(WACO, Texas) – McGarry Warden, of Cleburne, is a senior network administrator for Tennessee-based Community Health Systems. He graduated in 2012 from Texas State Technical College in Waco with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration.
Warden’s job focuses on overseeing the network and server configurations for hospitals in Mississippi and Texas. The work also involves new projects related to network and server needs and lights-on support. He works primarily from home, traveling as needed to do physical hardware repairs and troubleshooting.
What inspired you to study Computer Networking and Systems Administration at TSTC?
Growing up, we had a service provider that had outages reasonably often. I understood how to troubleshoot from the modem to the computer, but I always wanted to know what went on past the modem and back to the service provider. This inspired me to enroll in the program in Waco.
How did TSTC prepare you to enter the networking field?
I am a physical learner and having access to physical routers and switches really helped me understand how data can move from one internal network to another via the internet.
What motivates you to wake up each morning and go to work?
Being able to work with co-workers that have the same interests as me really helps get me motivated to wake up each morning. It’s exciting to see what challenges are going to arise each day that I get to troubleshoot and be part of the solution.
What is a typical workday like for you?
I spend half of my time in meetings and the other half working on breaks and fixes, along with projects.
How do you keep up to date on changes in the networking field?
I take different exams to get certifications. Certifications only last about two or three years before having to be renewed. The renewed tests are always changing with new advances in the networking field. As new technologies are introduced to the field, the same technologies are entering the exam as well.
How important is it to have certifications?
Certifications are very important in the networking field. Having active certifications, such as a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), can help you land a job or promotion. It also holds weight when asking for a raise.
Why is Computer Networking and Systems Administration a good field for students to go into?
I believe it is one of the best fields to pursue due to the rapid increase of careers. I believe more data is being used now more than ever due to the increase of employees working from home.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website, network and computer systems administrators in Texas make a yearly median salary of more than $82,000. Jobs are concentrated in the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio areas. There are more than 300 workers in Cameron and Hidalgo counties.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that more than 380,000 network and computer systems administrators will be needed by 2029.
Registration for the fall semester continues, and scholarships are available. For more information, go to tstc.edu.