What Is Computer Networking?

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When you connect with the people in your professional network, you share information, resources, and maybe even data on your industry. That’s your network! Computer networks can function a lot like that, connecting multiple computers or electronic devices so they can relay information to each other through communication protocols. Think of printing a document. You hit print on your keyboard, data are transmitted from your computer to the printer via a network, and presto! They result is a tangible document, spreadsheet, or graphic that you can share. In this way, computer networks help you communicate and collaborate with others in your personal and professional life.

How Does a Computer Network Work?

There are two main components of a computer network: a node and a link. A node is a communication device or terminal such as a computer, printer, modem, or hub. A link connects the nodes. Examples include fiber optics, cables, and Wi-Fi. When a node transmits information to another node—such as printing from a laptop or scanning a document into a computer—it follows a programmed set of communication rules to relay the data through established links.

There are several types of networks that service different areas. A wide area network (WAN) may be used for cities, counties, or college campuses while a local area network (LAN) is typically used for office buildings. And then there’s the cloud network, which can contain an entire IT system that’s available on demand through a public or private platform managed by a service provider.

Why Are Computer Networks Important?

Computer networks are invaluable tools for businesses because they help teams collaborate and share information. Networks allow co-workers to communicate through email, instant messaging, and video conferencing no matter where they are. Here are a few other reasons why computer networks are important:

Computer Networks Help You Conduct Research

Networks connect you to internal resources, so you can more fully understand projects and organizational data. They also allow you to access the internet to find new information and conduct research.

Computer Networks Allow Resources to Be Shared

Networks connect multiple computers and devices so that resources can be shared. Rather than providing a printer, copier, or fax machine for every worker, each team member can be connected to the same devices in an office, which saves companies money.

Computer Networks Enhance Collaboration

With multiple computers on the same network, it’s easy to share data with co-workers or to collaborate on the same project. Networks allow you to access project management tools and industry-specific apps that can help you perform your job more cooperatively and efficiently.

Jobs in Computer Networking

Computer networks are essential for businesses in every industry and there are many specializations. Some careers you might consider include:

  • Network Technician: As a Network Technician, you install and maintain network devices. You work with IT managers to ensure that computers, printers, and modems are properly set up and connected. You also monitor the network for issues and keep it running smoothly.
  • Network Support Specialist: Support specialists are network problem-solvers. In this role, you troubleshoot issues such as network outages and work with an IT manager to remedy them. You might also compile reports and provide suggestions for fixes to recurring network problems.
  • Computer System Analyst: As a System Analyst, you would take a proactive approach to risk mitigation. You run tests and reports on the network system to ensure it works properly and meets the demands of the organization. You seek out, find, and remedy potential trouble spots. And you provide suggestions or potential solutions to improve the system.

If you’re computer savvy and have an interest in IT, why not explore a career in computer networking? Charter College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Networking Systems that can be completed in less than two years. Our program is offered in both online and blended learning formats for flexibility and convenience. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.