For a college program that’s highly relevant to today’s workforce, you might consider earning a computer networking degree.
As you study computer networking, you can learn about routers and switches, gain hands-on experience, and prepare to meet organizations’ IT needs.
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Completing a computer networking program can be a valuable asset for your resume as you apply for jobs in this in-demand field. Your training can help prepare you for future studies or lucrative jobs in business, technology, telecommunications, or a related field.
Online Computer Networking Degrees
Computer networks make today’s business activities possible, and organizations rely on the input of trained networking professionals. Getting a bachelor’s degree in this field can show your readiness for networking jobs and help prepare you for industry certifications. In addition to degrees, though, a number of colleges now offer network administration certificate online programs that will help you prepare for industry certifications.
Computer networking is typically offered as a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Sometimes, it’s paired with a related field, such as cybersecurity or business technology. Networking may also be available as a concentration for a Bachelor of Business Administration.
Programs leading to online network administration degrees can be accredited by ABET. That’s an industry organization that evaluates and approves bachelor’s level computing programs. This type of programmatic accreditation isn’t essential, but it could increase your confidence in a school’s curriculum.
In a computer networking major, you could learn about:
- Computer architecture
- Operating systems
- Programming languages
- Web servers
- Wireless technology
You can also study computer networking online. Some courses may include lab components, but online programs offer systems for fulfilling that requirement. For instance, you may work in a virtual laboratory or come to campus for intensive sessions.
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An internship can be a valuable addition to a bachelor’s degree program in computer networks management. During an internship, you might work with industry leaders and gain hands-on experience. Some colleges will grant you credit for your internship efforts.
If your college doesn’t require an internship, your studies may be wrapped up with a hands-on project. You might work on it individually or in a group, and there could be a paper and a presentation involved as well. After graduation, some students choose to continue their education. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one option to consider.
Some colleges will even let you start earning graduate credit during your bachelor’s degree program. You don’t have to earn a higher degree to succeed in this field, though. Network professionals are in demand, and many job openings require only a bachelor’s degree. Common roles include network support specialist, network architect, and network administrator.
Computer Networking Careers & Salaries
Right out of college, many graduates are fitting candidates for jobs as computer support specialists. While many support professionals help individual people with computer issues, you might want to put your training to work as a network support specialist.
Many computer networking majors pursue work as network administrators. That job may encompass many network-related responsibilities, including installing equipment, troubleshooting problems, overseeing security, and upgrading components. With experience, you may be able to move into a network architect role. You’d design and build networks of various sizes to meet an organization’s needs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in computers and information technology have a median annual salary of $97,430.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$159,010|
|Computer Hardware Engineers||$128,170|
|Computer Network Architects||$120,520|
|Information Security Analysts||$102,600|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$99,270|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$80,600|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||$62,760|
Experience usually leads to higher salaries. The above figures represent national averages based on professionals at all experience levels. In addition, your training in network security could help you pursue work in information security.
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Other roles that could draw on your knowledge include systems analyst and network hardware engineer. Roles in web development or computer programming could also be possibilities. With experience, some professionals move into IT management roles, whether as the head of a department or the tech executive for an entire organization.
Bachelors in Computer Networking Curriculum & Courses
For your IT networking degree, you’ll study the ins and outs of computers, including their languages, hardware, and architecture. To achieve your goal of becoming a knowledgeable networking professional, you may take courses similar to the ones listed here:
- Cloud Systems: In a class on cloud computing, you’ll talk about the benefits of cloud-based systems, address some common pitfalls, and learn how to make the most of cloud technology.
- Computer Hardware and Architecture: You’ll get to know the components involved in computers and networks and practice putting them together in functional arrangements.
- Computer Programming: There may be a class on general programming principles, or you may study a specific language, such as Python.
- Databases: You can explore database design and learn how to protect the information contained in databases.
- IT Management: This course aims to prepare you for leadership roles by covering management principles and teaching you to oversee projects from beginning to end.
- Operating Systems: Some colleges provide an overview of multiple popular operating systems, and others focus on a particular system, such as Linux.
