. However, more and more companies are building their own in-house technology administration divisions. This saves them money and potential communication problems with a third-party provider.

According to many reports and studies the computer network support industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the technology field. This means more jobs to choose from and job security for years to come. The time spent in school is short compared to other professions and the starting pay for a new tech is very respectable. These are just a few reasons to look further into technical support as a possible career path.