Network & Communications Management Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a network and communications management career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a network and communications manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career in Network & Communications Management

Professionals working in network and communications management are responsible for using information technology (IT) to help a company or organization achieve strategic goals for profitability. Consider the following pros and cons to decide if a career in IT management interests you.

There are many career options in this field. Examples include computer and information systems manager, network and computer systems administrator, database administrator and information security analyst. You can learn more, at a glance, here:

Computer & Information Systems Manager Network & Computer Systems Administrator Database Administrator Information Security Analysts
Career Overview Computer and information systems managers implement specific computer systems to help a company meet goals. Network and computer systems administrators organize and manage a company's computer networks and systems. Database administrators store and organize a company's secure data. Information security analysts use information technology to protect an organization's information from cyber attack.
Education Requirement Bachelor's degree required for entry-level, but master's preferred Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree required for entry-level, but master's degree may be required Bachelor's degree required for entry-level, but master's degree preferred
Program Length 4-6 years, including the master's degree 4 years 4-6 years, including the master's degree 4-6 years, including the master's degree
Certification N/A Vendor-specific certification, such as Microsoft and Cisco, may be required by some employers Some employers may require vendor-specific certification Certification isn't required, but options are available
Experience Requirement Several years of experience in a related field None; entry-level Several years of experience in a related field Several years of experience in a related field
Job Outlook for 2012-2022 50,900 additional jobs expected (15% increase)* 42,900 additional jobs expected (12% increase)* 17,900 additional jobs expected (15% increase)* 27,400 additional jobs expected (37% increase)*
Mean Salary (2014) $136,280* $79,770* $82,280* $91,600*

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

Computer & Information Systems Manager

Also known as information technology (IT) managers, computer and information systems managers conduct and oversee an organization's computer-related activities. Typical duties include recommending upgrades to management, installing hardware and software, making sure electronic documents are secure, accounting for spending on new technology, staying up-to-date on technological advances and directing other IT staff. Generally, there are various types of IT managers who are responsible for specific duties, depending on the size of the firm. For instance, a chief information officer (CIO) directs the company's strategy for information systems or electronic data processing.

Most professionals work full-time, although working overtime is common, especially if information technology problems arise. The BLS also estimated that roughly 24% of professionals exceeded 50 hours of work each week in 2010.

Requirements

The entry-level requirement for a career in this field is a bachelor's degree in either computer or information science. Courses in computer programming, mathematics and software development are essential. Still, most employers prefer to hire candidates with a graduate degree in a related field. Work experience is important as well. For instance, a lower level manager will need several years of work experience to be considered for an IT management role. Advanced positions, such as CIOs, typically require at least 5-10 years of work experience.

Here's what employers were looking for in December 2012:

  • A financial services firm in New York wants to hire a computer systems manager with a master's degree in computer science and three years of experience using information technology in database administration, programming, telecommunications and computer systems development. Duties include ensuring the quality of software architecture and reviewing technical designs.
  • An investment management firm in Atlanta seeks an investment information systems manager to support operations by overseeing technology and applications related to research, trading and portfolio management. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree with seven years of systems experience and four years of management experience in support of investment systems.
  • In Connecticut, a strategic management firm looks for a health information technology systems manager with a bachelor's degree and at least six years industry or consulting experience. Candidates must be willing to travel for the majority of their work.

Standing Out

According to the BLS, many employers claim that finding qualified candidates for an IT manager position is difficult. As a result, you could stand out simply by pursuing an advanced degree in information systems or computer science. In addition, you should stay up-to-date on all new technological trends and products. Also, by gaining experience within the healthcare industry (in which the BLS anticipates to see job growth), you can stand out as an experienced information technology professional within this specialty.

Network & Computer Systems Administrator

Network and computer systems administrators oversee and maintain the operations of necessary computer networks. Professionals are expected to support the required local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs) and other data communication systems to ensure that all network needs of an organization are met. Typical duties include upgrading hardware and software, collecting data to improve network performance, ensuring that all network and computer systems are secure and solving issues with automated systems. In addition, some manage servers, telecommunications networks and data storage. Professionals often work with network architects and IT managers.

Requirements

A bachelor's degree in computer or information science is a common requirement for a position as a network and computer systems administrator; however, some companies require a master's degree in a related field, while others accept an associate's degree with relevant experience. Since this field is constantly changing and evolving, continuing education courses are highly beneficial.

Some employers in December 2012 were looking for the following:

  • In Massachusetts, a legal services firm looks for a computer network systems administrator with an associate's degree in computer information systems or equivalent experience. The Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) designation is preferred. Candidates must have four years experience using various server operating systems.
  • In Washington, D.C., a consulting firm wants to hire a network administrator to work with the network operations manager and network infrastructure manager. Applicants must have a high school diploma with a minimum of four years experience with Microsoft Operating Systems. Ideal candidates have a background using various networking components and protocols.
  • An agriculture, forestry and fishing organization in Missouri seeks a senior network administrator with experience using Microsoft Active Directory, deploying Microsoft Exchange, setting up routers and supporting remote connectivity for WAN and applications. Candidates must also have a bachelor's degree and experience working in a Citrix/XenApp and Microsoft Terminal Server environment.

