Best Computer Networking Courses to Study in 2021

Best Computer Networking Courses to Study in 2021

Computer networking is a challenging field and requires extensive knowledge on the subject. This is because computer networks consist of many computers connected to each other and exchanging IP addresses, communicating, and staying secure. For this reason, we recommend spending some time with a computer networking course to get the hang of things before diving right into the field of IT.

That said, we’re here to help. While the internet has made it easy to find courses online, the consequence is that there are too many options. Unfortunately, this makes it hard to know which course is the right fit for you. The good news is that we’re here to help. Read on to learn about the eight best computer network courses.

Orientation

Before we move onto the list of courses and course breakdown, we first need to show you what to look for. This will make it easier to know which course is a good fit by looking at a few key indicators: the instructor, topic, and skill level of the course.

Instructor

First and foremost, we’ll start with the instructor. Finding a course with a good instructor can be difficult. Unfortunately, many course instructors act like gurus and promote courses with little value for a lot of money. That said, the instructors that teach the courses we selected are all legitimate, and each course has value.

Still, there are some things you should be aware of if you plan on doing your own research. First, consider the instructor’s background. For example, if an instructor is teaching a course about Cisco software, they should be certified by Cisco. Second, make sure the instructor has a background in teaching or tutoring. While everyone has to start somewhere, you want to learn from someone who knows how to teach to get the most value.

Topics

When it comes to computer networks, there are dozens of topics. Therefore, you want to shop for courses with some topics in mind. For example, some courses focus on teaching you how to keep a network secure, while others focus on IP addresses.

That said, computer networking is also a broad topic. There are many courses that spend hours grouping them together, so those are labeled under computer networking on our list to keep things simple. So, make sure you search for courses that fit your needs. If you’re good with security, look for courses that challenge your networking knowledge in other areas.

Skill Level

The next thing to focus on is the skill level of a course. When shopping for any course online, you should make sure you understand what the instructor is saying; otherwise, it’s not worth the time or money to continue. The good news is that most instructors label their courses for all types of students. You’ll come across beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses.

Beginner

Beginner-friendly courses will usually be long and in-depth. These courses focus on computer networking as a whole and incorporate a lot of topics. This means that the course will teach you the basics, show you how computer networks function, and it will even provide tips on how to secure them. While these courses are a big-time commitment, they’re worth it if you haven’t taken a course on computer networks in the past.

Intermediate

Moving on to intermediate courses, these will take you through specialized areas of computer networks. For example, some courses focus on security, while others spend time on IP addresses or website hosting. Keep in mind that many intermediate-level courses are suitable for beginners, too.

Advanced

The last skill level (advanced) are courses that focus on high-level concepts. For example, advanced computer networking courses might focus on Cisco technology or coding. While you can take any course you want — we wouldn’t want to stop you — we recommend choosing courses that fit your skill level to avoid confusion.

Price

When shopping for a computer network course, you should always consider the price. The average cost for a computer network course varies, and a lot of it depends on the website you’re using. For example, courses on websites like SkillShare and LinkedIn are under $30, but you have to subscribe monthly. Still, this leaves room for inexpensive additional education.

On the other hand, courses on websites like Udemy cost significantly more. While this is the case, these courses are also longer and more comprehensive because the instructors have more freedom with course design.

Now that you know what to look for let’s take you through the course breakdown and show you the eight best computer network courses.

Course Breakdown

Top 8 Best Computer Networking Courses to Study 2021


1. Best Overall: Introduction to Computer Networks for Non-Techies

  • 14.5 hours $94.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Alton Hardon
  • Topics: Network Foundations
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Why we like it

This is one of our top courses because it comes with over 14 hours of content and over 130 items to download. For beginners, it’s the perfect package.

Introduction to Computer Networks for Non-Techies is a well-rounded course that covers a lot of information. With over 14.5 hours of content and over 130 resources to download, it comes with everything you need to know about computer networks, creating computer networks, and keeping those networks secure. Alton Hardon is also an instructor that keeps things simple to make sure the course is beginner friendly.

