Network Administrator Job Description
Network administrators manage an organization’s wide area network (WAN), local area network (LAN), and internet systems. In some organizations, network administrators are responsible for network security, and managing a team of user and network support specialists.
In today’s world, just about every large company relies on their computer network. File storage, internet connections, phone service, and email services all require network administrators for their setup and maintenance.
Companies with large networks often employ many network administrators to oversee different parts of the network, while companies with smaller networks may only employ one.
Network administrators are often responsible for setting up user accounts when new employees join the company. When they setup an account, network administrators also have to decide which permissions each user can have. Permissions are a way of giving users access to the things they need, while restricting access to the things they don’t.
Network administrators work in just about every imaginable industry. Every company that relies on a computer network needs to have someone who is in charge of maintaining and improving it. However, most of the jobs in this occupation are found in hospitals, government agencies, banks, educational facilities, and large corporations.
This can be a stressful occupation at times, particularly when a network failure occurs during a peak hour of the day. At these times, network administrators are often under a huge amount of pressure to get their systems back online quickly and efficiently.
Nearly all network administrators work full time. Overtime is common for people in this occupation, since a disruption to the network can shut down productivity for an entire organization. Many network administrators are on call at all times, and may have to respond to a problem at any time of day or night.
Depending on a networking department’s service agreement with their company, they may have to limit the distance that they travel from home on the weekends they’re on call, so they can respond to an emergency within a set amount of time.
Network administrators are normally alerted to problems by automatic software that’s trained to look for problems and alert the administrator when one is detected. If the problem is detected late at night, an administrator can fix it before anyone notices.
Since this occupation can be so demanding, you should consider the impact that it might have on your personal life before you pursue a career in the field. It can be a very rewarding for some, but for others the demands can get in the way of their passions outside of work.
How to Become a Network Administrator
Most network administrators have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information science, but some electrical engineers work in this field as well.
Not all positions in this field require a bachelor’s degree, though. Some employers consider candidates with an associate’s degree or a certificate if they have related work experience.
When an employer hires a network administrator, they want to be sure that the candidate knows what they’re doing. One the best ways to demonstrate that you’re capable is to earn one or many certifications.
Certifications are normally offered by hardware and software companies, and the exams test your knowledge of their systems. There are many different certifications available, but CISCO, Microsoft, and Red Hat certifications are a few of the most desirable.
There are currently 225,200 network administrators in the United States, with 4,430 new network administrator job openings created each year.
Network Administrator jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Network Administrator Salaries
Network Administrator salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most network administrators make between $17,700 – $23,600 per year, or $8.50 – $11.36 per hour.