Updated July 2023
Thinking about starting a career in the fast-growing field of computer networking? Your first step is to understand what a network technician's job is all about.
Network technicians have one of the most important roles in IT. They install, optimize, maintain, and protect the computer networks that all kinds of businesses use for daily operations. Ultimately, the technician's job is to keep the network running smoothly, efficiently, and securely.
But what does that involve? If you take on this role, what exactly will you be doing each day?
Network technician responsibilities vary a bit from company to company. But no matter where you work, there are five main tasks you'll be expected to perform.
Let's go through them one by one. Find out if becoming a network technician is right for you and what to expect at work.
1. INSTALLING AND CONFIGURING NETWORK HARDWARE & SOFTWARE
As a network technician, one of your main duties is to get all the network components set up properly. That means installing and configuring network hardware, software, switches, routers, servers, and firewalls.
Setting up employee workstations is another key task. You may need to install the operating system and application software, connect to the network, migrate data, and install printer drivers.
Or you might set up a VPN (virtual private network) for remote workers.
Putting all the pieces in place ensures users have what they need to get their jobs done.
2. MAINTAINING, OPTIMIZING & SECURING THE NETWORK
Getting things set up is just the first step. Network technicians are also responsible for making sure the system works as efficiently as possible. In other words, you're supposed to "optimize" the network.
For example, you might install software that monitors network traffic and security threats so you can see where improvements are needed.
You'll also be expected to perform data backups and install security patches and updates. You need to schedule this kind of maintenance for a time that causes the least disruption to other employees, which might mean evenings or weekends.
Employers want techs who can analyze network performance and continually find ways of optimizing it.
Solving problems is a core part of this job. When something goes wrong, you'll be expected to use your diagnostic and troubleshooting skills to identify the issue and come up with a solution.
Here are some common problems network technicians deal with:
☑️ The network going down—Could be due to a hardware failure, power outage, security breach, or other problem
☑️ IP address duplication—Frequently happens when someone assigns a static IP address to a device and then installs a DHCP server
☑️ Print jobs not going through—Could be an outdated driver or a network connectivity issue on the printer
☑️ Sluggish internet speed—Often caused by network congestion or an overloaded port on a router☑️ A workstation that loses internet connection—May be due to a faulty network card, a bad cable, or a weak Wi-Fi signal
Quality network technician training will teach you the skills you need to rock these kinds of challenges.
Maintaining accurate records is another network technician responsibility.
Keeping track of established procedures and troubleshooting steps ensures that time isn't wasted trying to figure out the same problems over and over again.
It also ensures that all team members can follow consistent best practices.
You might be asked to document things like:
☑️ A directory of all the hardware the company uses, complete with serial numbers
☑️ A network map that shows where each hardware piece can be found☑️ A plan to recover data in case of hardware damage or failure
5. PROVIDING TRAINING AND SUPPORT
Not every part of a network technician's job is about working with cables, routers, and switches. Technicians are also expected to give training and advice to end users.
That could involve taking customers, employees, or even managers through the basics of a system and explaining security threats and operating procedures.
This takes patience and good interpersonal skills. You need to be able to talk about complex technical issues in a way that non-technical people can understand.
Employers like to hire network technicians with strong communication skills who can connect with people at varying levels of expertise.
HOW CAN YOU BECOME A NETWORK TECHNICIAN?
How can you master the skills required to be a successful network technician? You have a couple of training options.1. Earn a bachelor's degree in computer science.
A degree provides a good grounding in computing theory along with advanced training in networking. It can help you land higher-level technician positions and move up through the ranks more quickly.
However, it takes four years to complete. That makes it the longer and more expensive option.
2. Get a college diploma in computer networking.
A college computer networking course offers quick training on the specific skills you need to land an entry-level technician job. From there, you can work your way into more advanced roles.
Networking diploma programs typically take two years or less and are much cheaper than degree programs.
Neither option is inherently better. It just depends on your priorities and your budget.
EXPLORE NETWORK TECHNICIAN TRAINING AT HERZING COLLEGE
Ready to learn more about becoming a network technician?
Graduates are qualified for roles like network technician, network administrator, technical support specialist, and network operations analyst.
Click below to get complete program details or chat live with an admissions advisor who can answer your questions. We're here to help!