While Introduction to Computer Networks for Non-Techies is Beginner-friendly, it’s also a good fit for people of other skill levels because it covers a lot of ground. The course includes instruction on how computer networks function, the inner workings of computer networks, the benefits of these networks, and how to put network plans into place. Overall, it’s a comprehensive course that covers most of what you need to know to get started in computer networking.

Things to Consider

Introduction to Computer Networks for Non-Techies is a well-rounded course, but it comes up short in a few areas. For instance, the course lacks advanced content that you’ll find in more intermediate or advanced courses. If you’re someone who already knows the basics of computer networking, the first few hours of this course will do nothing but waste your time.

If that’s the case, we recommend an alternative like World of Computer Networking. Your CCNA Starts Here.

Who It’s For

Introduction to Computer Networks for Non-Techies is a great course for people that haven’t worked with computer networks yet. The course covers all the basics to get beginners up to speed and does so in a way that doesn’t feel rushed or pressured. There are also enough resources to download for hours of additional education, which gives the course great value.

Pros

  • Great value
  • A ton of content
  • Beginner-friendly

Cons

  • Best suited for beginners


2. Best for Security: Computer Networks Security From Scratch to Advanced

  • 8 hours $124.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Muhammad Adly
  • Topics: Network Security
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Advanced

Why we like it

This is one of our favorite courses because it helps you with the security aspects of computer networks. While most courses touch on security to an extent, none do so in a way that’s great for people of all skill levels.

Computer Networks Security from Scratch to Advanced is a computer network course that focuses on the security aspect of networks. The course features common network security topics like firewalls, honeypots, intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, and even security recommendations. Each of these topics will show you how to manage a network prior to, during, and after a security breach.

The course is also beginner-friendly. While it brings you a lot of information about security measures, the course starts off with a brief introduction to the topic. Muhammad Adly breaks down each topic in a way that’s easy to understand. Plus, more intermediate or advanced students can always skip through this information.

Things to Consider

Computer Networks Security from Scratch to Advanced is a great course for security, but it fails to account for other areas of computer networks. While it gives a basic rundown of what they are and how they function, courses like Introduction to Computer Networks for Non-Techies does a much better job and gets through more topics.

Who It’s For

If you’re looking to firm up your knowledge of computer network security, this course is a great choice. You’ll learn everything you need to know about keeping computer networks safe, intruder-free, and operational. This course is also suitable for people of all skill backgrounds.

Pros

  • Teaches about computer networks security
  • Great for all skill levels
  • Comes with a lot of downloadable resources

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only focuses on security


3. Best Budget-friendly: Cisco Networking Foundations

  • 5 hours $29.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Todd Lammle
  • Topics: Cisco Networks
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Why we like it

We love this course because it covers topics relating to Cisco Systems. This software is commonly used in the IT world, and understanding Cisco technology can help you get many certifications.

Cisco Networking Foundations is an entry-level course that’s great for learning the basics about Cisco networks and how they function. Todd Lammle takes you through prevalent topics in the industry like interworking, ethernet, subnetting, and more. While these topics are enough to make the course valuable, it’s the emphasis on Cisco networks that make this course unique.

Cisco networks are some of the most common networks across the country. While the software is great, there is a steep learning curve and a lot of certifications to earn before you get started. That said, this course serves as a great introduction to both networks and Cisco networks.

Things to Consider

While this course is unique because it focuses on Cisco networks, unfortunately, it means that other important networking software options and designs are left out. It covers the basics of most networks, but there are better beginner-friendly courses like Introduction to Computer Networks for Non-Techies, which takes you on a 14-hour masterclass on the basics of general networks.

Who It’s For

If you’re interested in working on Cisco networks, this course is one of the best choices. It will take you through the basics of Cisco networks and show you how they function and how to keep them secure. The course will also give you a look into the future about some of the certifications you can earn down the road.

