How To Become a Network Administrator

Today, most companies and businesses rely on a complex network consisting of computers and other technological devices to run routine operations. So, network administrators have a huge role in most businesses and companies. 

They are information systems specialists, and they can design, build and maintain computer networks according to the needs of businesses.

It is true to say that becoming an administrator in this field is a smart career choice for anyone interested in information technology.

So, how to become a network administrator? Here is the primary path that you need to follow!

How to Become a Network Administrator

If your goal is to become an administrator in this critical field, you must follow a reliable and suitable path.

Here, we will provide you with a 5-step roadmap that works for anyone.

Note that there is no defined time for each step. It means you can adjust the time for each step to fit your individual circumstances.

You will need the right path to pursue your career.

Step 1: Determine the Career Path

Many people start college without a specific idea of the career or field they want to pursue. 

We recommend defining your career goals in advance. It allows you to choose a program that includes classes related to your target career.

For example, if you prefer to work in cybersecurity, it is not necessary to take additional courses on technical consulting.

On the other hand, if you enjoy working with new businesses, it is wise to choose a program that gives you some basic business classes.

During your early college years, you’ll mostly take core classes. So, you should not worry if you have not yet determined your specific career path.

Step 2: Limited Your Choices

Through pondering and thinking about your career path, you will gain insight into your target field. That way, it allows you to define your pick of specialty.

Some colleges only allow you to get a general network administration degree.

In contrast, others offer specialty degrees that allow you to focus on a specific area, such as:

  • Information Security
  • Software Development
  • IT Entrepreneurship
  • Data Analytics
  • Systems Analysis

By choosing a specialty degree, you can take courses that are beneficial to the career you pursue. As a result, your advantage will increase after graduation. Keep this in mind when picking a school.

Step 3: Earn A Bachelor’s Degree

Most businesses and companies prefer to hire people with bachelor’s degrees. So, it’s wise to get into a course to get a bachelor’s degree.

The average time to receive a bachelor’s degree is four years for full-time study. Then, it is essential to qualify for entry-level positions as an administrator in the field you target upon graduation.

If you’re already working, we recommend taking a partial class load. Yet, it is still possible to gain a degree at your speed.

Step 4: Accumulate Job-Experience

By participating in an entry-level position, you will gain valuable experience in the field you are pursuing. In other words, it will give you knowledge that you can’t get through study.

As the field is highly competitive, we recommend gaining experience at a small business or company or an internship position at a larger enterprise.

Always remember that experience is the key to helping you advance in any IT-related field.

Moreover, many interns became full-time employees of the company they interned with during their schooling.

Step 5: Maintain your training continuously

Computer technology is constantly evolving rapidly, requiring you to continue learning throughout your career to keep up with the latest trends.

Computer technology is constantly evolving at breakneck speed, requiring you to continue learning throughout your career to keep up with the latest developments.

In addition to taking formal courses, it is possible to attend seminars, conferences, webinars, online classes, which keep you up to date with the latest developments in your field.

What is a Network Administrator?

Administrators in this field will manage computer networks and related technology for their company or business. 

They are responsible for ensuring that devices such as computers, tablets, and any internet-connected devices can function smoothly and correctly.

They may also have to monitor the security of the network. In addition, these administrators may also be asked to use their skills to build networks and ensure that business computers can communicate with each other smoothly.

What Does a Network Administrator Do? 

These administrators have to complete many tasks every day. Most of them involve diagnosing, fixing, or testing technological problems with networking.

Network professionals will manage computer networks for their business.

Here are some of their duties:

  • Install software and hardware of the computer
  • Order hardware, software, or equipment (Example: servers and firewall)
  • Configure a network that links all their company’s computers and technology
  • Monitor the network for any problems
  • Identify and repair connectivity problems
  • Optimize the network’s connection pace
  • Install and run computer diagnostics, and antivirus software

What skills do you need to become a network administrator?

Learning technical and IT skills are essential if you want to get this job. However, you also need to equip many other soft skills related to this career.

These administrators don’t sit at the table and do the same things every day. The fact is that they are often faced with many constantly changing tasks.

So, equip yourself with the following skills to succeed in this field.

Hard Skills

You will gain these skills through educational programs or practical experience. They allow you to implement best practices as a trusted professional.

Local Area Network

LAN (Local Area Network) allows computers to connect to each other in a limited area, such as:

  • A room
  • A building
  • A set of buildings

A LAN allows you to connect from one to hundreds of users to collaborate and communicate. 

Network administrators need to understand LANs’ hardware and software requirements while updating and maintaining their functions.

Wide Area Network

WAN, or wide area network, can cover a vast area, connecting computers for private telecommunications.

As an administrator in the field, you will need to oversee its maintenance or installation from a designated location or visit remote areas.