- Security Principles: A class on cybersecurity will teach you to defend against attacks on your network and equip you to protect data.
- Switches and Routers: Since switches and routers are some of the most essential concepts in the networking field, you may do in-depth study on them over multiple semesters.
- Technical Communication: This class will train you to write for people in your department as well as colleagues with non-tech backgrounds.
- Wireless Networks: You’ll study the structure of wireless systems, explore the science that powers them, and discuss principles of wireless security.
A bachelor’s degree usually includes 120 credit hours’ worth of courses.
To get into a bachelor’s degree program for computer networking, you’re required to fill out an application form and submit other materials. A college’s admissions committee may want to see:
- ACT or SAT scores (required only by some schools)
- Essay or personal statement
- Official transcripts that show high school and any college classes
Admissions policies can be quite different from one school to the next. Some colleges accept all qualifying applicants, and others are quite selective.
Computer Networking Programs Accreditation
A college degree is most meaningful when it comes from a regionally accredited school. Regional accreditation is the most widely accepted and respected form of accreditation in the United States, and it affirms that a college educates students well.
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Regional accreditation offers several benefits. For example, it increases your chances of being able to transfer coursework to another school and helps you qualify for graduate programs. An accredited degree can also be a qualification for certain industry certifications.
Computer Networking Licensure and Certifications
While a computer networking bachelor’s degree can boost your resume, employers may want to see industry certifications too. Fortunately, college classes can provide preparation for various certification programs.
Cisco offers some of the best-known professional certifications in networking. CCNA is intended for networking pros early in their careers, and the various CCNP options provide the next step up in expertise. Microsoft also offers an array of certifications for IT professionals, including Azure Administrator Associate.
There’s also the CompTIA Network+ program, which is quite versatile. Unlike Cisco and Microsoft’s offerings, CompTIA’s certification isn’t specific to any one networking platform.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
As you prepare for college, it’s beneficial to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your eligibility for financial assistance can be determined based on the information you input.
The federal government runs student aid programs, and most states have additional offerings. Many students qualify for government loans, which have lower interest rates than private loans. Depending on your income bracket, you may also get grants.
Scholarships are another potential addition to aid packages. Schools may offer institutional scholarships. You could also apply to scholarships from other organizations. You can check with your employer about assistance options as well.
What Is a Computer Networking Degree?
A computer networking degree is an undergraduate program that prepares students to work in the information technology field. The subjects covered include local area networks, wide area networks, and the internet. The classes also teach about hardware, programming languages, and cybersecurity.
This degree can be a strategic choice for people who are tech-minded and able to solve problems creatively. Network troubles often demand an immediate solution, so it also helps to be able to perform well under pressure.
Is Computer Networking a Good Career Choice?
Yes, computer networking is a good career choice for many professionals. Jobs in this field often pay above average wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical network administrator earns between $49,560 and $130,830 annually.
Computer network architects usually make between $63,240 and $168,890 each year. This career also offers room for advancement. For example, some professionals might start as entry-level support specialists and eventually work their way to a position in management or even the executive suite.
What Can You Do with an Online Computer Networking Degree?
After graduating with your degree in computer networking, you might start out as a computer support specialist. You could provide general computer troubleshooting help or focus your attention on an organization’s networks.
Network administration is another line of work for which you might qualify. Administrators typically handle more network-related responsibilities than support specialists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5 or more years of experience as an administrator can help you become a network architect.
Is Computer Networking Hard?
For a Bachelor of Science in Computer Networking, you’ll take many tech-focused classes. Examples of course topics include computer logic, system security, routing fundamentals, and network troubleshooting. In addition to your computing courses, you might also take statistics and a technical writing class.
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There are often group projects in networking programs as well. You might work together with your classmates and learn to communicate clearly throughout the process. Some bachelor’s degree programs include internships. During an internship, you could be challenged to put your classroom lessons into practice.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Computer Networking Degree Online?
Bachelor’s degrees in computer networking generally take 4 years to complete with full-time enrollment. Depending on your situation, though, you might not need to spend that much time in school.
