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Career and Education Opportunities for Network and Computer Systems Administrators in Columbia, Maryland

There are many career and education opportunities for network and computer systems administrators in the Columbia, Maryland area. There are currently 9,080 working network and computer systems administrators in Maryland; this should grow by 35% to 12,230 working network and computer systems administrators in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for network and computer systems administrators, which sees this job pool growing by about 23.2% over the next eight years. Network and computer systems administrators generally install, configure, and support an organization's local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet system or a segment of a network system.

Network and computer systems administrators earn approximately $35 hourly or $74,260 annually on average in Maryland. Nationally they average about $31 hourly or $66,310 per year. Incomes for network and computer systems administrators are not quite as good as in the overall category of Computer in Maryland, and not quite as good as the overall Computer category nationally. People working as network and computer systems administrators can fill a number of jobs, such as: lan analyst , information technology technical support specialist , and mainframe systems administrator.

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including eighteen within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a network and computer systems administrator. The most common level of education for network and computer systems administrators is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be a network and computer systems administrator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Network and Computer Systems Administrator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, network and computer systems administrators install, configure, and support an organization's local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet system or a segment of a network system. They also maintain network hardware and software.

Network and computer systems administrators diagnose and resolve hardware, software, or other network and system problems, and remove faulty components when needed. They also maintain and administer computer networks and related computing environments including computer hardware and all configurations. Equally important, network and computer systems administrators have to operate master consoles to track the performance of computer systems and networks, and to direct computer network access and use. They are often called upon to talk with network users about how to solve existing system problems. They are expected to recommend changes to further optimize systems and network configurations, and decide on hardware or software requirements pertaining to such changes. Finally, network and computer systems administrators monitor network performance to establish whether adjustments need to be made, and to establish where changes will need to be made in the future.

Every day, network and computer systems administrators are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they think through problems and come up with general rules.

It is important for network and computer systems administrators to train people in computer system use. They are often called upon to configure and maintain email applications or virus protection software. They also gather data pertaining to customer needs, and use the data to pinpoint and evaluate system and network requirements. They are sometimes expected to direct with vendors and with company personnel to enable purchases. Somewhat less frequently, network and computer systems administrators are also expected to implement and furnish technical support for voice services and equipment, such as private branch exchange, voice mail system, and telecom system.

They also have to be able to maintain an inventory of parts for emergency repairs and formulate and implement network security measures to safeguard data and hardware. And finally, they sometimes have to maintain and administer computer networks and related computing environments including computer hardware and all configurations.

Like many other jobs, network and computer systems administrators must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Applications Programmer. Develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs. Analyze user needs and develop software solutions. Design software or customize software for client use with the aim of optimizing operational efficiency. May analyze and design databases within an application area, working individually or coordinating database development as part of a team.
  • Computer Programmer. Convert project specifications and statements of problems and procedures to detailed logical flow charts for coding into computer language. Develop and write computer programs to store, locate, and retrieve specific documents, data, and information. May program web sites.
  • Computer Scientist. Conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Solve or develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.
  • Computer Security Specialist. Plan, coordinate, and implement security measures for information systems to regulate access to computer data files and prevent unauthorized modification, destruction, or disclosure of information.
  • Computer Support Specialist. Provide technical assistance to computer system users. Answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, via telephone or from remote location. May provide assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, and operating systems.
  • Computer Systems Analyst. Analyze science, engineering, and all other data processing problems for application to electronic data processing systems. Analyze user requirements, procedures, and problems to automate or improve existing systems and review computer system capabilities, workflow, and scheduling limitations. May analyze or recommend commercially available software. May supervise computer programmers.
  • Computer Systems Engineer. Research, design, and test operating systems-level software, compilers, and network distribution software for medical, industrial, and general computing applications. Set operational specifications and formulate and analyze software requirements. Apply principles and techniques of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis.
  • Network Operations Analyst. Determine user requirements and design specifications for computer networks. Plan and implement network upgrades.
  • Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst. Analyze, design, and evaluate network systems, such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), Internet, intranet, and other data communications systems. Perform network modeling, analysis, and planning. Research and recommend network and data communications hardware and software. Includes telecommunications specialists who deal with the interfacing of computer and communications equipment. May supervise computer programmers.
  • Software Engineer. Design and develop solutions to complex applications problems, system administration issues, or network concerns. Perform systems management and integration functions.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Network and Computer Systems Administrator Training

Carroll Community College - Westminster, MD

Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Rd, Westminster, MD 21157. Carroll Community College is a small college located in Westminster, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,453 students. Carroll Community College has a one to two year program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW.

