In this article, we will discuss the network administrator job description, the tasks and responsibilities of a network administrator, their career outlook, their salary and hours, and what it takes to become one.
Network administrators have one of the most crucial information technology roles in any company. They are in charge of overseeing, maintaining, protecting, and upgrading the internal network of an office. They have to ensure that the network is functioning properly, as well as help users solve problems and respond to reported issues.
Job Overview: What Does A Network Administrator Do?
Nearly all businesses and offices have an internal network that connects their computers, servers, point of sale systems, and other technology. The network administrator job description includes operate and managing this network, ensuring that it remains up and functioning at full capacity as much as possible.
The network admin must contend with intrusions and hack attempts, keep software updated and secure, adapt to new additions to the network, and otherwise maintain the functionality of the network.
Network Administrator Job Duties
- Assess the company’s need for any and all computing technology and make appropriate recommendations for purchases and upgrades.
- Connect all relevant technology to the network with secure protocols.
- Deploy and roll out updates and upgrades in a minimally disruptive way.
- Assign profiles to users with permissions and access to various systems and functions on the network.
- Create training and educational materials to ensure that users understand security protocols, connection procedures, and other necessary information.
- Monitor the performance of the network using analytical data to seek problems or concerns.
- Proactively seek changes or upgrades that can improve the network in a way that adds to the business’s bottom line in the form of superior productivity.
- Maintain information security for sensitive data.
Network Administrator Job Essential Skills
Computer skills. A network administrator will go through extensive education and training to learn about networks. This is a ongoing process because the field is constantly evolving. A network administrator has to learn on the job about more languages, protocols, tools, and software.
Interpersonal skills. Network administrators are frequently in the position of explaining important network concepts to people without a background in the relevant technical fields. They must be able to relate key ideas without becoming hard to understand, and be able to listen to users for explanations of problems that they don’t fully understand.
Becoming a Network Administrator
Nearly all network admins have a bachelor’s in computer or informational science. They also usually need to get certifications in a wide variety of network products. They can move on to higher roles with more experience and education.
Qualifications and Training
A bachelor’s degree in computer science will provide the basis and background for being a network admin. Some degree programs have specialized classes for network administration and might offer a special certificate for it, but this is usually not required.
After graduating, it is not difficult to find work as a network administrator with no further experience. Internships are possible to find, but not generally necessary. On the job, much of the training consists of learning the details of real-world networks and how to deal with problems as they arise.
Furthermore, network admins can gain certifications by learning the best practices for using various networking products from companies like Microsoft or Cisco. These certifications act as a signal that the holder has mastered the skills and knowledge for that product. Since new products come out frequently, there is always more to learn and more certifications to obtain.
Experience matters, especially if it is work at a well-known location, but certifications do just as good of a job at letting potential employers understand a network admin’s skills. It might be possible to do an internship in college to build work experience as well.
If that is not possible, working part time or on a limited basis can act as a substitute for an internship during school. Because network administrator is an in-demand role, it is possible to get work out of college with the right degree and good performance in relevant courses. Getting started on certifications is a common move.
A network administrator often has to work late or on weekends to maintain the network. This happens when something goes wrong or when there is a major update to deploy, change to make, or assessment to perform.
The occasionally long hours are due to the importance of network administrators to the functioning of the office. The long hours can be anticipated or crop up unexpectedly, but they are not the norm. A typical week for a network administrator is of 40 hours of work.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
There are three main ways to progress in network administration. The first is to accumulate more and more certifications and skills, becoming a highly valuable admin who is capable of many different tasks. Frequently, administrators wind up specializing in one degree or another, but classes and certifications always provide a path for further learning.
The second way is to move into management. A network administrator can move up higher in the IT hierarchy to manage computer and information systems in general, or move to a larger company where they manage other IT workers below them. This entails more responsibility and control within the IT department.
The third path is to move into network architecture, which is the field of building and creating new networks. This is a valued skillset with a higher pay and growth prospects than that of network administrators.
Currently, network administration is paid fairly well. The median annual salary of a network administrator is of $57,617.
Network administrators are one of the most important people in IT, and often have a supervisory role within the IT department. They manage all of the maintenance and upkeep for a company’s network on a day to day basis.
A network admin has to maintain performance and security, while making improvements to the network or helping incorporate new technology over time. The network administrator job description has significant but not demanding educational requirements, and a defined structure for advancement in the form of certifications.