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Computer networking is a branch of the evergrowing computer science engineering (CSE) sector. If you are looking to find a career in computer science, it demands a constant influx of professionals with varying degrees of expertise. This makes it great for those looking to transition fields.
Network engineers are responsible for designing, implementing, and managing different network systems. The job also includes performing computer forensics and maintaining security.
The networks you would be working with include LAN, WAN, Ethernet, and wireless technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It’s not uncommon for network professionals to pursue specialized certification like CompTIA and Cisco.
If you seek to become a network specialist, it doesn’t always require a trip back to a four-year university. You can supplement your job search with education through online classes that offer certificates upon completion. This allows you to add to your resume when pursuing a career in this field.
To help with the search, we’re going to cover what to look for in an online class and list a few of our favorites that you can take right now.
Quick Look: Best Networking Courses
- The Complete Networking Fundamentals Course by Udemy – Get this course
- Computer Network Cabling: Ethernet Wiring Infrastructure by Udemy – Get this course
- Cisco Networking Basics Specialization by Coursera – Get this course
- Networking in GCP: Defining and Implementing Networks by Coursera – Get this course
- Wireless Networking Fundamentals by Udemy – Get this course
- Networking and Security Architecture with VMware NSX by Coursera – Get this course
- CompTIA Network+ (N10-007) 6 Practice Exams – 2020 by Udemy – Get this course
- Learning Path: Linux: A to Z Linux Networking Concepts by Udemy – Get this course
- Advance Network Scanning – Masterclass: 2 in 1 by Udemy – Get this course
What You Can Expect to Learn
Depending on the class, expect to learn about a few aspects that comprise the CSE branch. They can include computer networks, wireless networking, computer forensics, and network security.
The study of computer networks includes electronic data communication, equipment, software and hardware requirements, and the standard terminology. The curriculum covers configuring routers and internet protocols, the OSI (Open System Interconnection) model, and WAN and LAN networks.
Overall, these courses focusing on computer networks should provide you with operational knowledge to start building or managing networks. You also could learn about the best practices and troubleshooting skills.
Network security focuses on security risk and implementation for various operating systems. When learning about this, you’ll gain an understanding of potential threats and learn to apply security equipment and software.
A good wireless networking course should teach you about designing, managing, and troubleshooting networks. Plus, you learn also about wireless security and IP infrastructure.
This networking area covers computer forensic investigation and the various tools used in it. You’ll need an in-depth knowledge of operating systems, ethics, and data recovery methods. Computer forensics might be covered under a general network security course.
What to Look for in a Great Networking and Security Class
Regardless of your level of expertise, you should be looking for a few specific things when it comes to evaluating classes, including skills taught, instructor, and price.
At the beginner level, you will learn the basics of how computer networks work and the benefits they provide to users. You will explore the necessary expertise to plan and design these networks. In most cases, entry-level courses require a beginner’s knowledge of computers.
There are courses that prepare you for specific certifications like the Cisco CCNA 200-125. If you select a class like this, you would learn about data routing, IPv4 and IPv6 protocols, and switching on a particular network platform. If you want a more specialized education, you can find courses that focus on one element of computer networks.
Your instructor should have plenty of experience in the computer science industry. Computer networks are all about applying your knowledge to real-world situations. You are better off if your instructor has done this as their day-to-day job, and taken up teaching as a hobby or to pass on knowledge.
A good indication of a successful instructor is to look at their credentials before applying for a course. This, combined with ratings from past students, should give insight into whether they’re qualified to be teaching you about computer networks.
With online courses, the prices can vary greatly. Just because a course is expensive doesn’t automatically make it better than one offered in a sale, which is common for online learning centers. Look at your budget, determine how much you want to spend on a class, and evaluate your options.
The Best Networking Classes
To help you apply what we’ve discussed above, we’ve gathered a few of our favorite computer networking classes to help you find the best resource for you.
Best for Beginners
The Complete Networking Fundamentals Course. Your CCNA start
1. The Complete Networking Fundamentals Course by Udemy
The Complete Networking Fundamentals Course is a great starting place for beginners looking to get into computer networking. If you are planning on getting the CCNA or Cisco CCENT certificate, this course can supplement your goal well. It covers the fundamentals of LAN, address allocation via DHCP, OSI model, and more.
You will learn from over 528 lectures that have a run time fo about 54 hours total. You’ll also get 74 articles to help move you through the material.
