The best way to become a network analyst is usually to pursue a four year degree in computer science, engineering, or a related field. For entry-level positions and some limited jobs, it may be possible to start working with an associate’s degree or experience in the industry. In addition to formal education, it can also help to pursue certifications in specific types of network architecture, as these may be required or preferred by employers. Growth in this sector varies depending on economic conditions and location, but is often robust because of increasing demands on computer architecture.
Network analysts plan, maintain, and troubleshoot networks. This can include work in a variety of settings with different types of systems, including high-security systems that may handle confidential information and complex materials. After someone has become a network analyst, it’s important to plan on continuing education to keep pace with the field. Maintaining awareness of new standards in the industry, as well as exploits that may be used by hackers and virus writers, is very important to protect the integrity of networks.
In college, courses in computer engineering, networking, and similar subjects can lead to a bachelor of science degree that will prepare someone to become a network analyst. Students can also consider an associate’s program, or education at a technical school, if they want to be able to start work sooner. This qualification is not typically as useful on the job market, but can get people into entry-level positions, and it may be possible to move up with some job experience. Another option is to start working without formal training and acquire skills while employed, using experience as a qualification in job applications.
Whether someone chooses to become a network analyst through formal education or on the job training, it is important to pursue continuing education opportunities. These can include trade publications, seminars, and workshops. Some employers may subsidize the costs, because they will benefit when their information technology staff is working with the latest information. Participating in research and publishing papers in the field can also be useful on job applications or requests for promotion, as it shows an interest in developing more skills and a deeper understanding of networking.
Optional certifications are another route to consider. People may need to take additional classes and sit for an examination to become certified. The benefit to certification after someone has become a network analyst is that it may qualify a technician to work on more networks, which can be a substantial selling point for employers.