Earning a degree in network and communications management is a solid investment in your professional future. Some students feel like they are rolling the dice when it comes to investing in an education with no promise of finding a job upon graduation. But technology will only continue to advance and businesses will need professionals to ensure their communications network is properly implemented, running smoothly, professionally designed, secured and managed to perfection.
Like most other academic fields, students can earn an associate, bachelor's and even an MBA in network and communications management. Doctorate programs are also available, but most fall under different degree titles despite teaching much of the same material. For example, Georgia Tech College of Computing offers a Ph.D. in networking and communications with a management distinction option. Many will pursue an associate degree if they are already employed within the industry and require a minimal education to keep their job or advance to a new position. In some cases, an associate degree will help people secure entry-level jobs in networking and communications fields. Depending on the hiring company, a bachelor's degree may also secure an entry or mid-level job. Any graduate degree will entitle applicants to work at higher levels.
Schools for Network and Communications
Students have several options when it comes to choosing a school that offers degrees in network and communications management. Community colleges, tech schools, four-year universities and online schools across the country offer degrees in this popular field. Some schools even offer a hybrid option of earning a degree both online and in a campus setting. Devry University offers an online degree in network and communications management with the option for students to attend campus-based classes across the country and use the physical facilities at their leisure. Although an online education is not for everyone, many students with daytime jobs opt for this choice as it often best suits their needs.
Bachelor's Degree Classes
A typical bachelor's degree curriculum in network and communications management consists of general education classes and core courses. Most general education classes cover the fields of humanities, math, general science and social sciences. These classes are typically taken in the first year of a four-year degree program and may sometimes flood into the second year depending on the school. Core courses are usually taken in the second or third year, advancing in difficulty until the student graduates, and consist of specialty classes that cover materials directly related to the degree program. For example, Florida State College School of Technological Sciences requires students to take Technical Support, Software Configuration, Operating Systems Foundations, Hardware Configurations, Fundamentals of Information Security, Enterprise Systems Integration, Information Security Management, Infrastructure and Facilities Planning, along with other core courses.
Network and communications management professionals work in industries that include government, healthcare, corporate, education, non-profit and anywhere that utilizes advanced networking solutions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook from 2010 to 2020 is expected to grow at 28 percent, which is significantly faster than the average career field. The statistics also reveal that a bachelor's degree is the average required degree, and those employed with one can expect to make a comfortable living, earning a median pay of $69,160 a year. If you finish a master's degree and work within a management role, expect to earn more.
2016 Salary Information for Network and Computer Systems Administrators
Network and computer systems administrators earned a median annual salary of $79,700 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, network and computer systems administrators earned a 25th percentile salary of $61,870, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $102,400, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 391,300 people were employed in the U.S. as network and computer systems administrators.
- Georgia Tech College of Computing: PhD CS – Networking & Communications Body of Knowledge
- Devry University: Network and Communications Management Degree Program
- Florida State College: Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications (B.a.S.)
- U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics: Network and Computer Systems Administrators
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Network and Computer Systems Administrators
- Career Trend: Network and Computer Systems Administrators
Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.