Summary: A network specialist works on and within computer network systems. Generally, network specialists use software programs like UNIX to manage the complexities of a network system. They are also responsible for setting up server systems, troubleshooting various software and hardware problems, interconnecting networks via cable enable seamless communication, electronic mailing and intranet activities between departments.
Duties: A network specialist needs to maintain the integrity of a network system by overseeing the cooling system, the delivery capacity of the system server and the installed software. He/she installs, tests and maintains the telephone and network system, set up firewalls, the UPS, routers and data circuits, as well as manages all aspects of the system like telecommunications and database systems. Network specialists train and provide support in areas of systems, network and network configuration, telecommunications and personal computer administration and documents in manuals and procedures and instructions for proper usage and maintenance of the system. They make budgetary quotations for purchase of hardware and software needs, develop IT security software and keep staff and head departments updated on recent upgrades or issues.
Education and Training Requirements: Most companies require network specialists to obtain a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering or information technology. Some acquire certification, which is highly preferred by IT companies. Continuing education is required of a network specialist to stay informed of advances in IT.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements: Extensive knowledge of computer systems including network administration and design is necessary. Good analytical skills for problem solving are needed as well as good managerial skills to supervise assistants. Excellent communication ability is essential. The job also entails documentation and encoding skills
Working Conditions: A 5 day 40 hour work schedule is standard work for network specialists. They work in quiet, well-lit, air-conditioned offices. Due to tight project deadlines and networking and server issues, overtime is a certainty and stress is a regular experience due to these factors. Network specialists interact with managers and staff, both technical and non-technical and meet with vendors. Some traveling is done to subsidiary offices.
Salary: A network specialist makes $66,000 annually on average. Factors like size of company, location, nature of the industry, benefits and experience may make salaries vary considerably amongst network specialists.