A career as a Network Administrator has lots to offer today’s IT professionals. There is high demand, great job security, and endless professional advancement opportunities as companies continue to move more work online.
The need for skilled network engineers is even growing in traditionally non-tech-oriented industries, such as healthcare. Hospitals are switching to electronic records and going paperless, so knowledge of updating computer systems and networks is a much-needed skillset.
What Does A Network Administrator Do?
Network administrators are a part of the daily operation of network systems, and the responsibility of this role includes four key components:
- Establish: The company’s network configuration must be set up, and the process includes planning and installing all systems, setting up user accounts, and restoring any needed data.
- Maintain: Keep the network safe at all times by taking extra measures as necessary. This includes installing software updates, uninstalling outdated software, and improving network performance.
- Watch: You will need to monitor the network’s security and perform upkeeps. This includes catching issues within the system and performing updates when necessary.
- Troubleshoot: When the system goes down, you will need to investigate and resolve network problems. In addition, you need to have established a plan and process to act quickly.
The network administrator and department manager determine how the organization’s network will operate. This teamwork makes sure everything works correctly and makes adjustments when necessary.
What Is A Network Administrator’s Average Salary?
You can expect to earn a high salary in this field as you would in any other career in computer science. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the median annual wage for network administrators was $84,810. The average entry level salary for those just starting in this field is $52,830, while those who have been in the field longer can make over $134,970.
Job opportunities for network administrators are plentiful and seem to be skyrocketing. According to the BLS, job growth in this career field is expected to be 4% between 2019 and 2029.
Common Network Administration Job Titles
Network administrators can have a variety of job titles, but their roles are often the same. Some of the roles and job titles you’re likely to see within this field are:
- Junior Network Administrator: In this role, employees are responsible for ensuring a company’s computer network performs at the highest level. The setup process involves installing and configuring hardware on the computer, configuring the server, and troubleshooting any connection errors.
- Computer System Analyst: These individuals are also known as systems architects since they design and implement solutions to help a company’s networks operate more efficiently.
- Computer Programmer: An employee in this role writes code to improve the performance of software applications. While managing other operating systems, they are primarily responsible for designing and updating software solutions.
- Computer and Information Systems Manager: Within this role, individuals oversee all computer-related activities within a company. In addition, they observe the company’s budget and implement technology when necessary.
- Software Developer: This role is responsible for designing, implementing, and testing all computer applications for the business.
- Computer Network Architect: An individual in this role is responsible for establishing and maintaining a company’s data and communication networks. The employee will build the data by utilizing local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets.
What Skills Does A Network Administrator Need?
For many roles as a network administrator, you will need an undergraduate degree in an area such as computer science, engineering, or business management. However, a college degree is only the first step. To stand out in your job search, you would want a balance of “soft” skills and “hard” skills:
- Communication: network administrators work with every department in an organization, so being able to clearly communicate with others in a business setting is crucial.
- Collaboration: many network administrators work on or manage a team of engineers, analysts, and architects. You’ll need to be comfortable working with others to successfully manage an entire network.
- Leadership and Management: network administrators must have skills in leadership and management. This includes being proactive, identifying risks and suggesting solutions. You must be confident and able to delegate and coach others.
- Self-Motivation: while you will typically work on a team, each member of that team will have their own tasks and responsibilities. Being able to motivate yourself and track against your goals with little oversight is critical.
- Critical Thinking: analyzing problems, assessing risk, and creating solutions are daily activities for a network administrator.
While not directly related to network administration, you should also be familiar with the concepts of artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI and ML are increasingly important in today’s digital world as systems and networks are expanding into new areas. Additionally, some base software development skills will be extremely helpful. Python, in particular, is easy to learn.
Start Learning Today
As you can see, a career as a network administrator is more than just a good paycheck. You’ll gain skills that can be applied to every industry, and open up a world of possibilities for your future career.
Our Foundation subscription includes several learning paths for aspiring network administrators, as well as skills training on other useful topics.