All companies constantly seek methods to ensure their network’s safety and security. That’s where the network security experts come into play.
Do you hope to engage in this sector? If that’s the case, you may wonder: How to become a network security administrator.
Don’t get yourself stressed if you are new to this area. From my experience, it isn’t easy to start at first. Yet, you will succeed with the right career path.
Now, check my tips to get your career successfully!
If you are a newbie, it’s better to get an overview of this profession first!
A network security administrator manages, monitors, and administers security on at least a computer network. Their tasks include ensuring the computer network is safe from internal and external security threats.
These experts work with their team members and IT specialists so that they can create and maintain systems. So they can prevent cyber threats and attacks.
In addition, they detect errors in existing processes and systems. And then, they recommend techniques to minimize these risks.
As a network security administrator, my responsibilities vary depending on my firm. Yet, below are general duties all experts in this field encounter:
- Monitor traffic issues for IronPort.
- Establish the company network.
- Handle IP conflict issues.
- Monitor wearable devices and wifi applications.
- Develop security protocols.
- Create and implement system and network authorization.
- Design and create system and network recovery plans.
- Install and configure Cisco switches and routers for internet connectivity.
- Manage the VMWare system to minimize potential issues and maintain a smooth workflow.
- Install, configure, and manage VMWare virtual servers.
I find that most network security administrators have bachelor’s degrees. It is a solid base to maintain the position.
To acquire this degree, you may study relevant fields like information security or computer science. In addition, you should get extra certifications. Your employers prefer candidates with this proof.
Now you have an overview of this position. It’s time to learn how to put your name down in this industry and advance your career. Read until the end to explore the knowledge and skills needed for the job!
As I shared in the above section, most network security administrators have bachelor’s degrees to work in this field.
Before entering this profession, some may hold higher degrees in relevant areas such as software engineering and cybersecurity.
Moreover, some employers may require their workers to have these degrees. Yet, it does not mean it’s the only way to start your career as a network security administrator.
Don’t worry much if you do not have a bachelor’s degree! It would be best if you mainly focused on studying the network security subject.
I recommend updating your knowledge by reading articles, research papers, and books related to your field. Furthermore, you can prove your abilities and learn cybersecurity principles by enrolling in courses and passing certifications.
You will have an advantage over other applicants if you own industry-recognized certifications.
Do you have a postgraduate or undergraduate degree? It is still a good idea to seek additional certifications in the security field. It will help you impress your potential employer and get a position.
You can consider the following common certifications below:
- Certified Information Security Manager
- CompTIA A+
- CompTIA Security+
- CompTIA Network+
- CompTIA Project+
- Cisco Certified Network Associate
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate
- EC-Council Network Security Administrator
Apart from certifications, I recommend gaining bachelor’s degrees in Information Technology or Computer Science.
In addition, you can get a degree in your sector, Business Administration, to enhance your technical and soft skills.
Are you searching for methods to deepen your knowledge? Acquiring many certifications is among the most practical. You can get these credentials in less than a year. They may cost between $500 and $1000.
Yet, if you prefer hands-on experience, it’s better to take a security bootcamp. It is also an excellent way to improve your knowledge.
There is nothing better than joining security boot camps. They offer different training in network security administration or data security.
It may take from three to nine months to finish these courses. Also, they cost between $9,000 and $20,000.
If you can invest time and have reasonable financial means, consider security boot camps. They offer opportunities to study your field deeper and help you gain experience you can’t get from your formal courses.
Besides knowledge, experience is a crucial aspect employers consider when choosing their staff. For example, my company is willing to hire specialists with expertise in the industry instead of someone with a degree.
Don’t you have a certification in security? Aren’t you a graduate? Don’t worry much! You can still become a successful network security administrator if you show your experience to your employer or client.
In particular, you must have at least three to five years working in the security industry to work as a network security administrator.
After having the essential requirements to become a security administrator, it’s time to build your portfolio. It’s the best way to showcase your skills.
When creating your portfolio, you can use code or a template. The first option may be creative to show your technical skills, but it is unnecessary.
Your portfolio should include elements like the things you put together in your resume. For example, adding your sector name or links to your professional profile is vital. Also, ensure to add these sections:
- Contact information
- Experience and skills
Regarding employment duties, “entry-level” refers to a catch-all phrase. Each employee may often focus on only a single or some specialized tasks and responsibilities in large businesses since there are sufficient human resources.
Meanwhile, smaller organizations have to get by with little personnel. It means workers are always ready to switch between tasks.
