Becoming a Network Administrator: Salary & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a network administrator career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a network administrator is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Working as a Network Administrator

Network administrators install and design an organization's computer networking system. They oversee Internet, intranet and LAN connections and networks to make sure they are running efficiently and without errors. Find out about the pros and cons of this career to make an informed decision.

PROS of a Network Administrator Career
Associate degree or professional certificate is sometimes sufficient *
Administrators are expected to have excellent job prospects*
Job growth is expected to occur significantly in certain fields (35% growth expected in computer systems design and related industries between 2012 and 2022)*
Potential to work from home*

CONS of a Network Administrator Career
Susceptible to eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome*
Consistent training is necessary to keep up with new technology*
Job growth may be affected by foreign outsourcing*
Industry certification may be necessary

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job Duties and Career Information

Network administrators endeavor to make sure a company's computer information networks are running properly. They also may help design and implement new network connections and architecture. Network administrators also spend time troubleshooting networking issues. If a company's individual users are experiencing problems at their stations, a network administrator will usually work to identify and solve those problems as quickly as possible.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment of network and computer systems administrators would grow 12% between 2012 and 2022. The BLS attributed this growth to increased network usage and to the demand of firms needing administrators to manage new technology. The BLS also noted that the demand for network administrators with knowledge of information security will also increase. Network administrators earned a median salary of about $75,790 in 2014.

What Are the Requirements?

Job Skills

Network administrators need to have sharp problem solving, communication and analytical skills. They also must pay close attention to details and be able to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. Additionally, they must also be able to work as part of a team with other administrators and managers, as well as fellow employees who do not have a background in computer science or technology.

Career Path and Education

Network administrators typically hold a bachelor's degree in information science or computer science, and some administrators hold bachelor's degrees in engineering or electrical engineering. It may also be possible to obtain an entry-level job with an associate degree or professional certification. Many jobs also require on-the-job training, and some employers will provide opportunities for advanced training. Depending on an administrator's educational background and work experience, there may be opportunities to move into management positions.

Real Job Listings

When you start looking for network administrator jobs, you'll notice that most employers are looking for administrators with a versatile array of skills. In addition to your educational background, employers look for candidates with strong problem solving skills, knowledge of different types of servers and forms of script writing and a background in network security. In addition to these skills, most employers are looking for administrators with some industry experience.

  • A New Jersey consulting firm is seeking a network administrator with at least three years of experience. The successful candidate will know how to perform recovery and restart procedures, support analysts, research and resolve problems.
  • A Philadelphia university is looking for a network administrator with a bachelor's degree in computer science and at least six years of professional experience. They must also have knowledge of server class systems and script writing.
  • A Virginia company would like to hire a network administrator who can develop and maintain a network, maintain a firewall and assist with control and configuration. The ideal candidate will hold a bachelor's degree and have two years of relevant work experience.

How to Stand Out in This Field

Although many employers may require professional certification, it is typically not required for employment. Prospective network administrators may distinguish themselves by acquiring a certification credential. Several computer companies and software companies, such as Microsoft, offer different types of certification for their products and the skills needed to manage them. According to the BLS, the healthcare industry is especially in need of network administrators, so gaining some experience with healthcare information systems could be helpful.

Alternative Career Options

If you decide that a career as a network administrator is not a good fit for you, you may pursue some other professional options. These are a few different types of jobs that require similar technical skills and training.

Computer Support Specialist

Computer support specialists help computer users solve problems and make sure their terminals and systems are working properly. The BLS predicts that demand for these specialists will increase 18% between 2010 and 2020. These specialists also earned a median annual salary of $48,000 in 2011.

Computer Systems Analyst

Computer systems analysts examine information systems used by businesses and determine whether or not the systems can be improved or should be modified. Analysts earned a median salary of about $79,000 in 2011, and the BLS notes that systems analyst job opportunities are expected to grow 22% between 2010 and 2020.

Computer Programmer

Computer programmers design and write software applications and translate design concepts into numerical data that instructs a computer to perform certain tasks. The BLS projects a 12% increase in demand for computer programmers between 2010 and 2020. Programmers earned $73,000 in 2011.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology
    Bachelor's
      • BSIT: Network Admin
      • BS in IT - IT Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
    Associate's
      • AASIT: Network Admin
  • Campus Locations:
    2. American National University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Network Administration - Associate
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - General
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - Information Security
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Information Systems Technology
  • Campus and Online Programs
    4. Louisiana State University Shreveport

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Data Analytics Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - Data Analytics Specialization
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Tulane University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master - Information Technology Management
      • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Information Technology
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security
  • Campus Locations:
    8. Altierus

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Computer Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Rochester, NY

    Rochester Institute of Technology

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
  • BSIT: Network Admin
  • AASIT: Network Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

American National University

  • Network Administration - Associate

What is your education level?

Regent University

  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology

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Louisiana State University Shreveport

  • Master of Business Administration - Data Analytics Concentration
  • Master of Business Administration - Data Analytics Specialization

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Tulane University

  • Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management

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Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

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Colorado State University Global

  • Master - Information Technology Management
  • BS - Information Technology
  • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security

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Altierus

  • Computer Information Technology

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