The number and range of opportunities for skilled graduates which exist in the Computing/IT sector in Ireland has been well documented. Employers in this sector are continually highlighting the difficulties they face in filling certain vacancies. Currently, in Ireland, opportunities are outgrowing supply. Most recruitment websites are testament to this.
If you wish to specialise in a specific area of Computing and IT, Networking is one viable option. In the world of computers, networking is the practice of linking two or more computing devices together for the purpose of sharing data. Networks are built with a mix of computer hardware and programming software.
Networks can be categorised in several different ways. One approach defines the type of network according to the geographic area it spans. Local area networks (LANs), for example, typically reach across a single home, whereas wide area networks (WANs), reach across cities, states, or even across the world. The Internet is the world’s largest public WAN.
Networks are a major component of ICT (Information & Communication Technology) communication. If Networking interests you, there are many courses of offer – both via private course providers and the CAO. Most courses provide learners with both the practical and theoretical knowledge of basic networks. Participants will learn about the different components used to create a network including hardware, software and topologies.
In terms of career prospects in this specialised area; many view computer networking as one of the best and ‘hottest’ career fields available today. Some claim that a serious shortage of qualified people to fill these networking jobs exists, and these claims are luring some people into the fray hoping for an easy position with a fast-growing company.
Courses on offer:
Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) with CMIT – this is a Distance Learning course, so it is therefore ideal for somebody already working in the sector and who wishes to up-skill.
Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) validates the ability to install, operate and troubleshoot a small enterprise branch network, including basic network security. The curriculum covers networking fundamentals, WAN technologies, basic security and wireless concepts, routing and switching fundamentals, and configuring simple networks. CCENT is the first step toward achieving CCNA, which covers medium size enterprise branch networks with more complex connections. This comprehensive e-learning course prepares students for the Cisco CCENT Certification. The course is completed online, at your own time, at a location that suits you. You progress through the course materials and complete the online lessons and tests.
Once you successfully pass the programme, you will receive a Diploma in Networking from CMIT. You may optionally take an exam to receive Cisco certification. This is assessed through a computer-based multiple choice exam (642-822).
Kilroys College run a Network+ – IT Skills Preparation course for the CompTIA A+ certification. This is also a Distance Learning course. If you are interested in becoming a Network administrator or PC Support Specialist, then this CompTIA sponsored Network+ course could be for you. It will help you prepare for the Network+ exam which will give any prospective employer proof that you possess the required technical knowledge and skills to support a network. It also gives you the perfect foundation to build on towards other IT qualifications. Leading technology companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Intel have identified Network+ as the perfect entry point into a networking career.
CMIT also run Windows Server Networking (MCTS) course. This is the official Microsoft Certification for Windows Server Networking 2008. This series will prepare you for the MCTS: Windows Networking exam. This exam is the only requirement to apply for the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Networking certification, and will also count toward the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Enterprise Administrator or Server Administrator. .
This comprehensive e-learning course prepares students for the Windows Server Networking 2008. This course will prepare you to monitor a Windows Server 2008 system, as well as configure IP addressing, name resolution, network access, and file and print services.
To receive full Microsoft Certification you must complete the Microsoft exam. This course is assessed through a computer-based multiple choice exam (MCTS 70-642) which may be sat when students have completed the course.
Cork Institute of Technology run a Computer – Networking & Security Postgraduate course (Level 9 NFQ). This course is designed to provide the graduate student with the advanced theoretical knowledge and skills in the interrelated areas of Computer Networking and Computer Security.
Mallow College of Further Education offer a Computer Networking & Maintenance course (Level 5). This full time course is ideal for students interested in computers and how they work. It is designed to give students the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to implement and support PC systems and networks. This course specifically prepares participants for careers in computer and network support.
Several types of positions exist in Networking. The basic job titles one sees for computer networking and networking-related positions include:
• Network Administrator
• Network (Systems) Engineer
• Network (Service) Technician
• Network Programmer/Analyst
• Network/Information Systems Manager
Network administrators and managers in particular have grown fond of networking-based certifications like Microsoft MCSE and Cisco CCNA. Therefore, it is important to keep this in mind when pursuing a course in order to attain a particular position in a company or as a self-employed person in this growing industry.