Montgomery College - Rockville, MD

Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated zero and one students respectively in 2008.

DeVry University-Maryland - Bethesda, MD

DeVry University-Maryland, 4550 Montgomery Ave, Suite 100 North, Bethesda, MD 20814-3304. DeVry University-Maryland is a small university located in Bethesda, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 99 students and an admission rate of 92%. DeVry University-Maryland has a master's degree program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated one student in 2008.

University of Maryland-University College - Adelphi, MD

University of Maryland-University College, 3501 University Blvd East, Adelphi, MD 20783-8010. University of Maryland-University College is a large university located in Adelphi, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 34,130 students. University of Maryland-University College has a postbaccalaureate certificate and a master's degree program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated four and forty students respectively in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Owings Mills - Owings Mills, MD

ITT Technical Institute-Owings Mills, 11301 Red Run Blvd, Owings Mills, MD 21117. ITT Technical Institute-Owings Mills is a small school located in Owings Mills, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,121 students and an admission rate of 54%. ITT Technical Institute-Owings Mills has an associate's degree program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated thirty-three students in 2008.

Anne Arundel Community College - Arnold, MD

Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Pky, Arnold, MD 21012-1895. Anne Arundel Community College is a large college located in Arnold, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,149 students. Anne Arundel Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated six and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

Sanford-Brown College - Vienna, VA

Sanford-Brown College, 1980 Gallows Rd, Vienna, VA 22182. Sanford-Brown College is a small college located in Vienna, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 736 students. Sanford-Brown College has an associate's degree program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles St, Mason Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218-2688. Johns Hopkins University is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,049 students and an admission rate of 26%. Johns Hopkins University has a postbaccalaureate certificate and a master's degree program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated three and 100 students respectively in 2008.

Towson University - Towson, MD

Towson University, 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252-0001. Towson University is a large university located in Towson, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,111 students and an admission rate of 61%. Towson University has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated five students in 2008.

Capitol College - Laurel, MD

Capitol College, 11301 Springfield Rd, Laurel, MD 20708. Capitol College is a small college located in Laurel, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 701 students and an admission rate of 38%. Capitol College has a master's degree program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated six students in 2008.

Prince George's Community College - Largo, MD

Prince George's Community College, 301 Largo Rd, Largo, MD 20774-2199. Prince George's Community College is a large college located in Largo, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,005 students. Prince George's Community College has a one to two year program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated eight students in 2008.

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated twenty-six and thirty-nine students respectively in 2008.

Stratford University - Falls Church, VA

Stratford University, 7777 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043-2403. Stratford University is a small university located in Falls Church, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,644 students. Stratford University has a master's degree program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated twenty-five students in 2008.

TESST College of Technology-Towson - Towson, MD

TESST College of Technology-Towson, 803 Glen Eagles Ct, Towson, MD 21286-2201. TESST College of Technology-Towson is a small college located in Towson, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 419 students. TESST College of Technology-Towson has a one to two year program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated sixteen students in 2008.

TESST College of Technology-Baltimore - Baltimore, MD

TESST College of Technology-Baltimore, 1520 S Caton Ave, Baltimore, MD 21227-1063. TESST College of Technology-Baltimore is a small college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,075 students. TESST College of Technology-Baltimore has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated forty and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

TESST College of Technology-Beltsville - Beltsville, MD

TESST College of Technology-Beltsville, 4600 Powder Mill Rd, Beltsville, MD 20705. TESST College of Technology-Beltsville is a small college located in Beltsville, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 641 students. TESST College of Technology-Beltsville has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated six and twenty-eight students respectively in 2008.