Pros

  • Focuses on Cisco Systems
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Focuses heavily on Cisco Systems
  • Less suitable for intermediate or advanced learners


4. Best Value: Computer Networks for Beginners

  • 3 hours, 12 minutes $19.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Edoreal Learning Solutions
  • Topics: Networking, Addressing, IT
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Why we like it

Computer Networks for Beginners | IT Networking Fundamentals is one of our favorite choices because of its budget-friendly price and to-the-point content. While it’s shorter than most networking courses, Edoreal Learning covers a ton of topics.

Computer Networks for Beginners is found on SkillShare. While the course is only 3 hours long, we’re impressed by the amount of content Edoreal Learning Solutions can get through. The course is loaded with topics like the internet, networking, network support layers, addressing, IT, physical connections, multiplexing, and more.

This is also a great refresher course for people with different skill levels because some sections focus on high-level topics like flaws, error control, security, and more. Overall, it’s one of the most well-rounded courses for time commitment, value, and topics.

Things to Consider

While this course is one of our favorite value-wise, its lack of content makes it weaker than other courses on the list. For example, courses with over 14 hours of content like Introduction to Computer Networks for Non-Techies, blow it out of the water. Furthermore, the course does not come with additional studying materials or downloads.

Who It’s For

This course is best suited for someone that’s new to networking and is unsure if it’s right for them. While the course is full of great information, it’s an easy-to-digest course for people that are new to the industry or are unsure if they want to work with Cisco Systems or other software options. Still, this course can serve as a refresher course for many advanced students that have certification exams coming up.

Pros

  • Short and to the point
  • Delivered by an instructor from a professional organization
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Shorter than most courses
  • Not a lot of value


5. Best for Cybersecurity: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Cyber Security

  • 3 hours, 17 minutes $19.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Alexander Oni
  • Topics: Network Security
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Why we like it

This course is one of the few on SkillShare that spends a lot of time on cybersecurity. While the course doesn’t cover much about networks, it will show you how to keep them safe.

The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Cyber Security is a beginner-friendly course for network security. While the course is one of the shortest on the list, the instructor makes up for the lack of content by adding value. Alexander Oni takes you through several key areas of cybersecurity and shows you how to keep your networks safe. This is valuable information because many courses gloss over security or don’t spend enough time on it.

The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Cyber Security goes over a ton of topics. To name a few, you’ll find brute force attacks, ping, social engineering, Trojans, malware, and many more. The course is set up to introduce you to each one and show you a solution for how to prevent it or manage it. Therefore, it’s one of the most comprehensive network security courses, despite having only 3 hours of content.

Things to Consider

While The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Cyber Security is a great module, it doesn’t compare to some of the bigger courses because it only has 3 hours of content. While the instructor makes good use of his time, it’s not the same as a course like Computer Networks Security From Scratch to Advanced that has 8 hours of content and more detail on each topic.

Who It’s For

The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Cyber Security is a great fit for students who have no background in networking or security. The course teaches basic concepts and will define a handful of industry-specific terms for you. That said, it’s not a good fit for anyone who is familiar with the industry or software.

Pros

  • Covers a lot of security terminology
  • Shows you solutions to security issues
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Not a lot of content
  • Only suited for beginners


6. Best for Cisco: World of Computer Networking. Your CCNA Starts Here

  • 14.5 hours $109.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Bogdan Stashchuk
  • Topics: Cisco CCNA
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Why we like it

This class prepares you for Cisco certifications like the CCNA exam. Furthermore, it’s beginner-friendly and suitable for novices.

The World of Computer Networking is a great class for Cisco computer networks. The course is designed to help students prepare for Cisco certification exams like the CCNA. While these exams are challenging and specialized, students that go on to pass them can earn high salaries in the field of IT. Therefore, this course is great for exam preparation and building a foundation of knowledge for Cisco Systems.

This course also has additional benefits that carry into other disciplines of computer networking. For example, you’ll learn about the basics of computer networking and how computers interact with one another on VLANs. Additionally, the course has some good information on security and network protection.

Things to Consider

The World of Computer Networking is a great course, but it’s not perfect. For one, it mostly focuses on Cisco computer networks, which leaves other networks unattended. If you’re looking for a more general course, IT Networking Fundamentals for Complete Beginners is a great alternative that focuses on the basics of every computer network.

