By: Aimee Claire
Over past few years, there’s been a lot of fuss about computer networking and there’s an old saying that information is power. Apply that principle to the world of business and information can also be money. Because IT networking plays such a critical role in many businesses, these skills have been proven extremely valuable.
In order to understand why IT networking is so valuable, it is first necessary to understand what it actually entails. In the simplest terms, networking is the practice of linking two or more computers or other computing devices together in order to share data and function. Networks are built with a combination of computer software and hardware. In essence, a network could be as small as a couple of computers or span multiple locations, hundreds of miles apart.
Business networks are usually built and maintained by specialized IT engineers. Communication, data storage and security requirements vary, depending on the specific business’ needs, but these are basic components of what IT specialists must bear in mind. A business network must have the speed, security, and capability to keep the company running smoothly, especially in today’s era of internet and intranet dependence. Anyone involved in the creation and maintenance of a business network must have a broad grasp of IT and its role within the commercial environment. This means that individuals must be able to reconcile the basics of old networking and security with the latest technologies.
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Improving one’s IT networking skills
Today, there is a high demand for individuals with IT networking skills, but those with advanced experience or a certification are even more attractive to prospective employers. The network administrator manages both the physical and virtual aspects of a company’s computer network and will play an integral role in the smooth operation of the organization as a whole. Dependable, practical and experienced individuals are always preferred and well compensated.
Because IT skills are so highly coveted by employers, there has been an explosion in the number of networking certifications available for IT professionals. There are night courses to hone existing skills and entire college curriculums; however, many individuals are now turning to online IT degree programs in which networking skills are taught, refreshed, and certified. People who are already employed as IT professionals often don’t need to cut into their employer’s time, since online courses are so flexible.
Online IT courses often focus on how to configure and maintain computer networks and cover hardware and software systems, as well as troubleshooting common issues, analyzing problems and ensuring optimum efficiency for all system users. Such courses also discuss how to manage users, share resources across the network and also deal with routers and switches in LANS, WANS and wireless network environments.
Network administrators do more than simply setting up individual users and accessing drives on servers. They also work with webmasters to manage company internets and intranets, ensure the safety of sensitive data and back-up company files on a regular basis. To be considered a true network administrator, Cisco Certified Network Administrator (CCNA) certification is required and can be obtained through a number of online courses. This certification should be renewed every three years.