Network Administrator Career Overview & Outlook

Companies and organizations of all scales require information technology specialists to manage their computer networks properly. Network administrators play a vital role in this scenario.

Becoming a network administrator appears to be a promising path due to the high demand. If you want to pursue a career, you need to understand what you desire and how to achieve it.

This article will discuss the job description, educational requirements, and job opportunities for a network administrator. Let’s read on to discover!

Job Description

A network administrator is accountable for managing, maintaining, and troubleshooting a business’s network.

They will assess a business’ needs and supervise communication systems to guarantee that data goes smoothly across the company.

Job brief

A network administrator is responsible for ensuring that data communications systems are efficient, functional, and secure.

To guarantee flawless network operation, a network administrator will be able to utilize, operate, manage, and analyze all active network infrastructure.

network administrator is in charge of the business's network

Responsibilities

A network administrator’s tasks are to:

  • Support, set up, monitor, and update the networking and in-house servers of corporate clients.
  • Configure new server software and hardware.
  • Keep track of any essential changes.
  • Support third-party software programs and administration.
  • Maintain technological networks and their security.
  • Assess vulnerabilities and monitor the network performance, including stability, application, capacity, goodput, and delay
  • Establish user accounts, passwords, and permissions.
  • Resolve any issues brought up by the end-user.
  • Create procedures and policies for the network.
  • Develop a set of system needs and solutions.
  • Offer suggestions on computer system administration based on the research.

The weekday tasks of a network administrator may come in four categories: management, implementation, self-education, and troubleshooting.

Requirements

To apply for a network administrator position, you have to adapt these requirements:

  • Expertise as a network administrator.
  • Hands-on knowledge with routing, network, and switching.
  • Deep understanding of control, monitoring, and management of the server infrastructure.
  • Ability to configure server hardware.
  • Knowledge of recovery and backup software and procedures.
  • Certifications of BCNE, Cisco, Juniper, or CWNA.
  • Bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree in computer science or any related field.

Education and Training

A network administrator is in charge of a firm’s ability to work effectively. Network administrators have to equip themselves with expertise, knowledge, and skill to perform well at work.

Degree Program for Computer Networks

Degree programs for network administration provide students with a diverse set of learning objectives that equip them to enter the profession. Most network administration courses demand students to study the following:

Basics of Information Technology

This basic course offers a comprehensive set of the IT sector in general and the many components of networks, computers, and workstations.

  • Data communication systems

Students study the basics of data management, including acquiring, organizing, and retrieving information in a database.

  • Web development

Web development classes give students an understanding of the current guiding principles for designing, developing, and delivering websites.

  • Network security

Educating about major risks to the privacy of networks is the focus of network security training.

Students also learn how to determine the most effective techniques for defending networks and what to do if security gets damaged.

  • Network design

Students know how to plan, build, and execute system networks on different scales using the most effective practices.

  • Operating systems

Mac OS, Windows, and Linux are operating computer systems that a network administrator must know.

  • Scripting

Students may know how to write computer scripts by attending scripting classes. Computer scripts include computer language that determines what a computer does.

  • Programming

Programming courses are common among network administration students. They will learn how to create and develop software programs and apps to help them perform particular computer-based activities.

  • Technical writing

There are several technical jargons in every computer networking. As a result, network administrator students should attend technical writing classes.

They can learn how to describe complicated issues to non-technical audiences.

Educational Requirements

A post-secondary diploma or an associate’s degree is the primary educational qualification for working as a network administrator.

Certificate programs typically need a year to finish in this area, while associate’s degrees often require two years.

These courses will give learners the fundamental skills and knowledge they need to join the workforce. As a result, advanced courses are rarely available in the syllabus for a network administration certification.

Students instead participate in beginning classes on topics such as computer hardware maintenance, statistics, computer science, and specialized classes on specific applications.

Employers prefer applicants with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in network administration. These courses are more intense than certificates and associate’s degrees, requiring about 120 credit hours of lessons to complete.

Training Certifications for Network Administration

Network administrators can choose from various credentials, including general or generic certificates. Microsoft’s IT Professional certificate is an excellent example. These certifications aim at network segments and architectures.

Employers require or encourage employees to get these specific qualifications. In either case, they can benefit network administrators in improving their skill set.

These abilities will help the network administrators to execute their current obligations and find new employment opportunities in the future.

network administration

Necessary Skills

Aside from the educational requirements, a network administrator has to prepare themselves with essential skills.

The skills will give candidates benefits over their competitors and assist them in carrying out their tasks properly.

Hard Skills (Computer Networks)

Network administrators acquire hard skills through academic courses and practice.

