Computer network technicians (NOC 2281)

High demand occupation

About this job

Computer network technicians establish, operate, maintain and co-ordinate the use of local and wide area networks (LANs and WANs), mainframe networks, hardware, software and related computer equipment; supervisors of computer network technicians are included in this group.

People in this occupation:

  • set up and maintain internet and intranet websites and web server hardware and software, and monitor network connectivity and performance
  • are employed in information technology (IT) units throughout the private and public sectors
  • should have a good understanding of computer hardware and software
  • should be flexible, creative and skilled at problem-solving
  • should also have good interpersonal skills in order to communicate technical problems and work effectively with both IT personnel, such as programmers and other operators and non-IT personnel
Common job titles
  • administrator, server / network / website
  • LAN (local area network) administrator
  • librarian, computer records
  • operator, data centre / network
  • technican, computer network
  • technician, internet / web / website
  • administrator, server / network / website
  • LAN (local area network) administrator
  • librarian, computer records
  • network administrator / controller
  • operator, data centre / network
  • technican, computer network

Duties

Computer network technicians:

  • Maintain, troubleshoot and administer the use of local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), mainframe networks, computer workstations, connections to the Internet and peripheral equipment
  • Evaluate and install computer hardware, networking software, operating system software and software applications
  • Operate master consoles to monitor the performance of computer systems and networks and to co-ordinate access and use of computer networks
  • Provide problem-solving services to network users
  • Install, maintain, troubleshoot and upgrade Web-server hardware and software
  • Implement network traffic and security monitoring software, and optimize server performance
  • Perform routine network start up and close down and maintain control records
  • Perform data backups and disaster recovery operations
  • Conduct tests and perform security and quality controls
  • Control and monitor e-mail use, Web navigation, and installed software
  • Perform shell scripting or other basic scripting tasks
  • May supervise other workers in this group.

Work environment

Computer network technicians usually work a regular 40-hour week, however, they may be required to be on call for rotating evening or weekend work if computer support over extended hours is required. Overtime or work outside regular office hours may be necessary when unexpected technical problems arise or when large-scale maintenance requires shut down of the system.

Computer network technicians typically work in offices and server rooms. Workers employed by companies that provide contract services can spend much of their day travelling to clients' offices.

Because these workers spend long hours using computers, they must be careful to use ergonomic work practices to avoid eye strain, back discomfort and joint stress from keyboarding and mouse work.

Insights from industry

The growing use of information technologies will drive the need for more workers in this profession, as employers across a wide variety of industries implement complex computer and Web systems. This broad employment base helps to diversify the employment opportunities for these workers.

Expanding networks, such as those for wireless and broadband Internet, are increasing the demand for associated technical occupations. Opportunities for computer network technicians should continue to increase as businesses increasingly need help to manage, upgrade, and customize complex computer systems. The growing use of social networking and virtualization is expected to create additional opportunities in this field.

Growth in the demand for computer security specialists is expected to increase as businesses and government invest in network security to protect vital computer systems and data from attack. With the development of electronic commerce, more establishments are using the Internet to conduct business online, creating an ongoing need for information technology professionals.

Because technology in this field changes rapidly, recent graduates and those who regularly upgrade their skills should have an advantage in finding employment. In addition, workers in this field who have one or more vendor certifications stand a much better chance of finding employment.

An increased demand for individuals with experience with wireless or converged voice technologies. As these technologies become mainstream, most organizations will need someone who can correctly implement, monitor and service them.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Recent graduates typically find work in computer and network operating or user support (i.e., help desk, client support, etc.). With additional education and experience, computer network technicians can progress to supervisory positions or move into other fields such as computer programming, interactive media development, web development or systems analysis.

Example titles include, network architect, network systems engineer, senior analyst, team lead or manager.

Additional resources

  • Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC)
    www.asttbc.org
  • BC Tech Association
    www.wearebctech.com
  • Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) of British Columbia.
    bc.cips.ca
  • Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)
    www.ictc-ctic.ca
  • Internationally Trained Technology Professionals (ITTP) British Columbia
    www.ittpbc.com
  • Society of Internet Professionals (SIP)
    www.sipgroup.org
  • Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC)
    www.viatec.ca