Updated December 2023
Looking to break into the field of computer networking? Wise choice. The industry is growing fast and offers a broad range of job possibilities.
Networking professionals work in schools, hospitals, government agencies, IT services firms, banks, businesses, and more. Any organization big enough to use a computer network needs experts to mange, optimize, and protect it.
The Government of Canada Job Bank predicts moderate to good employment growth for network technicians in most areas of the country. So it's a good time to begin your career.
But how can you get into the field if you're a total beginner? What kind of training and skills do you need to get hired if you've never worked in computer networking before?
This post will guide you through the process. Follow these steps to land a computer networking job even if you have no prior IT experience.
1. Take a look at ENTRY-LEVEL COMPUTER NETWORKING JOB OPTIONS
Your first step is to look at some entry-level computer networking job postings. This will give you an overview of common job titles for beginners.
Here's a sample of postings we found for entry-level networking positions:
☑️ Help Desk Technician for a contact centre
☑️ Desktop Services Technician for an aviation maintenance company
☑️ Computer Service Technician for a computer repair shop
☑️ Network Technician for an IT consulting firm
☑️ Junior System Administrator for a trucking company
☑️ User Support Technician for a fleet management company
So now you know what kinds of networking jobs are out there. Helpdesk and user support positions are the most common roles for newcomers.
2. LEARN THE SKILLS NEEDED TO LAND AN ENTRY-LEVEL NETWORKING JOB
There are certain fundamental skills you need to break into this industry and stand out from the competition. It's important to know what these are so you can select a computer networking course that covers all the essentials.
To land your first networking job, you need to learn how to:
☑️ Install, configure, and update network hardware and software (including servers, routers, switches, and operating systems)
☑️ Optimize network performance
☑️ Manage network access and keep data secure
☑️ Troubleshoot problems and find solutions
☑️ Explain technical issues and security protocols in a way that end users can understand
☑️ Document things like disaster recovery procedures, network maps, and software licenses
☑️ Work well in a team
☑️ Provide excellent customer service☑️ Keep up with technological changes and continually develop your skills
3. Select a computer networking training program
Most jobs in computer networking require some form of post-secondary training. There are a couple of options you can pursue.
1) Get a university degree in computer science or engineering. This takes four years of study and a significant investment in tuition.
2) Earn a college diploma in computer networking. This takes one to two years and costs much less than a degree.
The truth is you don't need a degree to get an entry-level networking job. And if you're good at the work, you can advance into higher positions over time.
On the other hand, a degree teaches you more advanced networking knowledge, which may help you advance your career more quickly.
It comes down to your budget, priorities, and career goals.
4. COMPLETE AN INTERNSHIP TO GAIN REAL WORK EXPERIENCE
If you don't have any computer networking experience, you definitely want a training program that includes an internship.
An internship is essential for total beginners. You get to connect with a local employer, apply your skills, gain confidence, and add experience to your resume.
As a computer networking intern, you'll be doing tasks like:
☑️ Configuring switches and routers
☑️ Troubleshooting web applications or operating systems
☑️ Providing network support
☑️ Solving software or hardware issues
Some students get hired straight from their internships. At the very least, you'll get your foot in the door.
5. PURSUE COMPUTER NETWORKING CERTIFICATIONS
Certifications are an important step in advancing your computer networking career. They show you meet global standards for networking professionals.
These are some popular networking certifications for beginners:
☑️ CompTIA Network+
☑️ CompTIA Security+
☑️ Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
You don't need any formal training or experience to take these certification exams (although CompTIA and Cisco both recommend having a bit of work experience first).
A good computer networking program will cover the skills and knowledge included on these exams. With some additional self-study, you can pursue certification right after you graduate (which will help you land your first job).
EXPLORE COMPUTER NETWORKING TRAINING AT HERZING COLLEGE
Want to learn more about getting into the computer networking field?
Check out Herzing's computer networking technology training, delivered online.
You will learn the fundamentals of computer networking, including hardware and software installation, network security, optimization, troubleshooting, and technical support. Courses include preparation for leading certification exams.
Graduates are fully prepared for entry-level roles as network technicians, junior network administrators, and technical support specialists.
Wondering if this training is right for you?
Your next step is to contact an admissions advisor. An advisor can answer all your questions and provide additional information on networking training and careers.
Click below to explore the program and connect live with an advisor. We're here to help!