The technology field is constantly changing, and in order to find a job, professionals must receive training that is on the cutting edge of the industry. Online telecommunications degrees provide this training by giving students the technical and analytical skills needed to work with computer systems in a variety of settings.
Those who earn online telecommunications degrees often go on to enter careers as network and computer systems administrators. These professionals serve an important function in organizations since they are responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of computers and their networks. The job duties of these professionals include the following tasks:
- Assessing the network hardware and software needs of an organization
- Choosing products that will help networks work more efficiently
- Backing up data and creating data recovery protocols
- Installing computer hardware systems and software applications
- Testing hardware and software used in an organization's computer network
- Working with vendors in order to make purchasing decisions
- Performing maintenance on hardware and software
- Training users on the proper use of network equipment
- Troubleshooting products when problems arise
- Providing technical support to network users
Workers who pursue network and computer systems administrator jobs generally get hired with a bachelor's degree. Those who want to advance in their careers may be required to continue their education, however. In addition, these professionals often take continuing education courses in order to stay abreast of the technological developments that affect the field.
Certifications are not required for network and computer systems administrators, but they can be a good way for them to compete in the job market. There are many certifications available through technology companies such as Cisco and Microsoft.
Coursework in Online Telecommunications Degree Programs
Online telecommunication degree programs often have diverse coursework that combines computer science, mathematics, engineering and business. The curriculum of these programs will be specific to the school that students attend, but there are some courses that can often be found in technology departments. The following are some examples of these classes.
This course provides the framework that students need to understand the hardware and software encompassed in computer networks, including the physical and applications layers of these systems. Some of the specific topics that the class may discuss include transmission media, internetworking devices, encoding analog and digital signals, and web applications. Professors may require their students to participate in computer labs in order to learn skills like network analysis.
Wireless telecommunications networks
Students who enroll in online wireless telecommunications networks classes learn the nuts and bolts of broadband radio technologies that have fueled a great deal of innovation in recent years. From Android smartphones to iPads to VOIP, this course covers how data is transmitted over wireless networks and the safeguards that can be put in place to protect that information. Cellular network design, radio resources management, roaming, encryption, authentication and mobility handoff signaling are also discussed.
Information technology project management
Information technology project management courses provide an understanding of how information technology projects are managed from conception to the final product. Students can expect to learn about project planning, effective strategies for working in a team environment, drafting project contracts, analyzing factors like obsolescence, and creating and adhering to project budgets.
Network and Internet security
This class provides information on the security measures that are specific to the Internet. Specific course topics include virtual private networks, firewalls, wireless network security, and authentication and authorization controls.
Digital forensics is a growing field that allows professionals to apply their technological know-how to legal issues. Students who take digital forensics courses learn how to conduct a forensic investigation on a computer, including specific topics such as email investigations, data acquisition and file recovery. In addition, this course covers the criteria that digital forensics professionals must meet in order to be qualified as an expert witness, as well as how to write a forensic report and strategies for providing testimony in a court case.
Network design and implementation
Those who study network design and implementation learn the principles and trends of network design architecture. Some of the topics that may be covered include traffic engineering, security techniques, multimedia networking, congestion control and Internet applications.
Completing classes is just a portion of what is expected of students in online telecommunication degree programs. Other requirements may include participating in an internship to gain workplace experience or completing an individual or group project. Those who are earning an online telecommunications degree at the graduate level may be required to complete a thesis or comprehensive examination.
Career Outlook for Professionals With Telecommunications Degrees
Between 2012 and 2022, the job opportunities for network and computer systems administrators are expected to increase by 12 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is a rate that the agency reports is about as fast as the average for all other professions. The reason for this growth has been attributed to certain technological changes, such as faster systems and mobile capabilities, which are expected to cause organizations to upgrade their networks. Also, technological changes in the health care industry will contribute to this growth.
On the other hand, other technological changes may slow occupational growth in some cases. For example, the increased use of cloud computing systems may mean that administrators will not be needed among companies that have embraced this technology.
The BLS reports that the median annual income for network and computer systems administrators in 2014 was $75,790, with the average salaries for this profession generally ranging from $46,220 to $120,000.
Telecommunications Degree Online, Southern New Hampshire University, http://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/bachelors/bs-in-information-technologies/network-and-telecommunications
Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree in Telecom, NACTEL, http://www.nactel.org/programs/bs.html
Telecommunications Degrees by Degree Program Level, Study.com, http://study.com/telecommunications_degrees.html
Network and Computer Systems Administrators, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm
Network and Computer Systems Administrators, O*NET, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1142.00
Master of Science in Telecommunication, Boston University, http://www.bu.edu/met/programs/graduate/telecommunication/
Telecommunications Technology master's, University of Denver, http://universitycollege.du.edu/ict/degree/masters/telecommunications-technology-online/degreeid/389#overview
B.S. Telecom, Pace University, http://support.csis.pace.edu/bsintelecom/program/BSTelecom.cfm
Master of Science in Information Technology: Telecommunications Management, University of Maryland University College, http://www.umuc.edu/academic-programs/masters-degrees/information-technology-with-telecommunications-specialization.cfm
Online Telecommunications Master's Degree, U.S. News & World Report, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/telecommunications-masters-degree
Telecommunications, SUNY Poly, https://sunypoly.edu/graduate/telecommunications/
Network and Computer Systems Administrators, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151142.htm