The Ins and Outs of Being a Computer Network Engineer

According to Newsweek magazine, in 2005 over three-quarters of all Americans were using the Internet for at least three hours per day. We have become a computer-driven world. We can pay our bills, check our bank accounts, work from home, contact friends, family, and even our children’s teachers. More than one billion internet users exist throughout the world. Even among those who do not have internet, more than 75% of all U.S. homes have at least one computer. Businesses cannot survive without computers in every office.

In the office, computers are used to contact clients, keep track of accounting records, handle payroll, and much more. Because all workers must have access to the same information, computer networks are used. Computer networks allow computers to communicate to each other through a network hub that stores all the vital information in one place keeping individual computers from becoming overloaded with high amounts of stored files and programs.

Unfortunately, this also leads to headaches if your computer crashes. Millions of viruses circulate throughout the world. These viruses can cause irreparable damage to business and home computers. Poorly installed software, incompatible components, old software, broken computer components, and other troublesome issues can all affect a computer’s performance. In many cases, it takes a trained computer specialist to restore a computer, install software, set up computer networks, diagnose computer errors, and keep computer systems running efficiently and effectively.

Computer Network Engineering

Computer Network Engineers set up business and home networking systems. They ensure that networked computers are running effectively. If problems occur, a computer network engineer must diagnose them and quickly work to get the system up and running before costly downtimes occur. Computer Technicians handle the same duties as many computer networking engineers. In fact, the names are virtually interchangeable. You may also find job descriptions calling the position computer network repairs, computer engineers, computer network technicians, etc.

There is far more to a computer network engineer’s job than just the computers. A computer network engineer has to plan the best arrangement of the computers in the network. Wiring must be run in an organized manner and then hooked up to the proper computer or component. If the network is wireless, the computer network engineer must arrange the wireless modems and hubs so that they receive a strong signal without any weak spots. Software and hardware must be installed and then checked to ensure it is running flawlessly. Periodic upgrades to the computer will need to be made. Virus scans, security systems, and spam filters must all be utilized to ensure a company’s information remains safe from hackers.

Computer network engineers also help a company plan their computer needs. They help design the appropriate system, install it, implement changes in order to increase productivity, and then handle all periodic maintenance. They are the key to creating a suitable system that will serve a business’s needs for years and years.

Computer Network Engineering requires either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. The programs are very extensive and may not suit every person. The courses require a person to have a strong interest in advanced math. Take a look at a typical program:

First Year:

  • Algebra
  • Calculus
  • Computer Architecture
  • Data Communications
  • Digital Electronics
  • English Composition
  • Introduction to Computers and Technology
  • Introduction to Computer Programming
  • Network Installation and Maintenance
  • Operating Systems I
  • PC Communications
  • Technical Writing
  • Trigonometry

Second Year:

  • Computer Assembly and Repairs
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Digital Electronics II
  • Introduction to Circuit Analysis
  • Introduction to Microprocessors
  • Networking I
  • Social Sciences

Third Year:

  • Business Communications
  • Humanities
  • Marketing
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Physics
  • Statistics
  • World Views

Fourth Year:

  • Analysis
  • Business Ethics
  • Business Law
  • Humanities II
  • Management
  • Programming and Troubleshooting
  • Project Management

Associate’s degree programs require you to fit in additional courses in the first two years. If you are going for a bachelor’s degree, you have four years to fit in the additional courses.

  • AC/DC Circuit Analysis
  • Advanced Networking
  • C/C++ Programming Languages
  • Digital Data Communications and Networking Systems
  • Electricity
  • Fiber Optics
  • LAN/WAN networking
  • Special Problems Encountered in Engineering Technology
  • Unix
  • Windows NT Operating Systems

Looking at these schedules, you can tell that the coursework is not your basic, run-of-the-mill material. A degree in computer network engineering requires hard work and strong computer skills. Enjoying all aspects of computers is critical!

With average monthly salaries of $4,500 to $5,000 per month and steadily increasing demand, computer networking engineering is an important job that is constantly advancing. Thousands of workers are hired to this lucrative career every year. If you enjoy computers, you may find the job to be immensely rewarding and challenging.