They will develop capabilities in programming, software, hardware administration, and network security due to their understanding of network forms and operations.

These abilities are necessary for network administrators to conduct their duties professionally.

  • Local Area Network

Local area networks (LANs) are computer networks that link computers in small zones such as offices, buildings, or groups of buildings.

Connection, interaction, and cooperation are all possible with LANs, which may support somewhere from two to hundreds of people.

Network administrators are in charge of implementing LAN software and hardware needs. They also need to maintain and upgrade their functions.

  • Virtual Private Network

A virtual private network (VPN) is a type of network that utilizes public networks to undertake personal communications, data exchange, and other data communication systems.

Network administrators install and monitor the VPN. VPN will encrypt networks to guarantee secure transmission of digital information over the internet.

VPNs also control access externally, enabling only approved users to operate remotely without being disturbed.

  • Wide Area Network

A wide area network (WAN) connects computers for commercial telecommunications over a broad geographic region.

WANs and LANs commonly work to connect organizations in different regions. From a central place or by traveling to remote locations, network administrators oversee the construction and operation of WANs.

  • Cisco Networking

Cisco is a firm that designs and produces a lot of networking equipment. It offers certificates for network administrators.

Network administrators will be familiar with these systems, as well as how to manage and debug them.

  • Microsoft Active Directory

An Active Directory can establish and manage different security rules for the whole computer system.

Network administrators use this directory for authenticating the users and giving different degrees of system privileges to staff.

Soft Skills

Often, you don’t earn soft skills through formal education. However, they’re still important for workplace success.

  • Communication

Communication skills are necessary for all job positions. Network administrators must be able to communicate verbally and in writing. Network administrators should explain their ideas to others to supervise sophisticated technical networks.

When interacting with coworkers, network administrators should be straightforward, polite, and concise.

  • Teamwork

Teamwork necessitates adaptability, tolerance, and a focus on the job at hand. Network administrators cooperate with other IT experts and coworkers to determine a shared requirement and work together to resolve it.

Network administrators need the skills to listen and respond to suggestions and ideas as part of the team.

  • Critical thinking

Critical thinking skills entail the study, evaluation, and assessment of data. It also allows people to describe ideas and problems properly.

Network administrators resolve issues and make logical, well-informed judgments by critically thinking about difficulties, problems, and solutions.

  • Network support

Internet-based and web-based computer systems come with business networks. Network administrators need to guarantee the proper operation of these systems.

Assisting users in overcoming connectivity difficulties and aiding with setup procedures is also part of network support.

Network Administrator

Essential Software and Tools

There are hundreds of tools for a network administrator to choose from. It might be tough to find the perfect tool among all of them.

Let’s look at the top five network administration tools and software.

Solarwinds

When it comes to the leading system and network management toolkits, Solarwinds may cross your mind first. Their products tend to be industry favorites, thanks to their extensive experience in the networking sector.

Engineer’s Toolset is a networking software suite with over 60 IT solutions. The greatest part about this software is that it comes with all of the tools you’ll need to manage or oversee a network. You don’t need to install each tool separately.

Automated network detection is one of the tool’s major features. It can save you the burden of trying to set up each device on the network manually.

Nagios

Nagios, often called Nagios core, is a network and system monitoring program. If you want to handle Windows or Linux servers, Nagios is your life-saver.

The tool essentially functions as a collection of techniques for evaluating the flow of data and cybersecurity in a network and maintaining network access and auditing records.

One of the greatest aspects of this tool is that it is completely open source. It also has a very welcoming and active community.

Another excellent feature of Nagios is the data format. The data comes in different styles, which are highly user-friendly. The data then can aid users in error investigation and correction.

Wireshark

Wireshark always stays in the top choice when it comes to useful tools for network admins.

Wireshark is an open system interconnection protocol analyzer. Wireshark must be an ideal option if a network issue arises and you need to investigate deeper into the network.

The tool assists network administrators in debugging and analysis methods, allowing them to understand their infrastructure better.

SoftPerfect

SoftPerfect is a fully customizable and quick IPv4/IPv6 analyzer that helps network administrators with various tasks.

This network scanner is a small and portable device. It has a lot of features that make it one of the powerful resources for network administrators.

You can ping the network devices, examine ports on a network, and gather practically any data from other devices using the SoftPerfect scanner.

The application also allows you to check for currently logged-in clients, ensuring that you are completely aware of the network’s availability and accessibility.

ManageEngine

ManageEngine is a network management and maintenance solution that also includes application performance measurement.

You can check the condition of your network and other critical elements such as transmission errors, speed, and delay thanks to its real-time tracking and over 2000 built-in system performance indicators.

