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Network Administrator


One of the most interesting things about computers is that they can talk to one another. They are in constant communication, through networks. Computer networks can be large, and encompass millions of computers at once, like the internet, or they can be small, like a database that is accessible to only a few people who share an office.

These networks, just like many other things in the computer world, can break down. Companies that rely on computers and their many uses have systems administrators on staff, who are in charge of computer servers, server accounts, networking computer hardware, software, and the operating systems, the programs that run computers.

In smaller companies, systems administrator and "network administrator" can be interchangeable terms. However, when the company is very large, network administrators are distinguishable. They leave things like account management and disk space to the systems administrator, while the network administrator concentrates on the bigger picture--keeping those computers talking.

Network administrators are responsible for setting up and maintaining a network. This can include installing software and assigning passwords. They can be in charge of setting up and keeping hundreds of pieces of information set correctly in dozens of computers, with hundreds of cables all needing to be identified and plugged in the exact right spots, for the network to keep working correctly. They try to keep the network and the server functioning correctly 24 hours a day, but when it goes down, they have to know how to get it running again.

They are constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve the network they look after. They investigate new technology, keeping connected with the latest trends and developments. They help with designing software, as well, if the products available don't quite fit the needs of the company. They also must be prepared to jump in and fix any problems that may arise.

The network administrator is concerned with ensuring the networks are up and running, but they are also preoccupied with ensuring the users are finding the networks easy to understand and navigate. When the networks are up and running, the hardware functioning properly, and the users have no complaints, then the network administrator has done an excellent job.
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American InterContinental University Online

You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.

Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor's (BIT) - Network Administration



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Interested in becoming a network administrator? Along with a thorough knowledge of PCs, operating systems, and databases, you need to be organized and able to balance a number of pressing projects at once. You need to be calm, patient, and respectful of others, regardless of their circumstances or questions. You should have good listening skills, and be able to ask questions to gather additional information. You should be inquisitive, and enjoy uncovering mysteries.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Consult with other parts of an organization, such as the financial or policy section
  • Purchase hardware and software
  • Set up computer network
  • Ensure network is running smoothly
  • Communicate regularly with users
  • Maintain computer systems for users
  • Find and fix problems
  • Collect information, research solutions, and analyze possible resolutions to issues
  • Test and implement new solutions
  • Evaluate resolutions for ways to prevent future problems
  • Place follow-up calls to users about ong ]ing issues
  • The typical day for a network administrator will involve a lot of working with both computers and people. The administrator will ask a lot of questions about the problems, and experiment with the computers and the systems to try and find quick, effective solutions. They don't travel much, working from home or an office; however, if they work at a company they travel throughout the building, from computer to computer. They work in small teams of computer specialists, and alongside the workers in the company.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Network administrators work for companies, organizations, libraries, government agencies, or any business that uses interoffice, local, or international networks. They can also work independently on contract to more than one organization at once.
  • They can work in offices, or from home. Because they work with many computers at once, often large, noisy computers, their work space can be busy, crowded, and hectic. They work in small teams of computer specialists; however, with smaller companies they may perform a number of tasks and work alone. They usually work regular hours, unless there is a computer-related emergency and they have to solve it before heading home.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Network administrators can go on to become computer systems administrators, help desk specialists, computer technicians, or PC administrators. They can write programs, software, or systems, or sell programs and computers. They can become IT instructors, or write information books and articles for people learning to use PCs on their own.

  Educational Paths  
In order to become a network administrator, you should take either a bachelor of computer science or computer engineering at a university, or college program in PC support. You should also consider some courses in psychology and communication to ensure good relationships with clients.

You may also look to becoming a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer. This will prepare you to design and develop business solutions with various Microsoft tools and technologies. The exams are available through Microsoft, so it's a good idea to check their websites for information about the certification process.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

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American InterContinental University Online

You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.

Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor's (BIT) - Network Administration

Purdue University Global

Building on Purdue's mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored to working adults.

Programs Offered:
  • AAS in Information Technology - Network Administration
  • BS in Information Technology - Network Administration

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