Certifications are the Key to Becoming a Network Infrastructure and Security Specialist

Do you enjoy working with computers? If so, then a career as a network infrastructure and security specialist might be the perfect fit for you. Frequently called an IT professional, you would handle WANS, LANS, internet and intranet systems, and network segments. Your position as an IT specialist would involve maintaining all software, network hardware, monitor networks, analyze all problems, and ensure security and user availability. You would test and gather all necessary data to identify user needs, determine both system and network requirements and evaluate the system’s overall performance. Many IT professionals are also required to support and train others in the use of software and hardware. If all of this sounds interesting to you then a career as a network infrastructure and security specialist might be a fulfilling life choice.


Certifications can be the Difference Between Getting the Job or Not Getting the Job

As everyone knows, it’s hard to get your foot in the door after you obtain your degree. Many employers want an experienced candidate and they hesitate to take a risk on a newbie. However, obtaining as many certificates in your field of study as possible are often the key to putting an employers reservations at rest. If an employer sees that you have obtained a bevy of certifications then he knows that you have mastered the skills of an IT professional so will be more willing to take a risk on someone who has no real on-the-job experience.


Certification Programs for a Network Infrastructure and Security Specialist

Certification programs are normally required and highly sought after by employers.  A certification is key in validating your knowledge and skills. Certifications will even frequently gain you a higher salary and better job options. Most employers will be more at ease hiring someone with a multitude of certifications than someone without any if that person does not have much (or any) on-the-job experience.

Now you might be wondering what certificates are beneficial to you obtaining your dream career. Here are the certifications that you should have to be a full-fledged network infrastructure and security specialist.

  1. CompTIA A+ is the Entry Level Standard: The CompTIA A+is what most employers consider an entry level standard certification. Having this certificate lets would-be employers know that you have a firm grasp of computer system basics. The certificate is the key to getting your foot in the door. It also gives you a superb way to market yourself to possible employers so you can obtain an entry-level position while you work to obtain your other certifications.
  2. CompTIA Network+ is a Mid Level Certification: CompTIA Network+ is a mid-level certification. It was designed to show the competency of a mid-level technician by displaying their skills in supporting and configuring TCP/IP. The certification covers network design, hardware setup, installation, cabling, support, and troubleshooting.
  3. Microsoft Specialist: Windows 7, Configuring 70-680: The Microsoft Specialist: Windows 7, Configuring 70-680 is designed for someone who has at least one year of experience. Their IT experience should have been implementing and administering the Windows system in a  real networked environment. However, in some cases, a person may have that year of experience but still have hands-on knowledge of Windows 7. In such a case, the person can still work towards the certification.
  4. Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) shows employers that you are serious about your IT career. This certification program is the prerequisite for advanced Microsoft certifications. When taking the certification program a student will select a specialty area. Then you can go on to gain the following Microsoft certified certifications: Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), Microsoft Certified Product Specialist (MCPS), and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT).
  5. CompTIA Security+ is a Globally Trusted Certificate: Having the CompTIA Security + certificate shows that you have the required foundational knowledge and skills for vendor-neutral IT security. It focuses on the best practices in IT security. You will learn all of the essential principles of network security and risk management. Many people consider it one of the key stepping stones for any serious IT security career. There is no doubt that cloud computing and mobile devices have changed the world in recent years but it has also made it even more imperative for network security. With this certificate, you will put would-be employers worries at ease because they will know that you have a strong knowledge of security and the ability to stop any hackers. If you will be working for any local, state, or federal governments then this certification is crucial for your career advancement.
  6. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP): The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner(CASP) is a mastery level certification. It is vendor-neutral but displays that the IT professional has advanced security skills and knowledge. If you possess this certification then employers will know that you are skilled in all levels of security, research, and analysis, integrating computing, business discipline, communications, and risk management. Employers can rest assured knowing that you are proficient in conceptualizing designing and engineering all aspects of secure solutions even in extremely complex enterprise environments.
  7. Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT): The Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) is an entry-level certification that will gain you a variety entry-level network support positions. This is a great stepping stone to get you on your way to becoming an IT professional. It is also often enough to get you in the door so you can get on-the-job experience in a professional environment before you go on to achieve your other certifications.
  8. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA): The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is issued by Cisco and considered to be an associate level certification. It tends to focus on skills in security operations, data center technologies, design, industrial plants, security, cloud, service providers, and wireless.


Working as What Type of Positions Are Available?

When you opt to become a network infrastructure and security specialist you will have a wide array of positions available. You could choose to work as a network support technician, focus on network security, a system support technician, PC technicians, at a workstation, as a server or technical support technician, data center technician, network operations center support specialist, or as a helpdesk operator. Positions are available in the private sector for a network infrastructure and security specialist or you can work for a branch of the local, state, or federal government. When opting for a government job, it is imperative that you obtain all the certifications that you can on the subject of security.

Expected Salary

Salary varies depending on the area of the country that you live in as well as the type of business or organization that employs you,  but as of March 2018, the median salary for a network infrastructure and security specialist was $70,337 per year. Individuals who work for the federal or state governments can typically expect to earn more than IT specialists in the private sector.

Common Benefits

Usually, if you work as an IT professional you will enjoy full benefits that include health, dental and vision in around 80 percent of the available positions. Many also feature some form or a retirement plan such as a 401k.

Work Environment

As a network infrastructure and security specialist, you will spend long hours on a computer. You will usually work closely with a group of other computer technical support individuals. The work is indoors in an office setting. On occasion, there may be remote job options available that take you out of a standardized office.

Hours Worked

You will typically work at least forty hours per week. However, networks usually need to be maintained and kept functioning 24 hours a day. It is not uncommon to be required to work overtime and varying shifts.  Approximately one in five IT specialists works longer than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook

Jobs working as a network infrastructure and security specialist are expected to grow by 20 percent each year until 2026. As healthcare grows, the need for IT specialists also increases. There is no foreseeable slowdown in the near future. Small to medium-sized businesses are also expected to start requiring more trained individuals to meet their rapid growth needs. Overall, most individuals will not have a problem locating a favorable job in the sector they seek.

Carolina Career College Can Help You Become an It Professional

At Carolina Career College we know what it takes to become a network infrastructure and security specialist. We are prepared to help you achieve your dream and navigate all of the certifications that you will require to secure your desired career. Our free online  MyGuidance Coach can help you decide if this is the right career path for you. Give us a call today to learn more about our many programs that can help you achieve your goal of becoming an IT professional.


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