Who It’s For

If you’re interested in learning about Cisco networks, this course is a great option. It will take you through the basics of Cisco networks and show you how to protect them. Additionally, the course comes with some test prep options for the CCNA exam if you’re looking to take it soon. That said, this course is harder than most because it assumes you’re already familiar with the Cisco A+ and Cisco Security+ certifications.

Pros

  • Helps you prepare for the CCNA exam
  • Plenty of high-quality content and additional materials
  • Teaches the basics and is suitable for beginners

Cons

  • While the course is suitable for beginners, it helps to have a background in Cisco Systems


7. Best for Beginners: IT Networking Fundamentals for Complete Beginners

  • 3 hours $94.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Lisa King-Porter
  • Topics: IT Fundamentals, Computer Networks
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Why we like it

This course is one of our top choices because it prepares you for a life in the IT field. While it dabbles in the basic concepts, it also explores how they’re applied.

IT Networking Fundamentals for Complete Beginners is a beginner-friendly course that prepares you for a career in IT. Lisa King-Porter has decades of experience in the field and uses her extensive knowledge to teach you concepts and how to apply them. In the course, you’ll learn about computer networks, network communications, operating systems, and data security.

This course is also unique because it gives access to free hosting for one year. This is a huge benefit because it provides access to a server and the tools to mess around at your own pace. Therefore, you get some opportunities for additional education after completing the course. In fact, you can start to apply what you learn on the first day.

Things to Consider

IT Networking Fundamentals for Complete Beginners is a well-rounded course, but with only 3 hours of content, it doesn’t do a deep, comprehensive dive. If you’re looking for a more in-depth course, Computer Networks for Non-Techies is a great alternative that comes with over 14 hours of content.

Who It’s For

If you’re interested in understanding what a career in IT looks like, this is a great choice. While it teaches you the basics in a beginner-friendly way, it also shows you how to apply the concepts. Additionally, the course comes with free hosting for a year, so it’s a good fit for anyone that wants to tinker with computer networks on their own time.

Pros

  • Comes with free hosting for a year
  • Teaches you concepts and shows you how to apply them
  • Prepares you for a career in IT

Cons

  • Not as comprehensive as some of the longer courses on the list
  • Expensive for the length of content


8. Best for IP Addresses: Networking Foundations: IP Addressing

  • 1.5 hours $29.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Anthony Sequeria
  • Topics: IP Addresses
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

Why we like it

IP addresses play a huge role in computer networking, which is why this course is one of our favorites. While many courses feature modules on IP addresses, this course gives you a comprehensive breakdown of how they work.

Network Foundations teaches you about the basics of IP addresses and how they function in complex computer networks. The course also features modules for applying what you learned so you can use the information in the field sooner rather than later. Furthermore, the course is taught by Anthony Sequeria, who has been a technical instructor for years. This makes it easy for him to break down topics in ways that are easy to understand.

Network Foundations also goes over some more advanced topics relating to CIDR and aggregation, which is why we have listed it at the intermediate level. The course also teaches you about unique IP addresses like ones that have special uses.

Things to Consider

While Network Foundations is one of our favorite courses, it doesn’t have a lot of content because it only focuses on IP addresses. If you’re looking for a more content-rich alternative, Computer Networks for Non-Techies is another option.

Who It’s For

If you’re pretty good with IT and software but aren’t familiar with IP addressing, this course is a great choice. It’s designed to fill in some of those gaps, and it does this well. That said, we don’t recommend this course for beginners because it assumes you know a lot about computer networks and how they communicate with one another.

Pros

  • Focuses on IP addresses
  • Taught by someone with decades of experience
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Not a lot of content compared to other courses


Computer Networking FAQ

Man and woman looking at a server Computer networking is a complex field, so we’re sure you have some questions. Read on to get some answers.

Computer networking can lead to a great career. Many IT jobs require you to know about computer networks and how they function. Additionally, the job can lead to future opportunities like becoming a network engineer. These are jobs that can earn you six figures per year — at least.

