Network Administrator

How to become a Network Administrator
Network Administrator Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a Network Administrator
Network Administrator Salary
Influential Network Administrators
Leading Organizations in Network Administration
Top Cities for Network Administrator Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Network Administrator

Computer and information technology need to operate at one hundred percent capacity and efficiency for today's businesses. Network administrators have, thus, become an integral part to all businesses in all sectors. Widespread use of computer and information technology means an increased need for highly trained workers who are proficient in various computer service job functions. Candidates have multiple ways of entering into this profession due to increased technology usage in business, making the need for network administrators well above average. Candidates need formal education for entry-level network administration positions. Companies often look for candidates that have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems. Relevant computer experience is also many times listed as a requirement for this career.

Candidates with little or no formal education may want to consider entry-level computer specialist positions in order to break into the computer services industry. Certification and practical experience or an associate's degree in a computer related fields is enough to be hired. Entry-level specialists work with customers and in-house users within the company. Advancement can happen quickly when companies see enhanced design implementation and effectiveness with customers. Performance takes first place at this point. However, formal education still plays an integral part when advancing towards senior level positions. Product specialists may switch over to computer engineering at this point, designing systems and networks, or move into network administration.

It is imperative to stay technologically literate despite how fast the industry changes. Employers or hardware and software vendors may provide continuing education programs while colleges, universities, and private training institutions provide training as well on the newest technologies. Professional development seminars, offered by computing services for promotion to senior-levels, can enhance needed skills for senior-level advancement.

What does a Network Administrator do?

Network administrators generally are at the highest levels of technical/network staff in an organization. Rarely is there involvement with direct user support. Generally, focus remains behind the scenes on the overall health of the network, server deployment and security, ensuring network connectivity throughout and company LAN/WAN infrastructure. Senior-level network administrators present computer security issues to upper management or provide organizations with technical specifications based on the latest technology.

Network administrators do a fair number of tasks: operation of master consoles to maintain and monitor computer network performance and related computing environments; defective components replacement; performance of data backups and disaster recovery operations; deployment; configuration and coordination of network access and use; and maintenance and monitoring of active hardware equipment and network facilities of individual machines. Some companies use network administrators to design and deploy networks instead of computer engineers.

Positions vary by company, but common tasks one can expect, regardless of the company, may include: network address assignment; assignment of routing protocols; and routing table configuration of authentication and authorization and directory services as well as printers and such. Maintenance of certain network services, such as file servers, VPN gateways, and intrusion detection systems are other common tasks provided. Security of the network and assignment of IP addresses to devices comprised of the network are also fairly common responsibilities.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Network Administrator?

Complex problem solving and problem sensitivity are a must to identify complex problems and review related information to develop, evaluate and implement solutions as well as sense when something is wrong or likely to go wrong. Diagnosing and accessing problems rely heavily on an administrator's inductive reasoning, oral comprehension and expression skills, deductive reasoning, and information ordering skills. Administrators need good finger dexterity, enabling precision with coordinated movements when handling small pieces of computer hardware. Lastly, the ability to identify a known pattern hidden in other material is required. This skill is otherwise known as flexibility of closure.

Reading comprehension, active listening and learning, critical thinking, service orientation, coordination, selection of the right equipment to solve and prevent problems, and equipment installation knowledge are all necessary. Having knowledge in computers and electronics, customer and personal service, telecommunications, education and training, engineering and technology, administration and management, and mathematics will enable candidates to successfully implement the skills and abilities necessary for the position.

How much does a Network Administrator make?

Network administrator salaries vary, depending on the geographic location, organization, and skill set. The median salary for network administrators in the United States, as of May 2007, was $67,850. The middle 50% earned anywhere from $50,420 to $82,180. The lowest 10% earned about $39,970while the highest 10% earned in excess of $101,520. The following industries employed the most network administrators: computer systems design and related services; management of companies and enterprises; elementary and secondary schools; colleges, universities, and professional schools; and wired telecommunications carriers.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Dr. Anton Chuvakin, GCIA, GCIH, GCFA, a highly recognized security expert, has authored several books and published numerous papers on security issues. Chuvakin is involved in several security industry initiatives and standards organization. Currently the Chief Logging Evangelist at LogLogic, a log management and intelligence company, Chuvakin oversees the product roadmap, conducts research, and assists key customers with their LogLogic implementations.

Bill Coughran, another well-known network administrator, leads Google's broad systems infrastructure group, underlying their products and services as well as cluster management, storage, search systems, and various product engineering efforts. He is involved with networking, secure and distributed systems, computational science, and engineering. He co-founded and served as CEO and other executive roles at Silicon Valley's Entrisphere before joining Google. Previously, he headed Bell Labs' Computing Sciences Research Center.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

A computer network has a million parts. The main components of a network are the nodes (PC's) the switches or routers and the servers. For that reason, the leading or cutting edge organizations in this field are:


What are the top cities for Network Administrator jobs?

Increases in computer systems and information technology will keep the need for network administrators faster than the average. The U.S. Bureau of Labor May 2007 report calculates the employment increase for this occupation to expand roughly 27% from 2006 to 2016. Although companies prefer candidates with formal education and relevant work experience, flexibility will remain for some entry-level positions due to the high demand and increased technology usage over the next decade. The top industry hiring network administrators is computer systems design and related services. The best states to live in for employment in this industry are Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, and Delaware. States offering the highest pay are New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington.

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