Many online colleges accept transfer credit. By transferring in past coursework, you can typically graduate sooner. Plus, online programs often use accelerated schedules, with classes that last only about 8 weeks months each. Taking these types courses year-round can often speed up your time to completion.
What’s the Difference Between Computer Programming vs. Networking?
In a computer programming degree, you’ll study networks. In a networking degree, you’ll study programming. So, what’s the difference?
|Computer Programming||Computer Networking|
According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, programmers usually make more than network administrators but less than network architects.
Is a Computer Networking Bachelor’s Degree Worth It?
Yes, a computer networking bachelor’s degree is worth it for many students. Jobs in computer and information technology are increasingly common. Positions in this sector are expected to grow at a 13% rate over the next ten years (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
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Network studies could prepare you to work in many different industries. Tech professionals are needed in manufacturing, business, government, education, computer systems design, healthcare, and other types of organizations. Your networking career can also grow with you. As you gain experience and certifications, your responsibilities may increase.
Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Computer Networking Degree Program
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Bismarck State College offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity and Information Technology. The program teaches hands-on skills in computer networking, configuration, data security, and more. Classes are available in on-campus, synchronous online, and asynchronous online formats. On-campus students do need to own their own laptops to fully participate.
Bismarck State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
DeVry University offers a Bachelor’s in Information Technology and Networking with a specialization in Cloud-Based Networking and Virtualization. The program focuses on hands-on learning and can help students gain CompTIA certification. Courses include Introduction to Digital Devices, Fundamentals of Information Technology and Networking, Fundamentals of Information Systems Security, and more.
DeVry University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Florida State College at Jacksonville offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Systems and Networking. Prospective students can apply at any time to begin in fall, spring, or summer. The program includes courses such as Network Fundamentals (Cisco I), Operating Systems Foundations, Enterprise Networking, Security, and Automation, and more.
Florida State College at Jacksonville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Herzing University offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Networking. Classes are 100% online and allow students to learn at their own pace and on their own schedules. Students can potentially finish in less than 3 years. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for CompTIA, Microsoft, and Cisco certification exams.
Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Lindenwood University offers an online program for a BS in Information Technology with a concentration in Networking. Students can typically finish in 2 to 4 years. The program is highly customizable so students can tailor the curriculum to their career goals. Lindenwood works to ensure that online students receive the same resources and support as traditional students.
Lindenwood is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Monroe College offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Networks and Cybersecurity that can be earned online or on campus. Students in the program have access to tutoring, internships, and other resources. Coursework includes Introduction to Information Technology, Wireless Technology, Cisco I: Cisco Networking Basics, and more.
Monroe College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
North Carolina State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a concentration in Cybersecurity. The curriculum covers topics about networks, computer architecture, programming languages, and more. Numerous elective options are available, and the school’s advisers can help students choose the best ones to meet their goals.
North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Rogers State University offers a BS in Business Information Technology with a concentration in Computer Network Administration. The degree is available online. Coursework includes Fundamentals of Information and Cybersecurity, Microcomputer Applications, Cybersecurity Investigations, Systems Analysis, Computer Architecture, and more.
Rogers State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Strayer University’s Bachelor of Science in Networking consists of forty courses that are each 11 weeks long. Courses include Introduction to Information Technology, Object-Oriented Computer Programming, Introduction to Relational Database Management Systems, and more. Classes are available online and at multiple campus locations.
Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Central Missouri offers a BS in Computer Science with a Computer Networking option. The program is primarily on campus, but some courses are available online. Students in the program have a variety of study abroad and internship opportunities. The curriculum teaches knowledge of both hardware and software.
The University of Central Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Bachelor Degree in Computer Networking Online
Today’s organizations need networking professionals. With a computer network degree, you could be better equipped to pursue these in-demand positions.
During your time in college, you can learn about cloud computing, system architecture, databases, routers, programming languages, and more. To prepare for leadership positions, you may also learn management skills. You can even acquire this knowledge without stepping foot on a college campus. Accredited online programs can provide a beneficial setting for getting a technology education.
To get started, you can check out the various bachelors programs in computer networking or system administrator degree programs from accredited schools. The sooner you start exploring your options, the sooner you may find the program that best aligns with your interests and goals.