LAN Administrator

How to Become a LAN Administrator
LAN Administrator Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a LAN Administrator
LAN Administrator Salary
Influential Professionals in this Field
Leading Organizations in this Field
Top Cities for LAN Administrator Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a LAN Administrator

A Local Area Network (LAN) Administrator is a computer specialist that oversees the day-to-day operations of information technology systems, typically in a business environment. This includes making recommendations on products and services, maintaining systems and trouble shooting a wide variety of issues.

In order to become a LAN Administrator, one should have an advanced knowledge of computer systems,,, including hardware, software, networking, security issues, and Internet applications. While this position does not require a college degree, jobs in this field are increasingly difficult to come by for those without formal training. It is also helpful for a LAN Administrator to be knowledgeable in a specific area in business and industry so that the understanding of the nature of the business one is working in may expedite design, implementation, maintenance, and repair processes.

Many employers require a bachelor's degree in computer science, although a master's degree is preferable. The master's degree should have a basis in technology and its applications. Undergraduate and master's degree programs are offered at many colleges and universities.

In addition to formal training and education, many employers require that a LAN Administrator possess various certifications. These certifications can be separate from a formal course of study and the examinations can be taken at one's leisure. Certifications are most usually product specific and may need to be updated periodically.

LAN Administrators often start out as computer specialists and work their way up to administration. Unlike many positions in the computer sciences, the advancement of LAN Administrators usually depends on job performance rather than formal education. The job performance is typically rated not only on skills relating to information systems but also to management and communication skills. Advancement for this field tends to come rapidly in industry specific companies such as software or hardware manufacturers and developers.

While most LAN Administrators work in a corporate setting, some operate as internal and external consultants. In these positions, travel may be required to implement new systems including hardware and software, install security measures, or repair technical problems.

What does a LAN Administrator do?

The list of duties of a LAN Administrator is long and varied. LAN Administrators supervise all activities involved with maintaining an organization's information systems network.

The tasks are generally routine in nature and may include server backups; implementing security measures and dealing with pertinent issues; monitoring usage logs; scanning for computer viruses; maintaining key documentation; software license compliance; inventory management; setting up directories and user groups, maintenance of network hardware and software; troubleshooting and analyzing problems reported by users and automated monitoring systems; make recommendations for system upgrades and repairs; identify customer needs; gather information to identify and interpret system needs and network requirements; plan and coordinate maintenance; ensure network efficiency, design computer systems so that all of the individual components, including computers, the network and software, to work together in the best and most efficient manner; routinely monitor systems and make adjustments when and where they are necessary; keep abreast of technological advancements to determine future needs.

LAN Administrators are also responsible for designing and installing local area networks (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN), which include Internet and intranet systems.

Because identity theft is an increasingly prevalent issue, particularly in the computer world, an important aspect of a LAN Administrator's job is to implement effective network security measures. This includes educating users about computer security; implementing the use of preventive measures; monitoring networks for security breaches, responding immediately to cyber attacks. It is also imperative to maintain an ongoing knowledge of industry trends and upgrades to prevent breaches of confidential information.

Because the job position is easily adaptable to a wide variety of businesses, LAN Administrators may work in many different industries such as corporate offices, local, state and federal government installations, small businesses, and non-profit organizations.

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

LAN Administrators must possess advanced technological skills, analytical skills, trouble shooting abilities, good written and oral communication skills, a strong grasp of mathematical concepts, an intermediate to advanced understanding of the needs of businesses and other organizational structures from corporate to non-profit entities.

How much do LAN Administrators make?

The average annual earnings of computer support specialists were $41,470. The highest 10% of those employed made over $68,540. Below is a list of the median annual salaries reported by the industries employing the highest percentage of computer support specialists in May 2006:

Software publishers $46,270
Management of companies and enterprises $42,770
Computer systems design and related services $42,510
Colleges, universities, and professional schools $40,130
Elementary and secondary schools $37,880

As of May 2006, median annual salaries of all computer systems administrators, salaried and hourly, were $62,130. The top 10% in the industry earned more than $97,080. Below is a list of the median annual salaries reported by the industries employing the highest percentage of network and computer systems administrators:

Wired telecommunications carriers $70,790
Computer systems design and related services $66,680
Management of companies and enterprises $66,020
Colleges, universities, and professional schools $54,590
Elementary and secondary schools $53,750

Robert Half Technology reported entry-level salaries in 2007 ranging from $27,500 to $37,000 for help desk workers. In 2007, entry-level salaries for desktop support technicians and analysts topped out at $65,250. For systems administrators, the highest starting salary was approximately $75,750.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Lyman Chapman, BBN Technologies Inc.
Scott Bradner, University Technology Security Officer at Harvard University
Vinton Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google
Ed Kozel, Cisco Systems' Senior Vice President of Corporate Development

What are some leading organizations in this field?

Association of Information Technology Professionals - AITP
The Computing Technology Industry Association - CompTIA

What are the top cities for LAN Administrator jobs?

Top cities for LAN Administrator jobs include:

Atlanta, GA
New York City, NY
Boston, MA
Philadelphia, PA
Chicago, IL
Phoenix, AZ
Dallas, TX
San Diego, CA
Detroit, MI
San Francisco, CA

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