The study of network administration is a sound choice for students interested in learning about computers and data. In particular, the masters degree in network administration builds upon the knowledge gained from a bachelor’s degree in the field. Students will expand their expertise in computer systems, local area networking, and security. They will also become familiar with emerging technology, which will help them stay up-to-date on new hardware and software developments. Many master’s programs include course work over organizational leadership as well.

Why a Master’s Degree?

Although most network administration careers only require a bachelor’s degree in the field, a master’s degree is a good way to get an edge over other candidates for positions. As it will ensure that students stay current on new technology, it will also keep their knowledge relevant and up-to-date, which in turn will make them more marketable. Master’s degrees also open up the field of academia for students, giving students the opportunity to conduct research and teach at the postsecondary level. Finally, master’s degrees can also boost students’ academic performance, which can make them strong candidates for future doctoral studies.

Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program

The exact qualifications for admissions into online masters programs will vary according to each individual university. However, the most common requirements are as follows:

  • Bachelor’s degree in network administration or a related subject.
  • Some work or internship experience.
  • Statement of intent.
  • Recommendation letters.
  • Passing GRE scores.

Inside a Master’s Degree Program

Once enrolled, students will study computing, network design, security, and performance modeling. They’ll also learn about organizational behavior and acquire skills that will foster successful management. In addition, they will expand their knowledge of hardware. Some specific classes include enterprise security, wireless and wired networks, network performance, and system security. The program will typically end with a thesis or capstone project over a topic relevant to the networking field.

As network administration requires the use of computer technology, students who take their classes online will find that much of their work can be completed over their personal computers with ease. Assignments and papers will be submitted through an online platform. Many exams can be completed on the Internet as well, though some may require the students to find a proctor at a local testing center or community college. Although not required, students are recommended to gain real-life experience through jobs or internships, as doing so will help them put what they have learned into practice.

What’s Next for Master’s Degree Holders?

Graduates typically work as managers within the field of information technology. Network and computer systems administrators earn around $69,160 annually, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. The field is growing rapidly, with growth projected at 28% by 2020, which means the job outlook is favorable. As an alternative, graduates can also work in academia. The BLS reports that postsecondary teachers earn around $62,050 annually. Keep in mind, however, that salary figures can vary according to location and experience.

Students who are interested in pursuing higher education can enroll in doctoral degree programs in information technology. Doing so will improve their job prospects, especially within the postsecondary teaching field. Upon graduating with their doctorates, students can conduct research at a professional level and write scholarly articles over their findings. As an alternative, Ph.D. graduates can also work as consultants for business organizations.