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Degree Overview: Associate of Occupational Studies (A.O.S.) Degree in Computer Networking

Majors Overview January 20, 2014

Although rare, Associate of Occupational Studies (A.O.S.) degree programs in network administrations or network operations can be found. Students will be trained to install, maintain, and configure computer networks. Commonly, programs will prepare graduates for passing certification exams in the industry.

A.O.S. Programs in Computer Networking

Students enrolled in Associate degree programs in network administration or operations are trained in configuring, installing and maintaining wide and local area computer networks using components such as routers, switches, workstations and servers. These programs usually take two years to complete though some schools may offer shorter programs. Students split their time between classroom lectures and laboratory instruction aimed at imparting real-time experience in network administration. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma, in addition to the passage of placement examinations. Students enrolled in some programs are also required to complete prerequisite courses in math and writing.

Coursework

Coursework is devised to combine broad academic courses with core computer network subjects. Common networking operating software and systems are typically included in programs that teach students about monitoring and optimizing network performance. They are also taught how to troubleshoot software and hardware and ways to resolve issues.

Wireless networks, data backup, disaster recovery and network security are typically included in programs whose coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Database management systems
•Network operating systems
•Networking environments
•Network security
•Programming and scripting
•Local area (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN)
•Server technology and administration
•Computer architecture

Career Choices

Students are taught the skills and practical knowledge they would need in companies that rely on computer networks, including government agencies and business firms of different sizes. Associate degree holders could choose from various career titles including:

•Data communication analyst
•Network administrator
•Security administrator

Continuing Education Choices

Programs typically prepare students to pass professional certification exams, such as the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)’s Network+ certification, the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) and the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT).

Schools also offer bachelor’s degree programs in related subjects such as network administration or network security. Some employers may prefer candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree which could be a mandatory requirement for some advanced occupations such as database administrator or network architect.

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