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Network Administration and Security

In the computer-driven, Web-driven 21st century, there's a high demand for specialists who can design, install and troubleshoot computer networks. There's also a high demand for professionals who can protect computer users—and networks— from viruses, identity thieves, hackers and other cyber criminals.

Whether you're changing careers or are looking to build on your existing information technology (IT) education, let the College of Lake County (CLC) be your gateway. Practical courses, taught by exceptional instructors, will prepare you for a rewarding, well-paying career.

The backbone of today's digital workplace

In the Digital Age, yesterday's science fiction is today's common office task. We now e-mail pictures, videos and documents instantly—to the person in the next cubicle or to thousands of co-workers across the country or overseas. We also participate in real-time video webinars, eliminating the time and expense of traveling.

Making sure an organization's computers are working together, safely and securely, to accomplish everyday tasks is the job of a network administrator. This career not only maintains the infrastructure of the Digital Age, it pays well and is among the Top Ten fastest-growing careers through 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

What does this career involve?

If you're fascinated with how computers work—especially the power of networked computers—then consider a career as a Network Administrator. In this fast-paced, rewarding career, you'll do the following:

  • Design and install servers and work stations that form the information backbone of an organization. Make sure that the servers are backed up and that the server is secure from unauthorized access.
  • Provide onsite, day-to-day technical support for software users. Maintain network software, troubleshoot problems and maintain a disaster recovery plan.
  • Plan and implement network security measures. Keep servers up to date with security patches. Install and configure firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-spam to prevent viruses or other electronic vandalism. Secure wireless "WiFi" zones to prevent cyber spying or unauthorized use.
  • Learn, and implement, the latest software and operating systems—From Windows 2007 to Linux Fedora6.
  • Recommend upgrades, patches and new software and hardware.

What are the typical job titles?

Entry-level positions include network administrator I and entry-level network administrator. With experience, you can advance to network administrator II or III, network planning manager, network security systems manager or chief information officer.

What kind of salary can you earn?

For network administrators in Chicagoland, the salary ranges from $37,300 to $92,200, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Please note: The salary can vary greatly by employer size, industry, employee credentials, years of experience, location and other factors.

What are the job prospects?

Network systems administrator is one of the top 10 fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs through 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CLC's network and security courses prepare you to take the exam to become certified by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). This respected, global association offers certification in the following areas:

  • A+—confirms a technician's ability to perform tasks such as installation, configuration, diagnosing, preventive maintenance and basic networking.
  • Security+—validates knowledge of communication security, infrastructure security, cryptography, operational security and general security concepts.
  • Network+—covers the installation, configuration and troubleshooting of basic networking hardware, protocols and services. Network+ certification also shows that you can work with wireless networking and gigabit Ethernet, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, Windows, Netware and network protocols.
  • Linux+—Earning a CompTIA Linux+ certification proves that a candidate can explain fundamental open source resources/licenses, demonstrate knowledge of user administration, understand file permissions/software configurations and manage local storage devices and network protocols.

In addition to CompTIA certification, CLC gives you the training to pass certification exams in three other areas:

  • Microsoft® Certified Professional (MCP) credential is for professionals who have the skills to successfully implement a Microsoft product or technology as part of a business solution in an organization.
  • The Server Administrator certification ensures that you have the skills to successfully manage and troubleshoot system environments running on the Microsoft Windows® operating system.
  • Security Certified Network Professional (SCNP). This vendor-neutral program, sponsored by Ascendent Learning, focuses on the required elements of securing a network, such as Windows and Linux systems. For more information about the certification, visit www.securitycertified.net.