Including over 200 productivity widgets, the tool helps you easily change the default display to your preference, ensuring that you always have all you need right in front of you.

Job Outlook

More firms utilize technology in their day-to-day operation. As a result, the demand for network administrators will remain consistent over the next few years.

Careers as computer and network system administrators have a promising future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for network administrator jobs may grow by 6% by 2026.

Over 20,000 jobs in the field will open up in that span, according to the same organization.

The position has a high rate of growth, with 1% unemployment. It suggests that network and computer systems administrators are in great demand.

Similar Professions as Network Administrators

If you want to be a network administrator, you should look into other jobs with similar responsibilities.

  • Computer specialists

Computer support experts also deal with networks, assisting admins with system security maintenance and testing. They also assist clients with hardware and software concerns and repair equipment if necessary.

An associate degree could be sufficient to join the sector, depending on the business and job position. On the other hand, many businesses tend to employ people who have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field.

  • Database Administrators

A job as a database administrator is a realistic choice for individuals who want to handle data databases.

These admin staff analyze the data and construct databases, as well as execute management and monitoring, and make modifications as needed. They also ensure that all the data is accessible and secure.

This career requires a bachelor’s degree in information technology and computer subjects and data structures courses.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national pay for a network administrator is about $88,410 per year. It’s more than $35,000 higher than the $51,960 average salary for all jobs.

Computer systems design and associated services, which employs 67,150 network systems administrators, is the most common industry in which they work.

However, the best-paying business for network administrators is gas and oil production. The network administrators receive an average annual income of around $115,290.

Pros & Cons of Being a Network Administrator

Being a network admin may bring you some benefits. However, there are some challenges you will face. Let’s check their pros and cons to know more about what the job offers you.

Pros

Here are the best points that encourage you to start a career as a network administrator.

  • High demand

It’s always a good idea to get into a field with a lot of potential for expansion. The career prognosis for network administrators is promising in the next few years.

The transition to cloud computing will almost definitely boost the market growth for network administrators.

Businesses will be transferring their backup data to the cloud in the years ahead. IT experts who can supervise and manage these transitions will be in high demand.

IT workers with cloud computing knowledge, particularly those who have attended cloud-related courses, will have little problem acquiring work.

  • Chances of advancement

A network administrator role is a fantastic route to go if you’re searching for a career instead of simply a job. Since a network administrator’s position is flexible, there are more opportunities for progress in the field than in others.

You may be in charge of project management responsibilities, such as managing the cloud migration, and then enter a new job once you’ve got expertise with your firm’s network.

  • Developing practical skills

As a network admin, you’ll be responsible for various tasks, such as securing your networks from viruses and replacing printers that break down.

These skills are also quite valuable in the actual world. You’ll discover that friends and family will come to you for help with their computer difficulties regularly.

  • Diversity in employment

An IT department is necessary for almost every business. You’ll have the opportunity to work for various companies, which can keep your employment interesting and diverse.

For example, you could begin as an intern at a startup firm whose network contains only a few computers connected to a printer. Within a few years, you might be running a big company.

Cons

Be ready to face the challenges when you choose to become a network administrator.

  • Security

Since today’s network border is hazy, banning unapproved external traffic isn’t enough to keep data safe. When workers reply to a spam scam, several dangers enter the network.

To operate, a denial of service just has to try connections. Encryption can help safeguard traffic, but it may also make network monitoring more difficult.

  • Configuration management

Supervising network setup becomes more challenging as networks grow in size.

Gadgets can be incompatible with one another. It’s difficult to keep firewall rules updated. Meanwhile, manually implementing policies results in errors and discrepancies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions related to the network administrator career.

1. What are the best markets for network administrators based on geographical locations?

There are network administrator jobs all throughout the USA. And certain areas are more densely populated than others. Texas, California, New York, and Florida have the greatest employment levels for network systems administrators.

2. Can I pursue higher education for network administration?

A master’s degree may substantially extend your skills and knowledge. It also offers you a leg up on the competition in the employment market.

Master’s degrees in information technology, cybersecurity, system security, and computer science will help you to develop in your network administrator profession.

3. How long do I need to become a network administrator?

A bachelor’s degree usually takes 3 to 5 years to complete. It’s also a good idea to consider having internship experience.

There are openings for beginner network administrator roles. More advanced and senior network administrator positions need extra years of experience.

In some cases, the firms may require further schooling. Certifications are also beneficial and might help you find a good job faster.

Conclusion

Being a network administrator means that you have to acquire a set of hard and soft skills. You will also need to invest much time and effort.

Once you have managed to devote yourself to the career, the result will be rewarding.