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Computer Network Administrators


The first substantial developments in modern computer technology took place in the mid-20th century. After World War II, it was thought that the use of computers would be limited to large government projects, such as the U.S. Census, because computers at this time were enormous in size (they easily took up the space of entire warehouses).

Smaller and less expensive computers were made possible due to the introduction of semiconductors. Businesses began using computers in their operations as early as 1954. Within 30 years, computers revolutionized the way people worked, played, and shopped. Today, computers are everywhere, from businesses of all kinds; to government agencies, charitable organizations, homes, and hospitals; to our cars, trains, and planes. Over the years, technology has continued to shrink the size of computers and increase computer speed at an unprecedented rate.

The first commercially used computers were composed of a system of several big mainframe computers. These computers were located in special rooms and several independent terminals around the office. Though efficient and effective, the mainframe had several problems. One problem was the update delay, or the time lapse, between when an employee input information into a computer and when that information became available to other employees. Although advances in hardware technology have begun addressing this and other problems of mainframes (which are still used frequently in the banking, insurance, healthcare, aviation, and retail industries), many computer companies and businesses have now turned to networking instead.

Rather than relying on a mainframe system, computer networks use a network server to centralize the processing capacity of several different computers and other related equipment (known as peripherals). In a network, terminals and other computers are linked directly to the server. This direct link provides other computer users with instantaneous access to the information. The increased need for qualified computer network administrators to oversee network operations has paralleled the growth of computer networking.

The use of networks has grown rapidly as more companies move from mainframe computers to client-server networks or from paper-based systems to automated record-keeping using networked databases. The rapid growth of Internet, cloud computing, and wireless technologies have created a need for network professionals. Additionally, serious concerns about data and hardware security have created a strong need for network administrators with expertise in these areas. 

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