Howard Community College - Columbia, MD

Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044-3197. Howard Community College is a medium sized college located in Columbia, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,905 students. Howard Community College has a one to two year program in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated one student in 2008.

DeVry University-Virginia - Arlington, VA

DeVry University-Virginia, 2450 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202-3843. DeVry University-Virginia is a small university located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 739 students and an admission rate of 93%. DeVry University-Virginia has associate's degree, bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs in Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunicationsááá(NEW which graduated three, ten, and one students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Systems Security Certified Practitioner: The SSCP is ideal for those working towards positions such as Network Security Engineers, Security Systems Analysts, or Security Administrators.

For more information, see the (ISC)2 Americas website.

Certification and Accreditation Professional: The Certification and Accreditation Professional (CAP) credential is an objective measure of the knowledge, skills and abilities required for personnel involved in the process of certifying and accrediting security of information systems.

For more information, see the (ISC)2 Americas website.

Certified Fraud Examiner: The ACFE established and administers the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation.

For more information, see the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners website.

Certified Confidentiality Officer: Professional certification validates your training and experience in your present career.

For more information, see the Business Espionage Controls and Countermeasures Association website.

CIW Associate: Certified CIW Associates possess the basic hands-on skills and knowledge that Internet professionals are expected to understand and use.

For more information, see the Certified Internet Web Professionals website.

CIW Security Analyst: Security Analysts protect an organization's assets and operations.

For more information, see the Certified Internet Web Professionals website.

Certified Wireless Network Administrator: The CWNA certification is the foundation level enterprise Wi-Fi certification for the CWNP Program, and CWNA is required for your CWSP and CWNE certifications.

For more information, see the Certified Wireless Network Professional website.

Server+ Certification: For individuals who wish to demonstrate expertise with advanced PC hardware issues such as RAID, SCSI, multiple CPUs, SANs, and more.

For more information, see the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) website.

Certified Technical Trainer: CompTIA CTT+ is an international, vendor-neutral certification that covers core instructor skills, including preparation, presentation, communication, facilitation and evaluation in both a classroom and virtual classroom environment.

For more information, see the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) website.

CompTIA PDI Certification: Servicing and supporting devices and technologies associated with the printing and document imaging industry requires extensive training to ensure qualified, able technicians.

For more information, see the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) website.

Certified Cyber-Crime Expert: High-profile cases of corporate malfeasance and increased attention paid to cybercrime and cyberterrorism have elevated electronic evidence discovery to an indispensable component of any organization's security plan.

For more information, see the E-Business Process Solutions website.

Certified Network Systems Technician: Certified Network Systems Technician is a network professional who is expected to obtain knowledge of computer.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Certified Web Specialist : Certified Web Specialists are expected to obtain knowledge of customer inabilities and lack of experience to solve problems related to the operation, maintenance and upgrading of World Wide Web home pages.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Fiber Optics Designer: The Electronics Technicians Association 40-hour certified Fiber Optics Designer (FOD) training program is an optical designer certification that will provide an in-depth knowledge of optical local area networks.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Stay Sharp Program - Google Hacking and Defense: Network and system security administrators, hands-on security managers, information security officers, intrusion detection and vulnerability assessment personnel, any personnel responsible for the secure configuration of Internet facing systems and the protection of Intellectual Property within their organizations that need an understanding of typical security exposures that Google uncovers, how to use Google hacking as an evaluation tool and common techniques used by Google hackers.

For more information, see the Global Information Assurance Certification website.

Stay Sharp Program - Defeating Rogue Access Points: Security professionals who are concerned about the weaknesses of wireless networks.

For more information, see the Global Information Assurance Certification website.

Securing Solaris - The Gold Standard: The Solaris Gold certificate focuses on the hardening of Solaris 8 & 9 systems following the CIS benchmark.

For more information, see the Global Information Assurance Certification website.

Stay Sharp Program - Mastering Packet Analysis: Network administrators, information security analysts, intrusion detection and prevention analysts and network auditors that need an in-depth understanding of how to assess network protocols and use powerful network analysis tools.

For more information, see the Global Information Assurance Certification website.

