What is the computer network | IT and Engineering
Simply put, computer networks are the study of how computers can be linked to share data. The concept of connecting computers dates back to the 1960s, when the Department of Defense made the first attempt to create a computer network that painstakingly connected a handful of computers in the United States. Since then, wireless networks have taken off and networks are now seen as an essential part of computing. A computer without a network, no doubt, is of little use in everyday life.
Computer networks involve many things coming together, and there are many important challenges and problems to be solved in networking:
- Scaling hardware and software at very high speeds (e.g. 100+ Gbps) (routers, switches)
- Efficient user interaction (web technologies)
- Privacy and security protection (firewall, antivirus)
- Respond to growing wireless demand (smartphones, handhelds)
- Scale of the number of participants to several billion (sensors, Internet of Things)
- Maintain a healthy Internet economy among service providers
- Address social phenomena
- Seamless connection to highly mobile devices
Study computer networks
A solid background in mathematics is valuable, like all other areas of computer science and engineering. In addition to computing, the important tools in computer networks and communications are:
- Linear algebra
- Probability and statistics
- Differential equations
- Numerical analysis
Good programming skills are also very important. Although a good knowledge of programming may not be necessary for some of the topics covered in networking (e.g. low-level communications, hardware issues), networking protocols and software require a solid knowledge of programming.
Most of the time, students have to develop skills in a new programming paradigm: distributed programming. In distributed programming, replicas of the same code run on different machines but work collectively to perform a common task. It might sound like parallel programming, but it’s not quite the same. Most of the time, the code replicated on the network treats itself as peers and exchanges messages to continue a common task, for example, to transfer data from one machine to another.
A strong capacity for abstract thinking is also essential for networking, as in most other areas of computing. Networking typically involves a layered architecture where each layer is an abstraction of top-layer services. Writing code for networking software involves a fair amount of abstraction.
Internships and job opportunities in computer networks
Networking internship opportunities range from simple network testing and troubleshooting to research and development of network protocols and components. Hardware and software opportunities are available, but software opportunities are generally more plentiful. Most interns are assigned specific tasks in the company and should deliver in a few months.
Since it has become as essential as IT, networking solutions have been actively sought after by industry, government and the military. There are many basic networking companies that generate solutions purely in the area of ââcomputer networking. However, any computer or software company today needs networking experts. Typically, an IT company has a communications and networking division as one of its largest divisions.