Virtual Private Network

VPNs utilize public networks to perform data sharing, private communications, and other related activities. It can encrypt connections so that electronic communications can take place securely.

The administrators in this area will likely have to install and monitor it.

Cisco Networking

Cisco is a company responsible for manufacturing and supplying a wide variety of networking hardware and certifications. The fact is that most administrators in this area work with this company’s systems or products daily.

As a result, it is wise to understand these systems well. It includes their functions, how to maintain, and how to troubleshoot.

Microsoft & Directory

Companies or businesses that use Microsoft operating systems utilize an Active Directory, creating and maintaining different security policies for the whole computer network.

As an administrator in this area, you will utilize this directory to authenticate users and allow employees different levels of system access.

Soft Skills

Although almost no courses teach soft skills, they are essential for administrators in this area.

Communication

Whether written or oral, communication skills are essential for professionals in this field.

Since you are responsible for overseeing or installing complex technology networks, it is also essential to explain concepts to those not in your field.

As an administrator, you need to keep everything clear. At the same time, you need to show respect when interacting with colleagues and peers.

Teamwork

As part of a team, you will need to possess this skill to coordinate with other team members effectively. It includes both listening and being receptive to suggestions and ideas.

Critical Thinking

It indicates the interpretation, analysis, and evaluation of ideas or proposals with an open mind. This skill allows you to explain issues and topics objectively.

You can solve problems or make sound, rational decisions by thinking through concerns, suggestions, and problems.

Networks Support

Networks within a business or company typically include web- and internet-based operating systems. As a skilled administrator, you will always ensure that these systems run smoothly and efficiently.

This skill also includes helping others with connection problems and assisting them with the setup process.

System Administration

You will need to understand the nuances of popular operating systems and software. As a result, you can troubleshoot and maintain the systems used in your company.

You will also have to manage these software systems and ensure various software, hardware, systems, and other technologies work smoothly.

Career and Salary

One of the reasons this profession is so popular is its attractive salary and open career opportunities.

Salary

Now that you are seriously considering becoming an administrator in this area, there’s one final piece of information you’re likely curious about – How much do these administrators make on average?

To answer this question for you, we’ll provide the average salary for careers related to this area, according to PayScale.

JobAverage salary (dollars)
Entry-LevelMid-CareerLate-Career
IT Management64,00080,000100,000
Systems Administrator51,00064,00076,000
Network Administrator50,00061,00072,000
Software Developer97,000121,000142,000
Computer Architect Designer97,000121,000142,000
Network Engineer59,00077,00093,000
Network Administrator50,00061,00072,000
Software Engineer63,00083,00098,000

Work Environment For These Administrators

These administrators commonly work in an office environment. Yet, you can land a job in many types of industries and facilities. Sau đây là some common work environments for these administrators:

  • Hospitals and other healthcare facilities
  • Schools and universities
  • Corporate offices
  • Government agencies
  • Insurance companies
  • Financial firms

Career Outlook

It is predicted that the career prospects of this position can grow by 6% nationally in the next period. Yet, on some specific days, this growth can be a little higher, such as:

  • Healthcare industry
  • Mobile network

On the other hand, the rise of businesses of all sizes using cloud services has also led to increased demand for network administrators.

Besides, the constant improvement in computer technology may also cause the demand for these administrators to increase exponentially shortly.

While the area is fiercely competitive, it is sure to grow. As a result, the career opportunities for you are huge.

Of course, the constant growth of this field requires you to keep learning throughout your entire career. As a rule, you are more likely to get higher earnings as your experience and knowledge increase.

On the other hand, we recommend getting a master’s degree to make your future brighter in this area. By earning a master’s degree, you can show your professional experience and skills to any potential employer.

Types of Careers in Network Administration

  • Computer Systems Analyst – Average annual salary: $88,740.
  • Computer Programmer – Average annual salary: $84,280.
  • Computer and Information Systems Manager – Average annual salary: $142,530.
  • Software Developer – Average annual salary: $105,590
  • Computer Network Architect — Average annual salary: $109,020.

How Long Does it Take to Get This Job?

If you’re pursuing an associate’s degree, you can expect to be an entry-level administrator within a few years. Yet, if you have a bachelor’s degree, it will usually take you 3 to 5 years.

While studying, consider getting internship experience.

Although entry-level positions are available, more advanced and senior-level roles will require additional experience. Sometimes, they may require more education candidates.

Getting certifications is necessary as they may allow you to get a position more quickly.

Here are some certifications you should consider:

  • CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
  • CompTIA Network+
  • MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) 
  • MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate)
  • CCNP R&S (Cisco Certified Network Professional Routing & Switching) 

The Bottom Line

Now you’re aware of how to become a network administrator and what this tech career entails. Hopefully, this article has been helpful to you in pursuing your dream career.

Please share this article with people who have the same passion for networking. Thank you for reading!