Ethics in IT: All IT professionals including: Systems administrators, auditors, information security officers, programmers, systems analysts, database administrators, Information service providers, contractors, consultants.

For more information, see the Global Information Assurance Certification website.

IBM Certified SOA Associate: This entry level certification is intended for individuals who work on SOA projects, such as architects, technical sales people, sales people, administrators, application developers, business analysts, project managers, system integrators, business integrators, managers, project sponsors and others.

For more information, see the IBM Corporation website.

Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator: Computer hacking forensic investigation is the process of detecting hacking attacks and properly extracting evidence to report the crime and conduct audits to prevent future attacks.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

Certified Ethical Hacker: The CEH Program certifies individuals in the specific network security discipline of Ethical Hacking from a vendor-neutral perspective.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

Licensed Penetration Tester: The licensed penetration tester is a program which trains security professionals to analyze the security posture of a network exhaustively and recommend corrective measures authoritatively.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

Network Security Administrator: The EC-Council's NSA certification looks at the network security in defensive mode.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

EC-Council Certified Security Analyst: EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) complements the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification by exploring the analytical phase of ethical hacking.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

EC Council Certified Secure Programmer: EC-Council's Certified Secure Programmer is being offered to provide the essential and fundamental skills to programmers and application developers in secure programming.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

Security 5 Certification: The Security5 Certification is the entry level for anyone interested in learning computer networking and security basics.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

Certified Information Systems Security Practitioner: The Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) credential offers information security tacticians, with implementation orientations, the opportunity to demonstrate their level of competence with the seven domains of the compendium of best practices for information security.

For more information, see the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. website.

Associate of International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium: Associate of (ISC) status is available to those who have gained competence in key areas of industry knowledge and information security concepts and can pass either the CISSP® or SSCP® examinations, but lack the years of practical work experience required for full accreditation.

For more information, see the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. website.

Certification and Accreditation Professional: The CAP credential is an objective measure of the knowledge, skills and abilities required for personnel involved in the Certification and Accreditation process.

For more information, see the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. website.

Certified Web Professional - E-Commerce Specialist: A CWP E-Commerce Specialist is an expert in standards, technologies and practices in electronic commerce.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Certified Web Professional - Enterprise Developer: A CWP Enterprise Developer builds n-tier database and legacy connectivity solutions for Web applications, using Java, Java application programming interfaces (APIs), Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) solutions, middleware tools, and distributed object models.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Certified Web Professional - Internetworking Specialist: A CWP Internetworking Specialist defines network architecture, identifies infrastructure components, monitors and analyzes network performance.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Certified Web Professional - Security Specialist: A CWP Security Specialist implements security policy, identifies security threats and develops countermeasures using firewalls and attack-recognition technologies.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Certified Web Professional - Server Administrator: A CWP Server Administrator manages and tunes E-Commerce infrastructure including Web servers, FTP, news, and mail servers for mid-size to large businesses.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Juniper Networks Certified Internet Specialist: The JNCIS-E exam is designed for networking professionals with advanced knowledge of, and experience with, the Juniper Networks E-series platforms.

For more information, see the Juniper Networks website.

Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: For individuals who wish to distinguish themselves as an expert in Windows development, Web application development, or enterprise applications development.

For more information, see the Microsoft Corporation website.

Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator: The Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) credential validates your ability to manage and troubleshoot network environments in the Windows operating system.

For more information, see the Microsoft Corporation website.

Level I: Network Performance Technologies : Gain network performance expertise through in-depth analysis of networking protocols and their role in delivering application performance.

For more information, see the NetQoS website.

Security Certified Network Professional: The SCNP program focuses on defensive security technologies, such as Firewalls and Intrusion Detection.

For more information, see the Security Certified Program website.

WOW Certified Professional Web Administrator: WOW Certification is a powerful opportunity for individuals aspiring to be or already working as a Web professional.

For more information, see the World Organization of Webmasters website.

WOW Certified Web Administrator Apprentice: Web Administrator Apprentices are aware of the fundamental concepts for the hardware and software infrastructure supporting Internet communications.

For more information, see the World Organization of Webmasters website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.