Network programmers and analysts focus on creating more efficient network systems and troubleshooting existent network systems. Many companies need network analysts to increase the responsiveness and security of their systems. Network programmers and analysts have many job opportunities and significant paths for advancement.
What Is a Network Programmer/Analyst?
Network programmers and analysts develop and create networks that function as necessary and in the most efficient and secure ways. Often, a network analyst will study an existing network system to determine whether there are significant security risks present or whether the current system could be upgraded within an available budget to be faster and more efficient. Analysts may also be called in to determine ways that an existing system could be used to increase employee productivity.
A network analyst needs to be an expert in current and past network technologies and have the ability to integrate them into a single cohesive system. Many network analysts have been in the industry for many years and have worked with many types of technology. There are over 500,000 network analyst positions across the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with another 120,000 jobs expected in the next decade. The growth for this field is much faster than average and the field does experience some overlap with systems analysts and network administrators and architects.
What Does a Network Programmer/Analyst Do?
A network analyst will usually come in on either a contract basis or through an existing IT firm and identify any potential issues or security problems with a company’s current network system. Network analysts are usually not hired directly by the company that they service and they usually work alone rather than in teams. Network analysts may interface with the company’s existing IT staff to improve upon the system and to provide additional training for new systems.
Network analysts usually need significant business and logistics knowledge as well as IT knowledge, as they need to be able to determine what provides the best cost benefit to a company. Most network analysts will work very closely with their clients and will need to work within their client’s budget. For this reason, a network analyst needs to be current with new technology and may need to do significant research to create the best networks.
How Do You Become a Network Programmer/Analyst?
Many network analysts begin as systems administrators or network administrators. Most analysts have at least a few years of experience within the industry or a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science or a related field. A degree can be considered interchangeable with experience. However, there is very little if any on the job training offered through this field, which means those that only have an education and no training may be at a disadvantage.
Network analysts may be able to become promoted into the position with an IT firm that they are already hired with. Otherwise, a network analyst will usually work through an IT firm or on their own on a contract basis.
How Do You Advance as a Network Programmer/Analyst?
The most lucrative path for a network analyst is usually to become a network architect. Computer network architect careers can be achieved by an analyst through experience and the acquisition of select certifications. Network analysts preparing for this field can also consider obtaining a Master’s Degree. Computer network architects, according to O*Net Online, usually make more money than network analysts but perform very similar tasks.
Those interested in branching out from network analysis can also become systems analysts. System analysts make comparable amounts of money and have very similar positions. In general, systems administrators are more likely to go into the systems analysis field and network administrators are more likely to go into the network analysis field. However, movement between the two specialties is not extremely difficult.