How Can I Learn Computer Administration?
If you have basic computer knowledge that you'd like to turn into a career, you might be able to do so in a computer administration position. To obtain the skills needed for this career, you can earn a college degree and pursue certifications, as well as learn on the job. Read on to find out more about your options.
Pursue Formal Education
If you're unfamiliar with computers or just starting out in the field, you might consider beginning your training with formal education. Although you might qualify for entry-level computer support jobs with no formal education, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that many employers prefer to hire computer administrators with relevant college degrees (www.bls.gov). To advance your career, you could also earn a graduate degree in such areas as business administration, management information systems or system administration.
Important Information About This Occupation
|Online Availability||Undergraduate and graduate courses are available online|
|Key Skills||Computer, multi-tasking, analytical and problem-solving skills|
|Similar Occupations||Computer hardware engineer, computer programmer, computer support specialist|
|Certification||Companies may require individuals to be certified in the applicable product|
|Internships||Some companies offer internships while in school|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
You can choose to enter an associate's or bachelor's degree program to develop your basic computer administration skills. Some relevant majors you might consider include computer science, information systems and management information systems. Establishing some business skills could also be useful, and you might consider a business administration degree program with an information systems concentration.
Some course topics in computer-related degree program might include:
- Operating systems
- Computer hardware
- Software theory
- Human and computer interaction
- Network security
- Artificial intelligence
- Database systems
- Network technologies, services and infrastructure
- Systems analysis and design
In addition to earning a degree, you can pursue a networking administration certification to show potential employers that you're knowledgeable. Two of the most common vendors for networking certification are Microsoft and Cisco. One entry-level networking credential from Cisco is the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification, which focuses on small network support. You can also pursue the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing and Switching credential to demonstrate that you can support medium-sized networks.
Microsoft also offers certifications geared toward specific products, such as Microsoft Exchange Server and Windows Server. Some options include pursuing one of the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) credentials in server infrastructure or earning a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) credential in a specific networking-related technology.
Gain Work Experience
Hands-on study is another route to learning computer administration. Several companies offer internship or work study opportunities that allow you to work with experienced computer professionals. After completing these types of educational experiences, you could be offered a permanent position, such as technical assistant or help-desk technician. Some employers offer on-the-job training that allows you to attain a higher position once you've been properly trained.
The purpose of this type of work experience is not necessarily to train you in every computer administrative job duty; rather, it makes you familiar with the field and gives you the foundational skills you'll need to complete most computer administration tasks successfully. For example, many computer jobs require you to have strong analysis and problem-solving abilities. By developing these and related skill sets, you'll be prepared to handle many of the problems you'll encounter as a computer administrator.
Computer administration generally refers to the upkeep and oversight of computer systems used by businesses, government agencies and other organizations. Working in this field, you generally fix hardware, software and network problems, ensure users have access to computer networks, maintain computer security and back up all data. You'll often find that working as a computer administrator brings more than basic helpdesk responsibility, and you could need to regularly update computer systems, troubleshoot system security issues and monitor the efficient use of company resources.
The BLS expects network and computer systems administrators to experience 6% growth that will be as fast as average from 2016-2026. They made a median annual salary of $82,050 in May 2018, which comes out to $39.45 per hour.