Computer Network Technician Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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Computer network technicians earned a median wage of about $62,000 in 2014. Is it worth the training and education requirements? Read more salary information and job descriptions to see if becoming a computer network technician is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Being a Computer Network Technician

Computer network technicians must be able to troubleshoot and understand networks and the most recent computer programs. Read on for more pros and cons to this field.

Pros of Being a Computer Network Technician
Median wage of roughly $62,000 in 2014
Associate's degree or some postsecondary education can suffice for lower level workers*
Jobs expected to grow 17% from 2012-2022
Multiple industries employ technicians (education, health care, etc.)*
Some workers can work from home*

Cons of Being a Computer Network Technician
Some work irregular work hours (weekends or nights)*
Some jobs may be outsourced*
Continuing education needed to keep up with technology*
Usually work under the supervision of more experienced workers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Career Information and Job Description

Job Description and Duties

A computer network technician plans, coordinates and implements network security measures that will protect data, software and hardware. The technician also performs data backups and disaster recovery operations. They routinely diagnose hardware and software problems and replace defective components, since the entire business structure usually depends on its computer systems and related networks.

Network technicians read technical manuals, confer with users and conduct computer diagnostics in order to investigate issues, resolve problems and provide technical support. These workers should be comfortable in helping users through phone calls or consultations.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

In May 2013, the BLS stated that computer network technicians made the median wage of about $62,000. The middle half of these workers made annual wages ranging from about $46,000-82,000. The highest-paid workers made about $104,000 or more.

The BLS projected 17% employment growth for this field from 2012-2022. However, many technicians may find their jobs being outsourced to other countries. Technicians who can provide more complex installation and software services to customers will have the best job prospects.

Requirements for Computer Network Technicians

Employers can require varying educational and training requirements, but you may be able to qualify for lower-level technician jobs with just an associate's degree in computer science. You should note that some of the more difficult and challenging jobs are typically given to bachelor's degree holders. Workplaces may provide a training period for new workers.

Useful Skills

Computer network technicians should have a strong interest in computer science, technical products and network systems, in order to be an effective and valued worker. Because many people rely on technicians to understand and solve technical issues, they should also possess good interpersonal skills. You should also like keeping up with new technology. In addition to those skills, you should have the following qualities:

  • Good communication skills
  • Interest in computers
  • Calm under pressure
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Willing to learn new things
  • Ability to work alone and with a team

Job Postings from Real Employers

Job postings outline both basic requirements and preferred qualities for technicians. Some of the most common requirements were exceptional customer service skills and prior experience or training in the networks. Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com posted the following jobs from April 2012:

  • An information technology (IT) services company in Georgia requested the help of a computer and network technician with good interpersonal skills. Applicants needed to be familiar with Windows, Microsoft Office, Server environments, Adobe Acrobat and other software. Applicants also must have a high school diploma or the equivalent and two years of work experience or training in the field.
  • An IT services provider in Texas needed a computer network technician with a flexible schedule. Applicants had to be familiar with Microsoft Office, Server 2003/2008 and PC troubleshooting. The technician also needed to hold some professional designations, including the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) designation or CompTIA A+ certification.
  • A team in Louisiana sought a network technician with a bachelor's degree in computer science or at least five years of experience. They also preferred an applicant who had an A+ certification. In addition to installing and upgrading systems, the technician would be required to analyze statistics of computer operations.
  • A housing authority in South Carolina required the services of a computer technician with at least an associate's degree in computer science or business, though a bachelor's degree was preferred. Applicants needed 1-3 years of experience assisting users with technical issues. The technicians would troubleshoot problems and install software and equipment, including monitors, printers and cables.

How to Stand Out

One way you can stand out is by earning voluntary certification by various organizations. Certifications show that you have tested, proven expertise in a technical field, which can be beneficial in searching for jobs. Microsoft and CompTIA offer several certifications for network technicians, and their websites provide eligibility requirements and other information.

You may also choose to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. A bachelor's degree can help you find higher-level positions or advance in the workplace. Because communication skills are integral in conveying correct information to both users and coworkers, you may also take classes in English or speech to develop those skills.

Alternative Careers

If you are looking for careers that are still related to computers or network maintenance, then you could consider these other jobs. While both careers require bachelor's degrees, they tend to offer better wages.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

Computer and information systems managers advise businesses on what kinds of technology and programs are needed. They manage computer and IT professionals, and they also work with vendors to receive quality products and services. According to the BLS, these managers made a median wage of about $118,000 in 2011. Jobs for managers were expected to grow 18% from 2010-2020.

Network and Computer Systems Administrator

With job duties similar to computer network technicians, network and computer systems administrators install computer systems, software and hardware. They usually have more complicated responsibilities than those of technicians, such as maintaining networks and analyzing user needs for businesses. A bachelor's degree in computer science is required for the job, though an associate's degree with relevant experience may be acceptable for some positions. In 2011, the BLS reported that these workers made a median salary of about $71,000. The BLS also expected favorable employment growth from 2010-2020, with an expected 28% growth in jobs.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. ECPI University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor's - Network Security
      • Bachelor's - Network Security
    Associate's
      • Associate's - Network Security
      • Associate's - Network Security
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctorate: Computer Science
      • Doctorate - Computer Science: Information Assurance (Executive Format)
      • Doctor of Management - Technology Management (Executive Format)
    Master's
      • M.S. - Information Technology - Network Management
      • MS - Computer Science - Computer Systems Security
      • M.S. - Information Technology
      • Master of Science in Computer Science
      • MS - Management - Information Systems Security
      • M.S. - Management: IT and Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security - Computer Systems Security
      • BS - IT - Network Management
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  • Online Programs Available
    4. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Public Safety Leadership and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
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    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology Admin and Management With No Declared Minor or Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Technology Studies
      • Associate of Science - Information Technology Admin and Management
    Certificate
      • Networking Systems Certificate
  • Campus and Online Programs
    5. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
      • BS - Game Design (Campus)
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    7. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Information Technology Management
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    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Information Technology
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  • Online Programs Available
    9. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master - Information Technology Management
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    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security
  • Online Programs Available
    10. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of IT: Project Management
      • Master of Information Technology - Information Assurance and Security
      • Master of Science in Information Technology
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: IT - Network Admin
      • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security
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Featured Schools

ECPI University

  • Bachelor's - Network Security
  • Associate's - Network Security

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctorate: Computer Science
  • M.S. - Information Technology - Network Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security - Computer Systems Security

Are you a US citizen?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Public Safety Leadership and Technology Management
  • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Technology Studies
  • Networking Systems Certificate

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
  • BS - Game Design (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology

What is your highest level of education?

University of Delaware

  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • B.S. in Information Technology
  • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity

What is your highest level of education?