NOC Technician Training Programs and Requirements
Network operating center (NOC) technicians provide support services for businesses that use communication networks to relay information. Employers for NOC technicians include wireless internet providers, telecommunications, engineering and computer programming companies. NOC technicians are typically required to have a bachelor's degree in computer science and several years of networking administration experience.
Training Requirements and Recommendations
NOC technicians provide customer and technical support for a variety of communications organizations. NOC technicians are required to have a high school diploma and in most cases, a bachelor's degree. Common programs for NOC technicians include computer science, network administration, engineering and information technology bachelor's degrees.
Employers expect NOC technicians to have at least one year of relevant network management experience. NOC technician positions have a tier system that correlates to job experience, tier I NOC technicians are entry-level and newly hired technicians. Tier II, III and IV positions require technicians to have increased experience. Although there are no licensure requirements for NOC technicians, they can become certified in specific programming languages or networking systems.
NOC technicians should have strong customer service skills and must be able to recognize and troubleshoot a variety of networking errors and related issues. Many NOC technicians are responsible for communicating with other operating centers or networking professionals, so good communication skills are essential.
Most NOC technicians are required to have a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering or network administration and security. Some employers may waive educational requirements for candidates with extensive network administration experience.
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
A bachelor's degree program in computer science covers a broad spectrum of computer-based concepts. Students study programming, design, network administration and computer security. Much of the coursework is based on computer algorithms, theories and information technology. Programs require four years of study and include courses on:
- Computer programming
- Principles of data structures
- Computer and network algorithms
- Computer science research and development
- Database applications
- Network security
- Advanced operating systems
Employers generally prefer to hire NOC technicians with at least one to five years of experience. Entry-level technicians with little experience can pursue Tier I positions, while those with more experience can obtain Tier II and III positions. Although general network management and administration experience is required, some employers ask for experience in specific fields, such as telecommunications or engineering.
Licenses and Certifications
NOC technicians are not required to be licensed or certified. However, NOC technicians with voluntary certification in specific areas of computer programming or networking often have better career prospects. NOC technicians can obtain Cisco Career Certification or Microsoft SQL Server Certification to boost employment opportunities.
Cisco Career Certification
Cisco Systems offers five levels of information technology certification. The levels consist of entry-level, associate, professional, expert and architect certification. NOC technicians can be certified in routing and switching, network design, network security, storage networking and wireless systems. There are also specialty certifications for networking professionals working with local area networks (LANs) and virtual private networks (VPNs). To become certified, NOC technicians must pass an exam administered by Cisco Systems.
Microsoft SQL Server Certification
Microsoft offers a variety of certifications for information technology professionals, including Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certification and Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification. Each certification requires technicians to pass an exam on database administration, network management, and hardware and software installation, configuration and maintenance.
Workshops and Seminars
The Network and Systems Professional Association (NaSPA) holds yearly conferences and monthly training seminars that are occasionally recorded and posted online (www.naspa.org). Conferences and workshops feature guest speakers in network management and discuss topics such as network security, software and programming certification, network reliability, virtualization of information and data management.
Employers may hold training seminars for newly hired NOC technicians in order for technicians to learn proper network management practices. Employer-sponsored seminars may be part of a training program and usually include several hours of training.
Additional Professional Development
To advance to higher tiers, NOC technicians must build their skill sets and relevant job experience. Technicians can pursue advanced degrees in computer science and engineering in order to obtain higher-paying networking career opportunities. Additionally, NOC technicians can join NaSPA, which provides career and networking opportunities for professionals in the fields of network management and administration. NaSPA also offers members an online newsletter and two published magazines that provide industry information.
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