Training requirements vary by occupation. Workers can enter this field with many different levels of formal education, but relevant computer skills are always needed. Certification may improve an applicant’s chances for employment and can help workers maintain adequate skill levels throughout their careers.
Education and training:
Network and computer systems administrators often are required to have a bachelor’s degree, although an associate degree or professional certification, along with related work experience, may be adequate for some positions. Most of these workers begin as computer support specialists before advancing into network or systems administration positions. Common majors for network and systems administrators are computer science, information science, and management information systems (MIS), but a degree in any field, supplemented with computer courses and experience, may be adequate. A bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field generally takes 4 years to complete and includes courses in computer science, computer programming, computer engineering, mathematics, and statistics. Most programs also include general education courses such as English and communications. MIS programs usually are part of the business school or college and contain courses such as finance, marketing, accounting, and management, as well as systems design, networking, database management, and systems security.
For network architect and database administrator positions, a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field generally is required, although some employers prefer applicants with a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in information systems. MBA programs usually require 2 years of study beyond the undergraduate degree, and, like undergraduate business programs, include courses on finance, marketing, accounting, and management, as well as database management, electronic business, and systems management and design. In addition to formal education, network architects may be required to have several years of relevant work experience.
For Webmasters, an associate degree or certification is sufficient although more advanced positions might require a computer-related bachelor’s degree. For telecommunications specialists, employers prefer applicants with an associate degree in electronics or a related field, but for some positions, experience may substitute for formal education. Applicants for security specialist and Web developer positions generally need a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field, but for some positions, related experience and certification may be adequate.
Certification and other qualifications:
Workers in these occupations must have strong problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills. Because they often deal with a number of tasks simultaneously, the ability to concentrate and pay close attention to detail also is important. Although these workers sometimes work independently, they frequently work in teams on large projects. As a result, they must be able to communicate effectively with other computer workers, such as programmers and managers, as well as with users or other staff who may have no computer background.
Jobseekers can enhance their employment opportunities by earning certifications, which are offered through product vendors, computer associations, and other training institutions. Many employers regard these certifications as the industry standard, and some require their employees to be certified. In some cases, applicants without formal education may use certification and experience to qualify for some positions.
Because technology changes rapidly, computer specialists must continue to acquire the latest skills. Many organizations offer intermediate and advanced certification programs that pertain to the most recent technological advancements.
The data sources for the information displayed here include: Virginia Career VIEW Research.