Computer Administrator: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a computer administrator. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages, and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Industrial Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Computer Administrator?

Computer administrators build, configure, and maintain computer systems for a variety of organizations. These professionals teach other users how to utilize computers for job duties and troubleshoot issues faced. They are knowledgeable in many aspects of computing technology, using their authority to oversee the daily operations of users to keep work efficient. They may collect analyze user data in order to identify ways to optimize performance. If necessary, they will typically have input on what kind of upgrades a network needs, installing and implementing those changes as approved.

The following chart gives you an overview about becoming a computer administrator.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Computer science, information technology
Key Responsibilities Set up computer systems to meet business requirements; maintain system hardware and software; set up and maintain security access for authorized users and train users; respond to system problems that occur
Licensure and/or Certification Certification is voluntary
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (network and computer systems administrators)*
Median Salary (2015) $77,810 (network and computer systems administrators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Type of Education Do I Need to Become a Computer Administrator?

Computer administrators, also known as computer systems administrators or systems administrators, typically hold a bachelor's degree in computer science or information technology. However, a computer science bachelor's degree is not strictly required for a career in computer systems administration. There are also certificate and associate's degree programs available in the field.

You could also obtain a degree in another field, such as business, and take computer science courses on the side. Some employers value practical work experience more than a formal education. If you choose this route, you might need to gain experience by participating in an internship or working on your own projects.

Do I Have to Become Certified?

A number of computer systems software manufacturers offer various levels of certification for systems administrators and other IT professionals. Many employers prefer applicants with certification because it demonstrates that their skills are current, which is an important factor in the ever-changing world of technology.

Training for certification examinations can be found at technical schools, colleges, and universities, as well as through software manufacturer's websites. Coursework can include network infrastructures, server administration, and directory management. Exams typically include creating various system applications, devising an implementation program and designing a system recovery plan.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

As a computer systems administrator, you will be responsible for maintaining and troubleshooting an organization's computer systems and networks. You should expect to provide technical support to end-users, perform data backups, implement security protocols, and train users on the use of these protocols. Some jobs might require you to design and implement a computer network and install and configure other types of systems, such as an e-mail network or a file sharing infrastructure.

What Salary Could I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary of computer systems administrators in 2015 was $77,810 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, computer administrators in the management of companies and enterprises industry earned a mean annual salary of $84,140, while those working in the computer systems design and related services industry averaged $88,290. The employment of systems administrators was projected to grow at an average rate of 8% between 2014 and 2024.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You may choose from a number of related careers in the field of information technology such as becoming an information security analyst, database administrator, and computer programmer. Information security analysts direct the online security safeguards for an organization, analyzing their specific needs to choose the appropriate technology to defend against cyberattacks and keep data secure. Database administrators encrypt an organization's data using specialized software, ensuring it is protected and kept secret from unauthorized users. Computer programmers write and edit coding scripts that direct how software and applications act when given commands. These positions typically require bachelor's education.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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