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. Regis University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Information Assurance
      • Master of Science in Information Assurance - Cybersecurity Specialization
      • Master of Science in Information Assurance - IA Policy Management Specialization
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance Policy Management
      • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and Cyber Security
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Certificate in Science, Technology, and International Security Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management - Technology Management (Executive Format)
      • Doctorate: Computer Science
      • Doctorate - Computer Science: Information Assurance (Executive Format)
      • Doctor of Computer Science - Big Data Analytics (Executive Format)
    Master's
      • M.S. - Information Technology - Network Management
      • MS - Computer Science - Computer Systems Security
      • M.S. - Information Technology
      • MS - Management - Information Systems Security
      • M.S. - Management: IT and Project Management
      • Master of Science in Computer Science
    Bachelor's
      • BS - IT - Network Management
      • Bachelor: Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security - Computer Systems Security
      • BS - Business Administration - IT
      • BS - IT - Security
      • BS - Management - Cybersecurity Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. ECPI University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor's - Network Security
      • Bachelor's - Cloud Computing
    Associate's
      • Associate's - Network Security
  • Campus Locations:
    6. Lincoln Tech

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Technology and Skilled Trades
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA with an Emphasis in Data Analytics
      • Bridge (Doctor of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Data Analytics)
    Master's
      • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Instructional Technology
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security (Bridge)
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems
      • Bachelor of Science in Applied Business Information Systems
      • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cyber Security
      • B.S. in Computer Programming
  • Campus Locations:
    8. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Management Information Systems
    Associate's
      • Associate: Network Engineering
    Certificate
      • Certification - Network Technician
  • Campus and Online Programs
    9. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
      • BS - Game Design (Campus)
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. Business Information Systems
      • B.S. General Studies - Computer Information Technology
    Associate's
      • A.S. Computer Information Technology
      • A.S. General Studies - Computer Information Technology
    Certificate
      • Graduate Technology Certificate

Featured Schools

Regis University

  • Master of Science in Information Assurance
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance - Cybersecurity Specialization
  • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance Policy Management
  • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and Cyber Security

What is your highest level of education completed?

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Certificate in Science, Technology, and International Security Studies

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management - Technology Management (Executive Format)
  • M.S. - Information Technology - Network Management
  • BS - IT - Network Management

Are you a US citizen?

ECPI University

  • Bachelor's - Network Security
  • Bachelor's - Cloud Computing
  • Associate's - Network Security

What is your highest level of education?

Lincoln Tech

  • Technology and Skilled Trades

What year did you graduate High School / Receive GED?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA with an Emphasis in Data Analytics
  • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • B.S. in Information Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Virginia College

  • Bachelor: Management Information Systems
  • Associate: Network Engineering
  • Certification - Network Technician

What is your highest level of education completed?