Network Technician
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Occupation Overview

Computing technology in the Bay Area is among the most sophisticated in the world. We also have sophisticated networking capabilities. Most business computers communicate with one another through networks. These networked computers can be close to each other (even in the same office), linked via a Local Area Network (LAN). They can also be thousands of miles apart, linked via a Wide Area Network (WAN). In an office environment networks are often used to send information from an individual's computer to another computer or to a shared printer.

The number of networks is expected to continue to grow in the future, as is the required bandwidth and geographic dispersion of users. New technologies, such as wireless, Virtual Private Networks and fiber are beginning to appear and will be more prevalent in the coming years. Biometrics will also start to emerge which provide network security via fingerprint or retinal scans.

Positions available in this field are also called: LAN Technician, Network Control Technician, Network Operations Technician. The Bay Area is one of the best places to receive training for this field in the U.S., and jobs are available for those with the proper training.

The 2001 economic downturn has had a moderate negative impact on job availability for Network Technicians. Jobs still exist, though they might start at a lower level than a year ago. The companies that had networks before the downturn started still have their networks, and the networks continue to need support. When the economy rebounds there should be even more of these jobs available than before the downturn.

Network Technicians need to understand the integration of technologies such as computing hardware (e.g., clients and servers), local networks (ethernet), networking protocols (TCP/IP), and software environments (e.g., Windows NT or UNIX).


Future Growth Opportunities

Opportunities for Advancement:
With further education, several types of positions are possible, including Network Analyst, Network Consultant, Network Engineer, LAN Manager, and Manager of Corporate Networks.

Skills Transferable to:
System Administrator, Technical Support, Electronics Technician, Sales Representative, Training, and Support Specialist.


Job Descriptions

Network Technicians assist in the installation, set up, test, maintenance, and troubleshooting of LANs and/or WANs. They are responsible for routine tasks such as adding new accounts, assigning passwords, and keeping a variety of logs (e.g., number of failed login attempts, or the number and size of print jobs sent to each printer on the network). They speak with LAN Managers or Network Analysts about specific problems on the network, and are involved in updating and/or fixing existing systems.

Entry Level: $8 - 23 / hour ($13 / hour average)

Experienced, New to Job: $11 - 32 / hour ($17 / hour average)

Experienced in Job: $11 - 42 / hour ($19 / hour average)

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