So, you're considering becoming a network technician. Over the last several years, this career path has become an increasingly popular way of breaking into the IT field.
Diploma programs are relatively quick to complete (about 12 months), and usually include sought-after certifications—helping students transition into the workforce without investing in years of university study.
Demand for computer networking specialists is up across Ontario (and most of Canada), adding a degree of certainty to this training path. Plus, advancements in IT and communications technologies make now a particularly exciting time to enter the field.
Wondering what else you should know about launching a networking career? Start by reviewing the profession's most commonly-reported pros and cons, and the general skillset you'll need to succeed as a network technician.
Typical Challenges for Network Technicians
Every workplace has its own unique culture, dynamics, operational goals, and technical challenges. Pros and cons for network technicians will vary depending on those variables; however, there are certain challenges associated with the profession that are reported across the board. These are some of the most common:
1) The studying doesn't stop after college
Market research shows that in order to stay competitive in networking, and land good positions, network specialists must commit to continuous learning throughout their careers.
You will need to keep up with escalating security threats, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and a host of other factors that will dramatically impact network admin over the coming years. In short, the studying doesn't stop after college.
2) Working under pressure
When a business or organization's network goes down, or is compromised by a security breach, the pressure is on to find a solution—quickly! Lost time means lost money, slowed productivity, and a very unhappy employer.
It's up to the network administrators and technicians to diagnose the problem, implement fixes, and find ways to prevent similar issues in the future. You'll need to be a fast problem-solver who can work within tight deadlines while keeping a cool head.
3) The field is male dominated (although this is beginning to change)
If you're a woman considering a network technician career, you might feel a bit outnumbered by male colleagues. The most recent report from Statistics Canada shows more women are beginning to enter the field, but 80% of all network professionals are still men.
This may not be a big deal for some prospective students, but it's worth noting.
4) Working overtime and on-call
You can expect to work on the weekend, or put in overtime during the week, in order to handle network problems and emergencies. You'll need to be flexible and ready to respond to network issues as they arise, even when you're "off duty."
Top Benefits of Becoming a Network Technician
Market research from the Canada Job Bank shows positive employment trends for network technicians in Ontario—trends that are expected to continue for the next several years.
The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in particular is expected to produce jobs for technicians because that's where Canada's largest number of information, communication, and technology firms are based. There is also a high number of financial services companies in the GTA, which sustain consistent demand for network specialists.
Other benefits of working in the networking field include:
1) Job options in a range of sectors
Many kinds of organizations and businesses rely on computer networks. Technicians and administrators can find job options in government, computer systems design firms, medium-to-large sized enterprises, non-profit organizations, etc. You can move around until you find the right fit.
2) Feeling challenged and valued
There's always something new to learn in network administration. We mentioned continuous learning as a "challenge" earlier, but for many professionals, this is what keeps the job interesting and fulfilling. Plus, a stronger skillset makes you more valuable to employers, which in turn increases your own sense of job satisfaction.
3) Opportunities to specialize
Fascinated by cyber security? Want to become a specialist in hybrid cloud? Network technicians and administrators have many opportunities to pursue certifications and specializations in areas they find most compelling.
4) Good salary with room for growth
The average salary for network technicians in the GTA is about $42, 000 per year. According to Statistics Canada, technicians and administrators at the highest end of the pay spectrum earn as much as $90, 000 per year. This is a job with strong growth potential.
What skills do you need to break into network admin and build a successful career? Core strengths and attributes include:
- solid training in installing, configuring, maintaining, and protecting computer networks, hardware, and software (strong product knowledge and technical skills)
- excellent customer service and communication skills
- excellent problem-solving and troubleshooting skills
- cool-headed, can work under pressure
- passionate about continued learning
Your next step is to speak with Admissions. An Admissions Advisor will guide you through the Networking program, costs, financial aid, how to apply, and more.
Chat live with an Advisor now. Or click below to explore the program in more detail. We're here to help!