Computer Systems / Networking

The Networking program is study is designed for students interested in occupations including: computer support specialists, network and computer systems administrators, computer hardware engineers, and computer network architects. Networking systems is either a stand-alone career or it can be used with other computer applications as a major aspect of broader computer science occupations. This program of study provides students the opportunity to acquire knowledge in both theory and practical applications pertaining to hardware, operating systems, safe mode, command prompt, security, networking, printers, peripheral devices, laptops, mobile devices, troubleshooting, and customer service management. Upon completion of the course, proficient students will have acquired skills and knowledge to install, configure, and maintain computer systems. Students will also identify types of networks, understand the layers of the open systems interconnection (OSI) model, and apply troubleshooting theory to the successful execution of networking tasks. Course content covers transmission control protocol, internet protocol, wired and wireless topologies, switching and routing, network hardware, wireless networking, and network operating systems (NOS). Upon completion of this program of study, proficient students will be prepared to sit for the CompTIA Network+ exam and will be eligible to pursue the IT industry-standard credential, CompTIA’s A+ certification.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development listed five information technology jobs on the list of Hot Careers to 2022. Among these careers were Network and Computer Systems Administrators, Computer and Information Systems Managers, and Computer User Support Specialists. According to O*Net, the rate of employment is expected to grow in these occupations. Computer Support Specialists will grow at a faster rate of (26 percent) compared to Network and Computer Systems Administrators (19 percent) or Computer and Information Systems Managers (23 percent), all at above average growth.
Although these occupations are all related to Networking Systems, they each have different roles and responsibilities. Network Architects are different in that they design and build data communication networks such as LANs, WANs, and intranets. Database Administrators use specific software to store, organize, and secure data from unauthorized access. Computer and Information Systems Managers plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis, and computer programming. Network and Computer Systems Administrators are responsible for the daily operation of network systems. For example, administrators organize, install, and support systems such as local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments, intranets, and other communication data systems. Finally, Computer Support Specialists Analyze, test, troubleshoot, and evaluate existing network systems, such as local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet systems or a segment of a network system. Perform network maintenance to ensure networks operate correctly with minimal interruption.
Occupations in this program of study have bright outlooks nationally and statewide. 
Students who are interested in Network and Computer Systems Administrator occupations should develop skills in critical thinking, systems analysis, complex problem solving, systems evaluation, operation monitoring, and programming. In addition, students should be proficient in using tools such as Cisco Systems, network management software, patch and update software, intrusion prevention system (IPS) software, network and system vulnerability assessment software, and encryption software.
Upon completing a postsecondary education, students will find that the top industries seeking Network and Computer Systems Administrators are computer systems design services, educational services (state, local, and private), information, finance and insurance, and manufacturing. Although students can obtain Network Systems jobs with a bachelor’s degree, obtaining an industry certification, such as CompTIA Fundamentals, CompTIA A+, and CompTIA Network+ will increase the number of job opportunities.