Technology Careers

Let's delve further into the differences between Network Administrators and other Technology Careers

Difference between network administrator and system administrator[ii]

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the role of system administrator is similar to or sometimes the same as a network administrator. However, small differences could be found in the types of duties associated with each role. Depending on the employer, network administrators could mainly handle network equipment instead of servers, whereas system administrators may be less involved with network monitoring and repair.

System administrators could focus on tasks like installing system software, performing system backup and recovery, and ensuring that workstations are operating efficiently. Of course, these tasks could also fall under the umbrella of a network administrator’s duties. Usually, it’s up to employers to determine what tasks fit the role they are hiring for, which is why these two professional titles may be used interchangeably.

Difference between network administrator and network engineer[iii]

Network engineers, sometimes known as computer network architects, typically share a goal with network administrators: to make sure an organization’s networks are operating smoothly and efficiently. However, these two professionals often perform different functions. Whereas network administrators are typically responsible for network installation, configuring, and maintenance, network engineers mainly plan and design computer information networks.

Network engineers may create models, blueprints, or prototypes for network architecture, as well as make hardware or software recommendations based on a company’s needs and goals. While network administrators and network engineers usually share some common knowledge when it comes to analyzing, implementing, and adjusting networks to meet an organization’s fluctuating demands, network engineers often have more knowledge of engineering and design.

Difference between network administrator and network security professional[iv]

Network security is usually a big concern for network administrators – they could be responsible for performing data backup and recovery, as well as installing system security software and monitoring networks for security issues. However, some organizations may have dedicated network security professionals.

Sometimes called information security analysts or computer security specialists, these employees often focus on implementing security measures like antivirus software or firewalls, safeguarding digital files, and responding to security breaches. While they could share skill areas with a network administrator, network security professionals often have additional knowledge of network and data protection strategies, such as encryption. If you’re interested in cyber security policies and protocols, you may want to consider this career direction.

Difference between network administrator and network technician[v]

Network technicians, also known as computer network support specialists, may share duties with network administrators. Both roles involve making sure an organization’s networks are running optimally and securely, with minimal downtime. However, network technicians may be more likely to perform routine maintenance, troubleshoot connectivity problems, and offer support to customers or other employees.

Network administrators, on the other hand, could be less likely to handle routine user issues, instead focusing on big-picture tasks like analyzing network performance, planning security measures, and coordinating network access. Particularly in larger organizations, they may even be responsible for supervising or managing network technicians.    

Difference between network administrator and database administrator[vi]

Just as organizations rely on networks for data transmission and communication, they often rely on databases for internal record storage. It’s not as confusing as it sounds. Databases can be used to store important information such as customers and contacts, financial records, and company stats. Database administrators plan, program, test, and monitor these databases to make sure users within a company have appropriate access and are able to perform their duties. They often have specific knowledge related to databases, such as experience with MySQL or data mapping software.

Network administrators could share some common skills with database administrators, since both roles require an IT or computer science background, but their day-to-day responsibilities are usually quite different.

 


Sources:  onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1142.00  |  bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm#tab-2

[i] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1142.00|[ii] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm#tab-2 | [iii] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1143.00|[iv] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1122.00|[v] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1152.00|[vi] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1141.00

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