Whether working for a large or small firm, it’s best to have an open-minded attitude. Do whatever your boss requires. This attitude will ultimately lead you to a successful professional path.
I must constantly keep up with the trends in the industry to design the network and fix technical issues effectively.
From my experience, you should focus on these trends to keep your skills updated and preserve a competitive edge at work.
The Demand for Better Education
The need for more excellent education is growing significantly because the glove gets more interconnected. That’s because hackers have become more sophisticated. They can find new methods to exploit network weaknesses.
Network security experts help address this demand. To achieve this, they provide education and training to employees in the company.
Consequently, they will understand the potential risks they may encounter. Also, they know how to protect networks and systems from cyberattacks.
Cloud Security Emergence
Another trend increasing interest among companies is the introduction of cloud security. It offers many benefits, like increased flexibility and reduced costs.
Network security experts must learn to manage and prevent data from cyberattacks when this industry becomes more prevalent.
These specialists must familiarize themselves with cloud security attacks and threats. Besides, they should know how to minimize these risks.
Cybersecurity will become more centralized. So network security administrators should develop and adapt their skills to meet their employer’s requirements.
You must know how to implement network security measures to succeed. It’s also crucial to assess your company’s cybersecurity to make improvements.
Furthermore, you must have good communication skills to work effectively with your team members and express your opinions to your employers.
Do you want to maintain your position as a network security administrator? I advise continuing your education and updating with the trends in your field.
For example, you may pursue a master’s degree in information technology or cybersecurity. It’s a great way to get advanced knowledge and skills to help you excel in your career.
Moreover, you should earn certifications like the Certified Ethical Hacker to showcase your expertise and dedication to this industry.
You can also join conferences and networking events. It’s the fastest and easiest method to keep up with the latest developments and network with other experts in your sector.
Last but not least, read publications in your industry. Also, join online forums and discussion groups to stay informed and engaged with the trends.
You must have the following skills to work as a network security administrator.
It’s essential to have technical skills to perform daily tasks. They show your skills and experience in your field.
I have been working as a network security administrator for several years. I often use hard skills to check and minimize the risks. I must also create security protocols and conduct audits.
The technical skills you need to have depend on your company and the necessary tools you need to use to perform your tasks.
Apart from hard skills, you should have the following soft skills to gain a firm position in your field.
All network security administrators must have this skill. They must identify threats in the network and create solutions to minimize them.
If you work in this field, you also need to detect vulnerabilities in the computer system and think of strategies to remove them.
As a network security expert, you must convey information and ideas to your team members or clients. So you should have good communication skills.
In addition, you will use this skill to interpret data from other experts. In general, effective communication helps you build trust. It’s a vital aspect of your field.
This skill refers to your ability to identify minor changes in computer systems or environments. I realize that attention to detail skills allow network security specialists to notice changes in networks and systems and have prompt solutions.
For instance, sometimes a firewall alerts if an IP address accesses the computer system. With attention to detail skills, you can notice the differences between the system IP address and the strange one.
Besides being a part of a team, security specialists also work alone. So it’s crucial to have the ability to work on your own.
It would be best if you took responsibility and initiative for your work. Also, you should be able to troubleshoot and address issues independently.
It’s hard to answer this question as many factors may affect the time you require to become a network security administrator.
For example, getting associate degrees in your field or certifications for entry-level positions takes at least two years to complete.
Meanwhile, bachelor’s degrees or higher may take at least four years. It would be best if you also spent additional time to gain experience through internships.
This position is in high demand worldwide. Technology constantly evolves, which leads to a considerable need for network security administrators.
Besides, society relies on technology. Yet, hackers always have new methods to access devices and systems. So the role of these specialists is crucial.
According to the BLS, demand for network security administrators is anticipated to increase by 5% between 2018 and 2028.
In addition, ComputerCareer.org reports show that, in the US, a network security administrator makes an average income of $91,574. The median salary range for these experts ranges from $67,570 to $110,700 per year.
As a beginner, you can start your security administrator career with a bachelor’s degree in information security or computer science.
In addition, you may consider STEM fields. They are ideal for enrolling in cybersecurity. Yet, I want to mention that they are not compulsory.
Some employers may want to get non-technical or associate degrees. Meanwhile, others prefer little experience. Some may require their staff to have at least five years in IT.
Start your career with a bachelor’s degree in relevant fields if you desire to work as a network security administrator.
Moreover, consider getting certifications if you are an intermediate learner or a beginner. It’s also a good idea to network with other experts or your team members to familiarize yourself with tools and environment!