Computer Network Technician Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

About this article
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.
View available schools

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. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • BSIT: Network Admin
      • BS in IT - IT Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
    Associate's
      • AASIT: Network Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Tulane University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management
  • Campus Locations:
    3. American National University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Network Administration - Associate
  • Campus and Online Programs
    4. South College

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Network Administration & Security
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - General
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - Information Security
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Information Systems Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Campus and Online Programs
    7. South University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Information Systems (MS)
  • Campus Locations:
    8. Altierus

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Computer Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    9. ECPI University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor's - Network Security
    Associate's
      • Associate's - Network Security
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Post University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Computer Information Systems / Computer Networking
      • B.S. in Computer Information Systems

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • MSM in Information Technology
  • BSIT: Network Admin
  • AASIT: Network Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

Tulane University

  • Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

American National University

  • Network Administration - Associate

What is your education level?

South College

  • Associate of Science in Network Administration & Security

What is your highest level of education completed?

Regent University

  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology

What is your highest level of education completed?

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

South University

  • Information Systems (MS)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Altierus

  • Computer Information Technology

What is your highest level of education completed?