Learn About Being a Network Technician
What does a network technician do?
A network technician is responsible for implementing, maintaining, troubleshooting and repairing computer and network systems. Network technicians set up Internet connections, establish different types of networks and connect them. Some of the specific responsibilities for this role include:
Troubleshooting computer software and hardware issues, making repairs and performing scheduled updates
Partnering with the IT team to ensure that the software is correctly installed and launching and employee computers
Provide technical support for clients and end-users through various lines of communication, including phones and live chat support
Securing the computer’s computer network against cyber-attacks, which includes installing antivirus software and ensuring it is regularly updated
Educating employees on different facets of the network and briefing senior management on possible causes and solutions of problems
Selecting the best equipment and programs for a company and requesting new equipment if what’s being currently used becomes unreliable
Salaries for this position vary according to your experience level and geographic location:
- Common salary in the U.S.: $21.39 per hour
- Some salaries range from $7.25 to $47.80 per hour.
Network technician requirements
There are several qualifications required to obtain a position as a network technician. They include:
Network technicians are typically required to hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in information systems, computer engineering or another closely related field. Some employers may accept candidates who hold an associate’s degree or certification from a technical or vocational school. Graduates who complete these programs can transfer their credit to a bachelor’s program if they want to pursue further education at a later date.
Many candidates receive on-the-job training for these positions, although the duration of training can vary depending on the size and complexity of the organization. Some companies train for weeks while others may require up to three months or training for this role. An internship is recommended to allow students to obtain practical instruction from experienced IT professionals.
Many employers prefer candidates to hold industry-specific certifications. There are a variety available that can benefit network technicians, including:
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading provider of IT certifications that are vendor-neutral. This A+ certification is widely recognized as a qualifying credential for IT support roles, as it prepares candidates to troubleshoot and problem solve.
This certification, also offered by CompTIA, verifies that candidates have the ability to design and implement networks, configure and maintain network devices, use switches and routers to segment traffic, identify the benefits and drawbacks of an existing network configuration and troubleshoot network problems.
This certification assesses that candidates have the baseline cybersecurity skills to perform core security functions in real-world environments.
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
Offered by Cisco Systems, this associate-level certification covers a variety of topics, including network access and fundamentals, IP connectivity and services, security fundamentals and automation and programmability.
Cisco Certified Network Professional Routing & Switching (CCNP R&S)
This Cisco certification verifies candidates have the ability to plan, implement and troubleshoot local area networks (LANs) and wide-area networks (WANs) at an enterprise level for large corporations. It is ideal for network professionals who have a minimum of one year of experience.
There are a variety of skills that are necessary for network technicians to succeed in their roles. They include:
This includes both verbal and written communication skills. They must be able to communicate instructions clearly via email and possibly over a live chat support. They must also be able to describe technical problems and solutions in a way that non-technical users will be able to understand and implement.
These refer to the ability to perform multiple activities at the same time and is a critical skill as network technicians are often answering employee or customer questions while performing other routine maintenance or troubleshooting tasks.
Problem-solving skills are critical in the role of network technician, where you will likely be troubleshooting software or hardware problems frequently. These skills require active listening and analysis to identify a problem, creativity and research to identify a solution and communication to relay that information to the end-user in a way they will understand and be able to act upon.
These refer to the ability to perform specific computer-centric tasks, such as knowing computer equipment or programming languages.
Network technician work environment
Network technicians typically work in office environments with the following characteristics:
- Extended periods of time sitting at a desk
- Using office equipment like computers, printers and phones
- May be required to work nights or weekends
Network technicians are often employed by financial firms government offices or hospitals. They may work in-house within individual businesses or they may be employed by computer system firms. Regardless of the field in which they work, their primary role is still overseeing the organization’s computer systems and network.
How to become a network technician
These are the typical steps you should take to pursue a career as a network technician:
1. Pursue an education
Most employers prefer to hire candidates with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Perform a search in your geographic area for open network technician positions and determine the level of education required for roles in your area. Some employers will accept a candidate with an associate’s degree or completion of a certificate program, especially if those candidates have practical experience in an office environment.
2. Obtain certifications
Certifications help to verify you have the skills to perform necessary IT-related tasks and there are a variety available with different experience requirements. Consider acquiring an industry-related certificate to give yourself a competitive edge over other candidates.
3. Acquire experience
Search for internship opportunities as you are completing your formal education or after graduation. Even a few months of hands-on experience can give you an edge over other candidates when searching for entry-level opportunities in an IT department.
4. Update your resume
Update your resume with your highest level of education, certifications and relevant work experience. For each role you have held, including the employer’s name, your job title and the responsibilities you held in that role. Try to highlight key skills you used in those positions that could transfer to a position as a network technician.
5. Apply for jobs
Perform a search for openings positions for network positions in your geographic area. Identify the roles for which you are most qualified based upon your experience, certifications, work history and education. Apply using your updated resume and a well-crafted cover letter that has been tailed for each specific role.
Network technician job description example
Walker Communication is seeking an experienced network technician to join our growing IT department. This person will work under the guidance of the network administrator and will be responsible for building new computers and servers, setting up new networks, maintaining and troubleshooting our existing networks and installing and configuring switches and routers. Candidates must have experience loading operating systems and building computers as well as knowledge of DNS and router configuration. A bachelor’s degree and one year of experience are required for this role. The ideal candidate will hold a Network+ or CCNA certification.