Responding to high-tech computer changes in the business world, Owens Community College is offering a new major in Network Electronics, allowing students to find jobs of the future in a variety of fields.
The Network Electronics program was created to train technicians to install and maintain computer networks. "However, the explosive increase in intranet and internet use, distance education and mobile computing has left business and industry without enough trained network technicians," said Charles Skinn, chairman of Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technologies.
"This is a change in emphasis for this major - we want to be sure our graduates are where the future is," he said.
Although it was formerly known as the Communications Electronics program, Skinn explained that more and more recent graduates of the Owens program are finding jobs in the data communications field, instead of telecommunications fields.
"The way network electronics has evolved this field has become much broader," he said. "A large percentage of our students are going to work in the banking industry with the tremendous network between branch banks, ATMs and the federal reserves."
Along with the banking industry, graduates of the program also will find positions in many other national corporations, such as auto manufacturers, he said, many of which have established national computer networks between the manufacturers, plants and dealerships.
Furthermore, Skinn said many hospitals and HMOs are establishing significant computer networks and are in need of well-trained technicians to operate those networks. "With all of the sophisticated biomedical equipment in a hospital, our students are trained to effectively network a variety of equipment to a central processing unit. For instance, the computer network can keep track of a patient in intensive care and pediatrics, collecting and analyzing data from both wards."
Offered on the Toledo-area Campus through the Engineering Technologies of Owens Community College, students with a Network Electronics Major will earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree.
"We are very pleased to offer the Network Electronics Major as an opportunity for students to learn state-of-the-art computer skills and find rewarding positions in diverse industries," said Dr. Paul V. Unger, Vice President of Academic Affairs.
As a Network Electronics Major, students will learn the "ins and outs" of computer network operating systems, Skinn explained. "This covers the gamut of hardware and software of operating systems and equipment."
Network Electronics classes cover subjects such as circuit analysis, computer networks and training for network clients.
"Essentially, students learn to set up and maintain the computer network and add to it, interfacing new equipment," Skinn explained. "They have to keep current on what's available to update the equipment and teach others employees how to use it."
The typical starting salary for network technicians ranges from $22,000 to $33,000. Skinn said. There currently is a great job demand in network electronics and industry officials believe that demand drastically will increase as computer companies continue to expand so rapidly, he said.
"It's exciting to continue to develop programs that allow graduates of Owens Community College to gain these high-tech skills and knowledge to go out into the working world and take on these careers of the future," Skinn said.