The network administrator, also referred to as systems administrator or network engineer, is the backbone of any organization with a computer network. Network administrators are essentially the network equivalent of system administrators, as they maintain the hardware and software that comprises the entire computer network.
Becoming a network administrator means installing, deploying, maintaining and monitoring active network equipment; implementing security systems; and assigning network addresses and routing protocols. Are you up for the challenge?
Network administration positions form a hierarchy from junior to senior, with different amounts of training, education and experience required to qualify for each level. In general, a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering or a related field is the minimum requirement for entry-level positions as a Junior Technical Architect.
The central effort the network administrator is to ensure that an organization’s computers and systems are running, stable and functional at all times. Some of the typical job duties of network administrators include:
As a technical architect, the network administrator is required to work in a variety of settings, which require both technical and interpersonal skills. Desirable character traits in a network administrator include critical and logical thinking, good problem-solving abilities and communication skills. Patience always helps when dealing with people and complicated electronic machinery.
As companies move from paper-based systems to automated databases and networked mobile devices, the need to share data quickly and securely continues to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects that career opportunities within network administration will grow faster than the average for all careers during this decade with a predicted 27 percent increase in jobs expected between 2006 and 2016.
According to the BLS, computer networking professionals earned an average salary of $62,130 as of May 2006 with those in the highest 10 percent of the salary range earning over $97,000.