According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), associate degree-holders earn an average of $836 per week, which is $124 more than workers with only a high school diploma. An associate degree can prove even more lucrative for students who pursue degrees in sought-after fields, such as network administration.
An online associate degree in network administration can lead to rewarding careers in network administration, system administration, and IT management. Additionally, associate degree-holders can pursue a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as computer science or cybersecurity. This guide covers important information about online associate degrees in network administration, including curricula, career and salary potential, and pathways for further education.
While network administration degrees mainly focus on developing technical skills, these programs also build conceptual knowledge about the field. For example, students study the importance of IT in business and explore the basic principles of networking, information security, and computer science. Students also learn how major operating systems function.
However, curricula vary by school. Some schools offer administration programs as a concentration within an information technology degree, while others boast a standalone network administration degree. Below are some common courses within online network administration associate degree programs.
Associate programs often include introductory classes on information security. In these courses, students explore common network vulnerabilities along with the methods hackers use to infiltrate computer systems. Students also examine security measures, such as firewalls.
In introductory networking courses, students explore the basic technologies and skills of data networking. They also become familiar with general networking terminology. In addition, students learn about the fundamental technical concepts of computer networks and telecommunications. The course also covers the business applications of networking.
Aspiring systems administrators need a strong background in Unix and Windows operating systems. This course teaches students about the Unix/Linux operating system and system administration. Topics include Linux commands, networking, troubleshooting, security, and file systems.
Database courses prepare students for work as database administrators and managers. These classes cover database system architecture, database design theories, storage, and data models. Learners may also gain experience using Structured Query Language to retrieve data.
Basic information technology classes examine the role of IT departments in businesses and organizations. Students may also learn about IT subfields, such as networking, security, and management. Learners study computer hardware, web development, and programming.
The top accredited network administration programs develop technical skills specific to network administration, along with abilities that students can apply to other careers. Associate in network administration programs position students to start working immediately upon graduation or pursue further study with a bachelor's program.
Many programs include communication courses that prepare students to draft written reports and orally present complex technical concepts to colleagues and upper management. Network administration programs may also build skills in accounting and management. However, most programs focus on developing the technical competencies necessary to design, maintain, repair, and troubleshoot computer networks.
Students learn to analyze an organization's networking needs and implement systems like local area networks, wide area networks, and intranets. They also learn to identify security threats and install firewalls, encryption programs, and other security tools. Most programs also teach students to install, configure, and manage routers and switches.
Given their strong knowledge of information technology and skills in information security, networking, and system maintenance, graduates of network administration programs can land diverse IT and computing industry positions. The BLS projects more than 557,000 new job opportunities for computer professionals through 2026.
The next sections explore potential career options for network administration graduates.
Since nearly all organizations rely on some kind of computer system, online network administration associate degree programs prepare graduates for jobs in a variety of industries, such as educational services, finance and insurance, and company and enterprise management.
Graduates can also pursue careers outside of network administration, applying their skills toward jobs in computer programming, computer systems analysis, or web design. Below are some common job titles and average salaries for network administration graduates.
Average Annual Salary: $82,050
Network and computer systems administrators install, manage, and repair computer systems in various organizations. Many employers require a bachelor's degree, but some accept a certificate or associate degree.
Average Annual Salary: $53,470
Computer support specialists may offer technical help to users or address an organization's IT problems. They sometimes need a bachelor's degree, but many hold an associate degree.
Average Annual Salary: $69,430
Web developers design, build, and administer websites. They meet with clients to determine a website's purpose and use programming languages to create a site's appearance and functionality.
Average Annual Salary: $88,740
Computer systems analysts commonly need a bachelor's degree, though an associate degree suffices for some positions. These professionals examine an organization's systems, identify problems, and implement solutions.
Average Annual Salary: $84,280
Computer programmers use various coding languages, such as Java and HTML, to build applications and operating systems. They work in industries like computer systems design, finance, and software publishing.
Network administration associate graduates can immediately start their career or advance their technology skills and knowledge through a four-year degree. The following sections offer an overview of educational options that graduates can pursue after earning an associate degree in network administration.
After earning an online associate in network administration degree, many graduates pursue a bachelor's degree to expand their career and salary potential. Prospective bachelor's students should research transfer agreements and policies at their current school and the institution they plan to transfer to. Associate learners can consult with their academic advisor to plan transfer options and ensure they meet transfer requirements.
While associate degree-holders can pursue entry-level positions, a bachelor's degree prepares graduates for high-level roles with more responsibility and pay. Network administration graduates might consider earning bachelor's degrees in fields like computer science, information technology management, or the subjects listed below.
These programs build on associate-level coursework and ready students for more advanced network and systems administration positions. Employers commonly require network administrators to hold a bachelor's degree.
A bachelor's degree in cybersecurity helps associate degree-holders advance to positions as information security analysts and penetration testers who protect an organization's systems and information.
While an associate degree in network administration opens the door to entry-level web developer jobs, a bachelor's in the field enables graduates to secure more specialized positions, such as backend developer.
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