Learning computer networking is a lot like learning other skills. You have to learn about the subject, find courses, and even find a mentor. That said, computer networking also requires some hands-on training and practice. You’ll want to work on simulated software to make sure you know how to diagnose issues, activate networks, and make sure everything is running well.

Studying computer networking requires a lot of studying. Because there are many sub-topics, you can expect to study anything from IP addresses to Cisco software. Some common things to study include security, operating systems, servers, VLANS, computer science, and more.

While many people think computer networking is hard to learn, it’s easier if you choose the right courses and mentors. You’ll want to learn from someone that can easily explain each concept and make it easy to understand. So, we recommend taking a handful of courses to make sure you know what you’re getting into. While it takes time, it’s possible to learn if you commit.



Extra Credit

A bunch of phones and computers connected to one another (digital)

Knowing what the best courses are for computer networks is a great place to start. Still, if you’re going to choose a course, it’s best to shop based on your needs. Our Extra Credit section will help you identify those needs and make recommendations for courses based on them.

Learning the Basics

Computer networks are inherently complicated. There is a lot of ground to cover and a lot of things you need to learn. For this reason, we recommend starting out with a beginner-friendly course if you don’t have previous experience. Plus, easing into computer networking is always the best choice. If you move too fast too soon, you can burn out and make the process challenging.

If you’re just getting started, there are a lot of great options. That said, the best choice is Computer Networks for Non-Techies because it comes packed with over 14 hours of content. In fact, it comes with resources you can download even after the course is complete. If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly course to get you started, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Focusing on Network Security

Security is one of the most important things in any computer network. If the software is compromised, money can be lost, information can be stolen, and networks can collapse. Therefore, many companies look for IT workers to keep networks safe and secure. While network security is important, it’s also challenging because the technology keeps changing, so you want to make sure your instructor has a lot of experience in the industry.

If you’re looking for a good network security course, our favorite choice is Computer Networks Security From Scratch to Advanced. It takes you through network security from start to finish, so it has content for learners at all skill levels.

Preparing for Cisco Certifications

Cisco is one of the most popular software manufacturers in the industry. You may want to aim for certifications like the CCNA certification, which shows companies that you know how to work on Cisco systems. Because Cisco is so popular in the industry, having this certification can set you apart from other people in the IT world.

If you’re looking for Cisco certifications, one of the best courses is Cisco Networking Foundations. This is a beginner-friendly Cisco course that teaches you about the basics. It doesn’t go too in-depth or prepare you for certifications, but that’s not the course’s intention.

Another great course for Cisco is the World of Computer Networking. This course works well because it prepares you for the CCNA exam, which can reward you with one of the best Cisco certifications around. That said, this course is best suited for students that have a Cisco background.

IP Addresses

IP Addresses, or internet protocol addresses, are used to connect to the internet. These are important in computer networks because every device is given an IP address to help computers communicate with each other. Overall, these addresses are the backbone of the internet and how computers surf the web. That said, IP addresses are complicated, especially if you’re looking to modify them.

If you want to learn more about IP addresses, Network Foundations IP Addressing is a great course. It takes you through the basics, but it also shows you how to hide and protect them.

Content Is King

Computer networks require a lot of training, too. It’s not something you’ll be familiar with right out of the gate since they’re complex and you need to be adept at almost every topic. In other words, with computer networks, you can’t be good at just a few things, you need to be excellent at almost everything. For this reason, we always recommend working with a comprehensive course that covers almost every topic.

If you’re looking for the biggest course, Computer Networks for Non-Techies is a great choice. It’s loaded with content and additional materials to help you learn after the course comes to an end.

Final Thoughts

Computer networking is a challenging and rewarding field. You’ll inevitably face some difficult material, but once you learn it, job opportunities will open up, and it can turn into an exciting career. In this field, there are jobs in cybersecurity, networking, IT, communications, and more.

That said, it’s important to walk before you can run. Take your time and choose a course that best suits your needs and skill level. This will help you avoid choosing a course that’s too advanced, which can be discouraging. Regardless of your skill level, it’s possible to get started with computer networking at any point in your life. So, feel free to mix and match to give yourself a head start!