Standing Out

Due to the growing need to protect electronic information from cyber attacks, you should gain a strong background in network and systems security. In addition, by staying up-to-date on new technological trends and innovations, you can gain a competitive advantage over your peers. Furthermore, the healthcare industry is growing more dependent on information technology, and the best job prospects will be available for those able to work in this specific industry. Professionals are not required to be certified to work in this field, but certification, such as those offered by various software firms and product vendors, can demonstrate capabilities to employers.

Database Administrator

According to the BLS, database administrators (DBAs) held nearly 111,000 jobs in 2010, with the majority employed by the computer systems design and related services industry. Typical duties for DBAs include storing, organizing and securing electronic data, such as customer records, patient histories and financial documents. Professionals must also oversee data analysts. In addition, DBAs are responsible for creating, restoring, modifying and testing databases to ensure that data is secure and can be managed efficiently. While general database mangers may be responsible for all of theses duties, some DBAs choose to specialize in either systems or applications.

Requirements

The entry-level requirement for a position as a database administrator is a bachelor's degree in a computer or information science related field; some employers prefer to hire professionals who have obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. This is an advanced position, so several years of work experience and an extensive knowledge of database languages are required. Many database administrators gain entry-level experience as data analysts or data developers before advancing to this managerial position.

In December 2012, some employers of database administrators were seeking out the following:

  • In New Jersey, a computer and IT services company wants to hire a database administrator with a bachelor's degree and at least ten years experience. Duties include implementing the Datacom Change Data Capture (CDC) application, creating database designs, analyzing functional user requirements and allocating DASD space.
  • A software development firm in Saint Louis is looking to hire an application database administrator to monitor database subsystems, enforce standards, create indexes, advise users on data extraction techniques and provide technical support. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field with 2-4 years of experience.
  • In Washington, D.C., a technical services firm wants to hire a database administrator to oversee multiple database vendor platforms, install applications, run integrity checks, maintain indexes, document database changes, monitor security and migrate legacy database products. A bachelor's degree and five years of relevant experience is required.

Standing Out

To stand out as a database administrator, you should have experience with new technology, database security and various programming languages. In addition, experience within the healthcare industry could be beneficial, as the use of electronic medical records becomes more popular. Voluntary professional certifications, such as those offered by Microsoft and Oracle, are available and could help you gain a competitive advantage by confirming your expertise.

Information Security Analysts

An information security analyst protects a company's information from the growing risk of a cyber attack. They do so by planning security measures, monitoring networks, developing security standards, installing software and recommending security enhancements. Information security analysts may design recovery systems with chief technology officers. Due to emergencies, these professionals could be required to be on call.

Requirements

A bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field is the entry-level requirement for information security analysts; however, employers prefer to hire candidates with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree focused on information systems. Due to the increased demand for these professionals, some colleges and universities are offering information security degree programs. Work experience in a related field appeals to employers.

Employers hiring information security analysts were seeking out the following in December 2012 and January 2013:

  • In California, an electronics, components and semiconductor manufacturing company wants to hire an information security analyst with at least five years experience in log, patch and vulnerability management, as well as security and risk management. Knowledge of firewall, IDS/IPS, virus protection and security policy is required.
  • A New York financial services firm looks for an information security analyst with a bachelor's degree and 5-7 years experience. Antivirus and firewall skills, among others, are required to support information risk management monitor security controls.
  • A senior information security analyst is wanted by a Massachusetts manufacturing firm to conduct compliance inspections, security audits and policy development. Someone with 5-10 years experience in IT security compliance, development and interpretation is desired.

Standing Out

Certifications, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential, can help applicants appeal to employers. The CISSP certification demonstrates their knowledge of the industry and requires 5 years of professional experience to qualify for the exam.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
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      • BSIT: Network Admin
      • BS in IT - IT Management
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      • AASIT: Network Admin
  • Campus Locations:
    2. American National University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Network Administration - Associate
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
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    4. Louisiana State University Shreveport

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Data Analytics Concentration
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    5. Tulane University

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    Master's
      • Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management
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    6. Georgetown University

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    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
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    7. Colorado State University Global

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      • Master - Information Technology Management
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    Certificate
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  • Campus Locations:
    8. Altierus

    Program Options

    Certificate
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    9. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Rochester, NY

    Rochester Institute of Technology

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Kaplan University

  • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
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American National University

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Regent University

  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
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Louisiana State University Shreveport

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Tulane University

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Georgetown University

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Colorado State University Global

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Altierus

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