Become a Network Administrator

In 2012, the median annual wage for network and computer administrators was $72,560 [ii]

Salary Potential if you become a network administrator

In 2012, the median annual wage for network and computer administrators was $72,560 [ii]

Are you interested in managing computer networks?

Those who become network administrators are typically responsible for the day-to-operations of computer networks, which are critical to almost every company or organization.  In order to keep these networks operating properly, a network administrator must organize, install and support an organization’s computer systems in a number of ways, which may include managing local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems. 

Network Administrator Job Description

Network administrators are usually responsible for a wide array of duties, but they all serve one purpose: to make sure an organization’s computer systems are set up properly and running smoothly.

Find below a typical job description and responsibilities if you decide to become a network administrator:

  • Determine an organization’s computer network needs before setting up systems
  • Collaborate with staff to design optimal network systems and configurations
  • Maintain computer security systems, including firewalls, VPN’s and anti-virus software
  • Provide support for all networking hardware and software systems, as well as cabling
  • Respond to network or system emergencies
  • Train employees on the proper use of software and hardware
  • Consistently work to improve network speed and performance

Network Administrator Important Qualities and Skills Set

There are a number of qualities and skills that lend particular well to a career in network administration.  They include:

  • Knowledge of computers and electronics – must be familiar with circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, computer hardware and software
  • Analysis skills – Must be able to analyze data and evaluate system performance under different conditions
  • Communication skills – should be able to communicate problems and solutions to non-IT employees
  • Multi-tasking and problem-solving skills – must be able to handle several tasks at once and address multiple problems
  • Physical agility – ability to bend, stoop, twist and turn frequently; lift heavy objects, including computers and other equipment

How to Become a Network Administrator

Education[i]

If you want to become a network administrator, most employers require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information science or a related field.  However, some employers may just require a postsecondary certificate.  In some cases, because network administrators work with computer hardware and equipment, a degree in computer engineering or electrical engineering may be acceptable, as well. 

Certification[ii]

While certification is not always necessary, it may provide jobseekers with a competitive edge.  Certification programs are often offered by product vendors or software firms, and sometimes companies may require network administrators to be certified in the product they use, e.g. Microsoft or Cisco. 

Other Experience and Advancement[i]

It’s common for network administrators to participate in an internship while in school to gain practical experience in the field before pursuing employment.  Once employed as a network technician, they may advance to become computer network architects or even management jobs in IT departments such as computer and information systems managers.

Networking Administrator Salary Potential and Job Growth[ii] 

If you’re interested in a career as a networking administrator, then you’re probably curious about the salary potential and job growth in the field.  Here are some facts about salary and job growth for network administrators:

  • In 2012, the median annual wage for network and computer administrators was $72,560.
  • Employment in the field is expected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 20122, which is about as fast as average for all occupations.
  • Growth will be highest at companies and organizations that provide cloud computing technology.

Now that you’ve learned more about what network administrators do, it’s time to get more information about how to pursue a career in the field.  Click here to discover more about network administration degree programs or here to find out more about opportunities in specific states. 


[i] bls.gov/ooh/Computer-and-Information-Technology/Network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm#tab-4  |  [ii] bls.gov/ooh/Computer-and-Information-Technology/Network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm#tab-1   |  bls.gov/ooh/Computer-and-Information-Technology/Network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm#tab-2  |  onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1142.00 

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