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Computer Networking Basics: What You Need to Know to Work in IT

Published: January 30, 2019 | Updated: June 8, 2020
 

Do you like to be an important part of your team at work? Do you enjoy being in the thick of things and at the center of the action? Then you should consider a job in computer networking. If you think of a network as a wheel, network administrators are at the hub. They are responsible for tasks that reach all corners of a business’s operations. To be effective at your job, you need to be tech savvy and analytical. You need to have the ability to think outside the box to come up with solutions to problems. When it comes to the types of computer networks you’ll deal with, you need to be the first and last line of defense if anything starts to go wrong. You also need to think ahead to prevent the possibility of anything going wrong.

Here are some of the computer networking basics you need to know to work in IT.

Troubleshoot Common Computer Networking Issues

Troubleshooting is when you diagnose, measure, and resolve problems with your networks. Have you ever had to reboot your wireless router because something’s not working properly? That’s an example of troubleshooting on a basic scale. At a bigger organization, the issues will be bigger. The troubleshooting process will have a lot of moving parts: software and firmware issues, the potential of viruses, installation, and configuration. If you get really good, you might even be able to set up programs to automate some of your troubleshooting work.

Authenticate Users for a Computer Network

To authenticate and authorize users for a network means to ensure they are who they say they are and have permission to access certain parts of a system or network. If your organization uses Microsoft’s Windows operating system, for example, you’ll want to know your way around what’s called Active Directory. It confirms a user’s credentials and assigns and enforces security policies. So, if a user tries to log into the network, he or she will need to enter the correct password. The system will then determine if the user is an administrator or a normal user and allow that person to access the right information based on their credentials.

Multitask with Computer Networking Responsibilities

As with many jobs, you may need to multitask on a frequent basis. Take another look at the troubleshooting example, for instance. In this scenario you may need to link wireless devices and software. What if the wireless network gets corrupted and gives out? You’ll need to figure out a way to repair the network and make sure secure data hasn’t been compromised. It may then be a good idea to make sure digital communications haven’t been interrupted. Finally, you’ll have to determine what caused the problem in the first place and work with the IT team to fix it. It’s not uncommon in the network game to have to learn to juggle like this. It’s a good, practical skill that will help you throughout your career.

Divide Networks into Smaller Subnetworks

This kind of work requires a team that works well together. They’ll rely on your expertise in certain situations, and you’ll need to be able to rely on them in return. The world of networks can get pretty big and needs a lot of brainpower. This is especially true for subnetting—the act of dividing networks into smaller subnetworks. Your organization might need different teams to be on different servers to complete their tasks. Expect to work with others to make sure all the subnetworks run smoothly and allow for smooth interplay with each other.

 

At Charter College, you can pursue an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Computer Networking Systems. Charter’s program prepares you to support and maintain networks in the real world. With in- and out-of-class projects, you’ll be ready for your entry-level networking job on the first day. This computer networking program is available online and with blended learning through our Vancouver and Anchorage locations.