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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 11:41 GMT
'Digital plumbers' fix home nets
Person listening to music in their home
More people want to share their broadband connection around the home
A new qualification for "digital plumbers" is to help train people to become bona fide "home network" fixers.

The Home Technology Integration skills course, previously only available in the US, is designed to train people to set up and fix digital home networks.

More than 200,000 new broadband connections are made monthly in the UK.

This means more people work from home, and use their high-speed home networks to connect up other gadgets around the house, like printers or other devices.

The first 30 "digital plumbers" to graduate from the course received their certificates this week.

CompTIA, a global technology trade association, expects several hundred more to be qualified over the course of this year.

Digital fixers

Home networks connect up electronic devices, such as TVs, PCs, DVD players, phones, printers, and even refrigerators, and alarm systems.

"The demand for the networked home is growing by leaps and bounds, and with it, the need for certified professionals - digital plumbers - to service this market," said Matthew Poyiadgi, from CompTIA.

The "digital plumbing" qualification - CompTIA HTI+ - has been set up with the help of funding from Yorkshire Forward investment.

RJ45 cables
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The course will make sure that dedicated certified professionals have the expertise to install and maintain home networks, providing a "one stop shop" for people.

As part of the initiative to push the course, a group of people qualified to teach engineers will be identified and developed over the next 12 months.

"At one end of the scale candidates with experience in home networking can take a five-day intensive course and then sit the exam," explained Mr Poyiadgi.

"At the other, self study is possible and the course can be completed over a number of months."

Anyone can take the course, but Mr Poyiadgi said the majority of candidates would probably be those who have experience of home support, who want to add networking to their expertise.

It is hoped that the qualification will open up a new stream of jobs for engineers who currently work in technical support.

"This might also include large construction companies keen to increase the scope of work employees can offer customers," added Mr Poyiadgi.

The course is not restricted to those living in the Yorkshire and Humberside region.

Home networks, or "connected homes", are growing to be an important element in consumer electronics, according to the Consumer Electronics Association in the US.

With the explosion in the gadget market, there is growing demand for specialists who can troubleshoot for those planning to connect up all their devices in the home.

The qualification was designed by technology industry experts from Cisco, NTI West Yorkshire and D-Com.



SEE ALSO:
Broadband set to revolutionise TV
09 Mar 05 |  Technology
Chip maker backs net phone calls
09 Mar 05 |  Technology
Millions buy MP3 players in US
15 Feb 05 |  Technology
Gadget market 'to grow in 2005'
10 Jan 05 |  Technology


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