With almost all companies today, especially large ones, networks of computers are a very big part of how the company is run and going to school for networking is probably bigger today than it ever was. If you’re considering a career in networking, this is pretty much what you can expect to run into.
In the networking world there are basically two main networks, Microsoft and Novell. Back in the old days Novell pretty much had a corner on the market, but those days are gone. And while we can argue forever on which networking system is better, if you’re going to want to get a job in the business world setting these babies up, you’re probably going to want to get an education in both networks as many company’s systems are hybrids of the two.
A networking course usually begins with fundamentals of how a network works, from the wiring used to the software that needs to be installed on each computer. You’ll learn the difference between a workstation and a server and the functions that each one performs. You’ll learn the different types of networks such as peer to peer and client server. These are all basics and don’t apply to any one system, either Novell or Microsoft, but apply to networks in general. This part of the course will usually run a few weeks.
The next part is the individual systems themselves, such as Novell and Microsoft. Here is where you will learn the particulars of each system and what makes them different, and they are quite different. It is usually at this part in the course that the school divides it up into the two operating systems. Many schools give you the option of taking one or the other or both. Some schools only concentrate on one because they simply don’t have instructors for the other. Each operating system course is usually 2 to 3 months long.
One of the main parts of either course is the hands on section. After you have learned all the technical mumbo jumbo, they actually put you in front of a computer and have you start going through the procedures of installing server software, installing workstation software, hooking up wiring and basically putting together a simple network of several workstations and a server. This is probably the most fun part of the whole course.
The last part of the course is usually preparing you for the certification exams. These are required for both Novell and Microsoft. These are a series of practice tests that are very similar to the questions you will be given on the exam itself.
Most schools will allow you to continue your attendance until you have passed your exams. This is a great benefit, especially if you don’t have access to practice outside of school. Most of these schools do have labs outside of the classroom that you can attend during designated hours.
Networking is a great field. The course of study for it is intensive and exhausting, but in the end it is more than worth it.