Computer Network Cabling: Ethernet Wiring Infrastructure
2. Computer Network Cabling: Ethernet Wiring Infrastructure by Udemy
Computer Network Cabling focuses on the hardware aspect of the job and is a fast-paced introduction to installation. Once you finish the 21 lectures, you should know how to properly install data wiring and test connections and cables.
Additional topics covered include increasing network capabilities, installing RJ45 connectors, and techniques for installing network cables in clusters and walls.
3. Cisco Networking Basics Specialization by Coursera
- Who’s it for? Beginners
- Price: On sale
Cisco Networking Basics Specialization is designed for those who want to understand the fundamentals of data flow in computer networks. The course teaches you how to set up small computer networks for home or business purposes.
There are five different courses in this specialization and the topics range from network protocols and architecture basics to an introduction to Cisco routing and networking technologies. At the end of the course, you should be able to build a small, secure network and troubleshoot potential problems.
Best for Intermediate Knowledge
1. Networking in GCP: Defining and Implementing Networks by Coursera
- Who’s it for? Intermediates
- Price: On sale
Networking in GCP focuses on developing computer networks on Google Cloud. You should have basic knowledge of the platform, the OSI 7-layer model, and IPv4 addressing before starting this class.
The course features four modules that span over two weeks. You’ll learn how to define and implement GCP networks, control VPC network access, and share VPC networks. The final module covers the various tools for balancing network load.
Wireless Networking Fundamentals
2. Wireless Networking Fundamentals by Udemy
With over 1,500 enrolled students, this is one of the most popular networking courses on Udemy. Upon completion, you’ll be able to utilize radio frequency signaling to design and implement efficient wireless networks.
The course offers 88 lectures that run for about seven hours total. The curriculum covers wireless network fundamentals like power measurement and basic components. You will also learn about WLAN design and potential security threats. The class also includes WLAN troubleshooting like hidden node obstruction, full power transmission, and SNR issues.
3. Networking and Security Architecture with VMware NSX by Coursera
- Who’s it for? Intermediate
- Price: On sale
This VMware course requires basic knowledge of firewalling, switching, routing, cloud, and security. The course lasts eight weeks and takes about 25 hours to complete. You will learn about network visualization fundamentals and the difference between NSX and traditional networks.
The course then moves onto specialized areas like OpenStack and VMware vRealize automation, micro-segmentation, and disaster recovery. Upon completion, you’ll be able to apply your knowledge to real-world examples.
Best for Advanced Knowledge
CompTIA Network+ (N10-007) 6 Practice Exams – 2020
1. CompTIA Network+ (N10-007) 6 Practice Exams – 2020 by Udemy
Despite having “essentials” in the course title, this class is designed for industry veterans. We recommend that students already have a CompTIA A+ certificate or similar work experience before enrolling. This advanced course on Udemy includes 66 lectures covering topics such as networking theory, security, and industry standards.
You’ll also learn about best practices and policies when it comes to computer networks. Expect to get in-depth knowledge of the IPv4 address structure and wireless protocol types, and to cover OSI troubleshooting models and network operations.
Learning Path: Linux: A to Z Linux Networking Concepts
2. Learning Path: Linux: A to Z Linux Networking Concepts by Udemy
This is the first part of a specialized course for creating Linux-based networks. The aim is to teach you how to implement and manage computer networks on this operating system. You’ll learn to set up DHCP and physical networks in addition to configuring local network DNS and Apache via TLS. Finally, you’ll be taught how to install OpenSSH and use OpenVPN.
3. Advance Network Scanning – Masterclass: 2 in 1 by Udemy
- Who’s it for? Advanced
- Price: On Sale
Advance Network Scanning provides additional expertise for professionals looking to boost their network security skills. It features four and a half hours of online videos and one downloadable resource.
You’ll learn how to identify network vulnerabilities by analyzing scanning reports and how to find targets and perform scanning procedures accordingly. The course also covers Nmap detection algorithms and their function within a network.
With the ever-growing demand for computer network experts, your chances of landing a job in the industry are likely to increase in the future. Also, if you own your own business, these courses can help you increase network security and optimize network performance.
Southern New Hampshire University Online
SNHU Online Offers:
- Flexible schedules
- Affordable tuition
- Online tutoring
- Access to electronic research materials
- Specialized academic advising
- Supportive online community